"Boys on the Radio": an I-killed-[private] confession?

Posted by Psilocybin at 10:33pm Feb 20 '16
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For [private] Cobain's forty-ninth birthday, I thought I'd start this topic.

I've been a Cobainiac since I was 19. I also have Hole's album Celebrity Skin, and am no doubt familiar with the "Courtney killed [private] Cobain" (CKKC) conspiracy theory. I've read the evidence for and against the conspiracy theory, yadda yadda yadda. But when I focused on the lyrics to Hole's song "Boys on the Radio", I noticed something: the lyrics seem to be about killing [private] Cobain.

"Do what you want
'Cause I'll do anything
And I'll take the blame"

Courtney Love is saying that's she's not afraid to do anything to Cobain. And no doubt she took the blame for it: just look at the popularity of the CKKC conspiracy theory.

"What's mine is yours
You can't have all of it
And I'll learn to beg"

Here, Love expresses a jealousy of Cobain and Nirvana's success: she is telling Cobain that he can't have all the fame and glory; Love wants Hole to be successful too. I have heard people insist that Love murdered Cobain in order for her band to become more famous and successful, and it worked: Hole were propelled to popularity as soon as Cobain died.

"All the boys on the radio
They crash and burn
They fold and fade so slow"

Boys on the radio = young male rock stars who get played on the radio: [private] Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, in addition to other grungers who were young at the time of Cobain's death (Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, etc.) Many of them had "crash and burn" lifestyles, including Cobain himself, and Shannon Hoon. Also the guy who has "lain stalely" in his grave since 2002, although that was four years after this song came out, so Love couldn't have been talking about him.

"In your endless summer night
I'll be on the other side"

The "endless summer night" is Heaven, where it's always summer (they'll never get cold!) Love is now "on the other side" (on Earth while Cobain is in Heaven), although this could also mean at the other end of his death (i.e. causing it).

"When you're beautiful and dying
All the world that you've denied"

Cobain was obviously "dying", and he died young so he could have a "beautiful" corpse.

"When the water is too deep
You can close your eyes and really sleep tonight

Water appears to be a stand-in for another liquid here: heroin. Cobain was so deep in heroin, many CKKC proponents insist, that he couldn't have managed to pull the trigger competently. And of course, sleep is often a euphemism for death.

"I want what's yours
Oh I'd give anything
And I'll take the pain
I wait alone
For what will never come
And I'll throw it all away"

More about Love's envy of Nirvana's success: she would "do anything", even killing her beloved husband, to gain it. She also took the pain of [private]'s lifelong angst away by a quick-and-painless gunshot. (Or so she says in this song.) Said success would never come (unless, of course, her husband were to die, and Love knew how to expedite that). "I'll throw it all away" may have meant throwing away the talent of Cobain with quick death, so no more songs could come out of the Nirvana factory.

"I let you in under my skin
And risen every angel slain"

"Under my skin" may be a reference to Love becoming a heroin addict around the same time Cobain did. Not murder-related, but seems to be yet another suggestion this song is about Cobain. Cobain, who was "slain" according to this lyrics, was angelic in many ways: he had a Jesus fetish, including a collection of Jesus figurines, and covered the song "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam".

"He said he'd never, ever, ever go
And heavens, heavens, heavens no
And never, ever, ever go away
Baby, I've gone away"

This part is puzzling. The lyrics state "He said he'd never, ever, ever go", but Cobain had hinted at death many times: he joked about joining the 27 Club, and said, "I hate myself and I want to die". Maybe what Love is getting at is that it was she, not he, who wanted Cobain to die, which would suggest murder rather than suicide.

"I know what you are running to
Please come back
Oh, come back again
I hear the truth
It's coming from you
Oh, come back
Won't come back again"

"Come back" often means to be resurrected from death, so "won't come back again" means Cobain is dead. "I hear the truth, it's coming from you" means that the spirit of [private] Cobain knows the truth about how his body died: that the CKKC people were right, and it was a murder, not a suicide as officially ruled.

"When the water is too deep
I will ease your suffering"

Love, as the conspiracy theory goes, eased Cobain's suffering by offing him, putting an end to his angsty life.

"When the glitter fades in morning
Turn away and you will find my empty eyes"

The "glitter" here was the nineties-era hype surrounding bands like Nirvana and Hole. It faded as artists like Ricky [private], Britney Spears, Eminem, Good Charlotte, Puddle of Mudd, Moby and Avril Lavigne took over the musical stage, but at the time the song was written, Hole were at their strongest and at their most successful album. Love was saying that when the glitter would fade, she would be left, now with an empty look in her face since the youth of Generation X would be over.

"I know that you are rotten to the core
I know that you don't love me anymore
I know that you are rotten to the core"

In Heaven, Cobain can no longer love Love, as he witnessed her murdering him.

What do all of you think? Is this song a disguised memoir Love wrote about offing Cobain?

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