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Olivia Rodrigo
Photo: Olivia RodrigoSour Prom's have drawn Courtney Love's ire.

Courtney Love has serious beef with Olivia Rodrigo

Biggie vs. Tupac this is not

Written by
Andy Kryza

The music world is rife with epic beefs. Biggie and Tupac. Kanye and Taylor. Lennon and McCartney. Salieri and Mozart. Prince and Michael Jackson. Eric Clapton and basic medical science

This isn't one of those beefs. This is a beef between a 56-year-old rock star and an 18-year-old about crying at prom. And it seems like a one-sided on at that. 

Gen-z megastar Olivia Rodrigo has been riding high on the success of her debut album, Sour, drawing raves for tracks like "Drivers License" and other anthems that capture the unique feelings that exist at the intersection of teenage angst and adult wisdom. She's been on a roll. 

While most of the press surrounding Rodrigo has been extremely positive, Hole frontwoman and professional lightning rod Courtney Love threw shade at the sunny pop star. It's all over a publicity photo of a tiara-sporting Rodrigo in a prom dress, tears running down her face and causing her mascara to streak.

"Spot the difference! #twinning!" Love wrote, alleging that Rodrigo had ripped off the cover art for her band's 1994 debut, Live Through This. 

Rodrigo, for her part, kept things playful, responding to Love's message directly by writing "love u and live through this sooooo much."

Love, meanwhile, seemed to kid along, responding, "Olivia — you're welcome…  My favorite florist is in Notting Hill, London! Dm me for deets! I look forward to reading your note!"

But things got a little more fiery on Facebook as Love went on a tirade against Rodrigo's label, Geffen (which also released Live Through This), for not consulting photographer Ellen Von Unwerth about the image. She called the publicity photo a ripoff and took direct aim at her 18-year-old now-rival.  

"Does Disney teach kids reading and writing? God knows," she said of the former Disney star in the comments. "I suppose I thought it was meant to honor Live Through This. No credit given where due? That's ass."

Some users took Love to task, citing the image of the crying beauty/prom queen as a longtime pop-culture trope, with analogues in the global pageant circuit and pop-culture touchstones such as Stephen King's iconic Carrie. The Hole singer, however, shut down all commenters and defended the Live Through This cover as her own wholly original idea. The conversation has so far generated more than 800 responses on Love's Facebook. 

Rodrigo has not commented further. The image was released to coincide with her upcoming Sour Prom concert film. 

The Sour artist has a history of wearing her influences on her sleeve. The album's opening track bears a strong resemblance to Elvis Costello's seminal "Pump It Up," and the rock legend was quick to defend the pop singer against claims of plagiarism on Twitter, writing, "It's how rock and roll works. You take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy. That's what I did."

Meanwhile, the track "1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back" interpolated Taylor Swift's "New Years Day" directly, resulting in Swift getting a writing credit on the song. Far from being offended, Swift struck up a friendship with Rodrigo, who herself is a longtime fan of the Folklore superstar. The bond between the two has even led some fans to speculate about a future collaboration. 

Anyone holding out hope for Rodrigo to release a new reimagining of "Miss World," however, is likely out of luck. 

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