Hole was spearheaded by controversial lead singer Courtney Love; the band's harsh, punky debut, 1991's PRETTY ON THE INSIDE, was a cornerstone of the post-riot grrl scene. Then Love married Kurt Cobain, signed an enormous deal with Geffen Records, and delivered 1994's grungy LIVE THROUGH THIS, a record alternately loved and reviled. Following Cobain's death, Love began an image transformation that included a number of well-received film appearances and a more accessible sound.
This whole album is filled with scathing fury, mostly directed at the impossible situation that confronts women when they are asked to be both wild sources of pleasure and unblemished mother figures. Live Through This uses the same recipe of punk and metal wrapped around pop melodies that made Nirvana so captivating, but Hole uses the methodology in a more conventional manner. The metal ingredient tends to dominate, perhaps because it''s the simplest to master, and too often the album resembles early Heart or late Joan Jett--particularly when Courtney Love opens up with her big, wailing voice. Love externalizes her anger, blaming all her problems on the rest of the world. Self-confrontation makes for far more interesting songs. --Geoffrey Himes
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