Courtney Love and Olivia Rodrigo Spark Debate About Creative Homage vs. Theft

Love commented on the promo photo for Rodrigos forthcoming live concert film.

Disney-actress-turned-worldwide-pop star Olivia Rodrigo has had a big year filled with a lot of ups and downs—but mostly ups. Her 2021 blow-up was initially bolstered by some behind-the-scenes Disney drama. It’s a backstory that made her music enthralling because of the Hollywood gossip, while also making it seem like teenage love affairs are just as heart-wrenching as the ones in TV series. “Drivers License” turned Rodrigo into a household name, but her debut album Sour solidified her as more than a one-hit wonder.

Sour is filled with millennial nostalgia, potent heartbreak, and the realization that being young is actually the worst, even when people are constantly telling you to enjoy these years you’ll never get back. It’s a pop album filled with pop-punk nods and stabs at breaking the myths of youth, all with the polish of a major label debut. It’s an album that’s been dissected over and over again. It’s also one that continues to attract drama.

In the latest Sour saga, Hole’s Courtney Love has demanded that Rodrigo send her flowers and a lengthy note after a recent promo photo was released that directly nods to Holes’ Live Through This album cover. In a Facebook post, Love commented to other repliers, “Stealing an original idea and not asking permission is rude. There’s no way to be elegant about it. I’m not angry. It happens all the time to me. But this was bad form. That’s not bullying or bomb throwing. This persons music has nothing to do with my life. Possibly never will. It was rude And I gave every right to stick up for my work. Don’t gatekeep me! I’m honorable as fuck to my fellow artists, and I expect the same.”

Possibly another direct nod to Hole’s Live Through This was in the “good 4 u” lyric “You will never have to hurt the way you know that I do,” which seems to mirror the lyric “Some day you will ache like I ache” from Hole’s “Doll Parts.”

On a smaller scale, Rodrigo’s team was also accused of ripping off imagery from Pom Pom Squad‘s recent album, as seen in this Twitter thread that went vial (visually, both artists draw from the inspirations of Carrie and The Virgin Suicides). But these two comparisons of artworks do bring up an interesting question of what the appropriate way to pay homage to older works and musical forebears is.


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A post shared by Courtney Love Cobain (@courtneylove)


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A post shared by Olivia Rodrigo (@oliviarodrigo)


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