“So I Was Just Schemin’… ‘Ava Adore’ Might Be about Courtney Love”

Something certainly wasn’t adding up to me, so I decided to actually peruse this Hole article on RS’s FB feed, and sure enough, there it was toward the bottom: “For Hole’s power pop turn, she looked to her number one frenemy, Billy Corgan, as co-writer and producer.” That’s right folks: Corgan is Love’s friend because he’s responsible for the sole listenable songs in her band’s entire catalogue (well that and they used to hook up but never had to suffer through the Chinese torture mechanism known as “marriage”). He’s her “enemy,” on the other hand, because, well, uh, she’s jealous: “’I leave and feel shi**y because I know he’s made it better, and so I take apart everything he’s done because there’s no way I’m going to let him win…”, the article continues to express. By the way, this entire process is detailed overtly in the RS article and yet no mention of the Pupmkins frontman is made either in the headline or the byline of said article.
Well then. Anyway, I don’t think I’m the only person who, while certainly enjoying the industrial turn the Pumpkins would take on “Ava Adore,” sort of holds the song at arm’s length, because of those weird lyrics. And no, I don’t think he was actually being serious, wanting his woman to “pull those crooked teeth” or with his assertion that he’s “perfect,” although knowing the nadir to which music criticism has ebbed today there probably are “close listeners” out there who actually don’t know that he’s being sarcastic or taking on a displaced perspective there. It’s joking, in other words.
Still, those ain’t your grand pappy’s rock lyrics, that’s for sure, and as far as I can remember Corgan in earlier work on Dream and Mellon Collie had been RELATIVELY earnest (“I wanna turn you on”; “Disarm you with a smile”), perhaps building slowly toward a sort of semi-bombast with “God is empty just like me” and “The impossible is possible tonight”, the type of thing that you would think would be only perfectly understandable given his band’s exorbitant success and popularity on radio and MTV. “Ava Adore,” then, you might say, is the disillusioned ultimacy of his lyricism’s natural progress from boy to man, in a world where you’re never given full credit, where you’re constantly hated for your positive attributes, and where you have to bite your tongue, or cloak it in sarcasm.
Now, in no way am I explaining away “Ava Adore” here. I don’t, for instance, know exactly why Mr. Corgan would choose to assemble all of this in a rock song instead of just talking to a friend like John Cusack or Howard Stern about how Courtney Love is constantly pumping him for songs.
Well, the discourse does have a certain kinetic velocity about it, you might say, to the point where even when he transforms it into a joking around session of “I’m perfect” and “you’re a whore” and stuff, the sheer lack of outer fluff, of conversational pulp which seems like the everyday and not the rhapsodic, makes for a compelling listen in itself, in a certain sense.
And obviously, there is some frustration there. For instance, and this hardly came as a shock to me, but Billy Corgan is not credited with production at all on Celebrity Skin. It’s a miasma of cheating capitalism, but he has an insider’s view of Love and all of her pursuits toward glamor: the whole thing lodged firmly in Southern California (the song title “Malibu”, references to “celebrity”) despite her widowers Northwest roots, what RS describes as “making some moves” to get famous, and then of course the aesthetic paradigm of Hollywood of “pulling crooked teeth” which, I think Billy Corgan knew, really has no place in alternative rock whatsoever.

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