25 Years Ago, Courtney Love and Hole Lived Through This

I probably don’t have to tell readers of this site that 1994 was a landmark year for music releases. We’ve already acknowledged Green Day’s Dookie, but also fighting for attention with their own career breakthroughs were Soundgarden (Superunknown), Stone Temple Pilots (Purple), The Offspring’s indie bestseller Smash, and Pearl Jam right under the wire (Vitalogy). Let’s just say it became a very crowded space over the course of those twelve crazy months; I really should have put together a playlist for this so you could hear what I’m talking about.

There was so much to take in that Oasis – freaking Oasis with Definitely Maybe kick starting the whole Britpop phenomenon – barely cracked the Top 50 of a list of artists I compiled whose songs were played the most in 1994 by radio stations such as Los Angeles’ world famous KROQ, Q101 out of Chicago, and CFNY of course.

The most controversial one by a country mile, or make that Courtney mile in some people’s opinion was Hole’s Live Through This. Rolling Stone recently deemed it the fourth best grunge album ever, and with good reason. Eric Erlandson and Love’s guitars are as aggressive as her feminist-froward lyrical content. Singles “Miss World” and “Doll Parts” made the harsh-at-times Hole singer a household name with girls and boys alike. Not that Love wasn’t already thanks to her marriage to Kurt Cobain. Oh, and there was also the little matter of how it came out less than a week after her husband’s death, with a title that literally begged for speculation.

Cobain’s spectre still looms large over Live Through This. His vocals can be faintly heard in the final mixes of “Asking for It” and “Softer, Softest”, but there has always been speculation that there were much more significant contributions, like in this slightly sped-up version of the former song. Hearing them essentially duet on “if you live through this with me, I swear that I will die for you” becomes all the more eerie.

There are no shortage of anecdotes in Danny Goldberg’s Serving the Servant about his deceased client’s wife, including how Cobain’s last words to her was how she made a great album and that he will always love her. The most interesting revelation however may have been when Goldberg dropped how Courtney is apparently working on a memoir of her own, which will undoubtedly contraction a lot of the stuff he says. Much like another Hole record with Erlandson, I’ll believe this when I see it for myself; until then, reenjoy what is indeed a “great album”, one that hasn’t aged sonically in 25 years.

Gilles LeBlanc

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” wayyy back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. It took him awhile, but Gilles now writes feverishly about all things that rock (and or roll) through his ROCKthusiast alter ego.

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