Hole’s ‘Live Through This’ at 25

On the 25th anniversary of Hole’s ‘Live Through This’, Ben Demars share his appreciation of the grunge classic.

On the list of poorly timed releases, Hole’s seminal album, ‘Live Through This’, ranks high. The album hit record stores just days after the tragic (and disputed) suicide of Kurt Cobain, spawning spiteful rumors and conspiracy theories that continue to swirl around the band’s singer, and Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love. Awkward.⠀

Written by Love and guitarist Eric Erlandson, ‘Live Through This’ delivers the same highly-charged angst of the band’s Kim Gordon-produced debut, but this time in a more palatable form with songs that – loosely speaking – could be screamed along to. In spite of, and because of, the record’s timing, it found much success, ultimately landing on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. ⠀

While the record was written and recorded before Cobain’s passing, it eerily touches on themes of death, violence and the pressures of fame. It also finds Love reflecting on her role in a male-centered genre, sharing her justified spite for how the rebellious characteristics that deem her ‘unlikable’ make her male peers ‘sensational.’ Aggressive and unashamed, ‘Live Through This’ is a masterwork of punk poetry set against a grunge backdrop. ⠀

Twenty-five years later, the record listens like a snapshot of the chaos following Cobain’s death and the ways the world mourned and pointed blamed. While Cobain will always be a part of the rhetoric surrounding Courtney Love, in no way should his life, death and music overshadow Hole’s exceptional body of work.

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