Review Summary: He only loves those things because he loves to see them break
Almost anyone who has ventured into music history at some length or another can profess an opinion of a grunge band or two, their knowledge about Kurt Cobain, or their inherent distrust for his wife, Courtney Love. The truth is that Hole has hardly wavered in their controversy after two decades. Critics have been consistently polarized by the Hole's marriage of noise rock and punk (a combination that received enough attention to make them successful during the early nineties) and Courtney Love's screaming and feminist lyrics.
The Live Through This
recording sessions were rampant with substance abuse, resulting in a consistent high throughout most of the album's production. A solemn and darkly personal attitude emerged to form a disjointed, transcendental diary of Courtney Love's marriage to Kurt Cobain. The thoughts and questions contained throughout are almost posed to him, with the album being released days after his death. "He only loves those things because he loves to see them break," Love explains with sorrow and terror "Someday, you will ache like I ache."
A ghost in the machine is verily present in the gears of Hole's second album. It screams in perfect unison with Courtney Love in "Jennifer's Body" and it gives a sour luster to "Softer, Softest," so that Live Through This is the pain of each band-mate. Even Eric Erlandson's expressive guitar work seems to foreshadow the death of his girlfriend and bassist Kristen Pfaff by drug overdose months later. Hole's instrumental prowess never reached the showmanship riffs of Soundgarden, or the power of Alice in Chain's pummeling percussion, but they make up for it with Courtney Love's aggressive attitude. Her vocals climb and glide beautifully, approximating her husband's gruff yowls and giving Hole's styling that needed punch. However, she breaks when she fights her rebounding thoughts of self-hate with the depressing masterpiece "Miss World" and the more well-known aggressive MTV hit "Violet," revealing a sense of self-pity in her drug-riddled wake.
Live Through This
screams straight out of the packaging, with the guitar riffs ranging from incomprehensible crunches to the distorted tones that make "Gutless" and "Plump" fun. The issue of equality isn't cemented until “Credit in the Straight World,” with a cryptic intro builds into a rumbling of Patty Schemel's wasted drumming, Pfaff's dribbling bass, and Love pointing out “I got some credit in the straight world. I lost a leg, I lost an eye.” More polish could be added to the unaccessible "I Think That I Would Die" and the odd mix of clean toned guitars and coarse vocals on "Rock Star," as if ripped from the demos of Pretty on the Inside
. In other words, Hole's Live Through This
is a lost masterpiece of grunge/alternative rock. The potency of “Asking for It” alone is wounding when Love cries “If you live through this with me, I swear that I will die for you,” and even if it seems contingent to and dependent on the material surrounding it, I ache to this album. My cat cries to this album. The CD of Nirvana's In Utero
pictures a crossdresser in a bathtub, but Courtney said that Kurt himself looked good in a dress, with ribbons his hair and lipstick everywhere.