Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cycle of CDs: Hole - 'Live Through This' (1994)

When I was sixteen or thereabouts, I hung out with these older folks around our incredibly small town. It was a tiny commune of people who were "cool." At least, that's the way I looked at them before I "joined" the group. Looking back, I don't think any of us considered ourselves to be cool at all; we just liked to do the same things, i.e. drink, and we liked to listen to a lot of the same music. We tried our best to keep each other abreast of bands and songs.

In that group was an even smaller subgroup of two older girls that I thought were just the hottest things ever. For one reason or another, they took me up as a friend and I was sometimes allowed to hang out with them.

Anyway, they loved Hole. They thought Courtney Love was the shit. When I was around them, we would listen to Live Through This constantly. Since it was almost always on cassette tape, we would listen to all of side one, flip it, and listen to all of side two while riding around and finding cemeteries to haunt. I would've liked the CD on my own. That's my theory, anyway. The fact that they were jamming it at all hours in Tiny Town, U.S.A. like the roll n' roll, bad-ass bitches they were certainly didn't hurt.

I recently double checked myself, though, to see if I would still like it. I got the CD out and put it in the car for a couple of days. I just let it play straight through, just like the old days.

My conclusion? It's still flawless. It is a rock masterpiece, easily, that is roughly themed around doing drugs and having to furiously grow up due to several obstacles, many of which center around a baby entering one's life. Just polished in just the right spots, perfectly raw in all other areas.

Look, forget the contraversy of whether Courtney wrote all the songs or not. She would've had to have been influenced by Kurt, right? Of course! She was married and lived with him for years. Did he write some of the album? Take a listen to Hole's first. It's similar to Live Through This; her latest work reflects that she has some talent, even if it may be fading. Honestly, I don't know.

More importantly, I don't care. If he did write some of it, that's fine. The album is still a motherfucker. It would be very different if she didn't (or couldn't) play her own instrument(s). She did, as far as I know -- that's usually not the argument I ever hear against the album. For more on that type of controversy, scroll down and read the third-to-last paragraph here. There are your rock gods for you, tweens.

The lyrics on Hole's second album are stout, man; it doesn't matter if you are male or female. Who can't relate to high school being a factory to keep everyone formulaic -- a place where you'd do anything to fit in -- especially when said with such beautiful brashness? ("Well, I went to school/In Olympia/We look the same/We talk the same/We even fuck the same.")

Haven't we all dealt with self-conscious issues, even if they aren't quite drug induced? ("I am/doll arms/big veins/dog bait/Yeah, they really want you/They really do.")

Surely you've been jealous, right? ("Was she asking for it?/Was she asking nice?/If she was asking for it/Did she ask you twice?")

I'm telling you, haters, subside with the did-she-or-didn't-she-write-it shit and embrace this raging, wonderful, rock n' roll record.

In fact, when I first saw/heard this video on MTV, I was sold, even if those cool chicks had already somewhat sold me on Live Through This:

Sorry that it skips, but you get the idea.

Editor's Note: This is number thirteen of a series of essays where the author takes a look and listen into every CD he has in his collection.


  1. As much as I hate Courtney, and I have hate for very few people, I can't deny that I love this album.

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