Friday, October 07, 2005

Thoughts on Courtney Love

I try to avoid even thinking about Courtney Love, but my ill-advised subscription to Spin magazine made that impossible with the latest issue. The list (and it seems they focus more on lists than articles these days) this time was the 10 (or 20 or whatever) Most Influential Artists of the Last 20 years. And surprise, surprise, the gentle and eloquent Ms. Love is on the list! My first reaction was outrage. Then I began thinking maybe they had a good reason. Maybe they chose her because she killed Kurt Cobain, securing Nevermind's legacy from the irreparable harm that a long string of In Utero-quality records surely would have done. After all, Cobain's death was obviously so moving to a whole generation that many of us are convinced that even In Utero was brilliant. Had he not died young, we may have even looked back and questioned Nevermind. But not now. Not after Courtney killed him (or had him killed or whatever). So in that sense, Courtney Love really was influential. I never realized it until Spin made me think about it.

Then I read the accomanying interview. I should have stuck with outrage.

Review: Burn to Shine 1 & 2 DVDs

Burn to Shine is a series of DVDs recorded live in houses scheduled for demolition. Both include great perfomrances by bands both well-known and lesser-known (see the website for a list), but what really makes these special is their wonderful human quality. They not only capture live music, but the final human experience in an old house that had seen so much of human life. Both films begin with a short intro revealing a bit of history about the house and its former occupants that gives a very real context to the project. Then each band performs one song live. I won't say that I like every song, but I do like every performance. The film captures live music in the best way possible, a clear recording that doesn't lose the lumps and imperfections that makes so live. The contrast between the dying house and the living music creates peace rather than tension. Physical pieces of the past slip away, but the human experience rolls on.