She Lives In Me: The Important ‘Live Through This’ by Hole (30 Year Anniversary)

The incomparable second album from Hole, ‘Live Through This’, turns 30 in 2024. Within those 30 years, the vengeful record still rings true. This subsequently shows that in that time, it still harbours an understanding that remains hard to come by.

You will ache like I ache

In a world filled with hatred and a pure lack of understanding of women, ‘Live Through This’ remains a beacon of light. While never making these topics frilly or polite, the unashamed record told the truth about the world of being a woman.

Courtney Love’s name is unfortunately one that is still said with venom in one’s voice. With mysteries and conspiracies latching onto her legacy, the woman and the artist are somewhat forgotten. However, fighting through the harsh rumours and piercing eyes of the public stands ‘Live Through This’. It’s filled with middle fingers to anyone who believes women should behave in a certain way. As well, this includes those who will continue to see Courtney as Kurt Cobain’s wife and nothing more.

Courtney Love

The dominating LP screams the stories of women from all around the world. It speaks honestly and unmercifully about female identity, struggles with post-partum, and an incurable birthright to feel as though you never truly belong to yourself. In addition, the record was released just four days after the tragic loss of Kurt Cobain. Undoubtedly, this resulted in littering the sounds with whole new meanings and fresh struggles to face.

Love insists the name ‘Hole’ came from EuripidesMedea and the line “There’s a hole that pierces right through me.”. It is impossible to not try and decipher exactly what this means. Ultimately, I can’t help but think of the sinking feeling that women are always missing something. This something must be filled to be complete. I know this is not true, but I can’t help but recognise the feeling.

Credit to a woman’s world

The opening song of this triumph is ‘Violet’, a track that dares you to “take everything”. Although, something that seems entirely impossible for someone with no soul, her fierce, growling vocals kick off the album with an invitation to see the deepest darkest parts of womanhood. She tells you to take what you want and leave it after you’re done. It is suspected that the song is written about The Smashing PumpkinsBilly Corgan. Supposedly, Love claimed she had hexed the “jerk” behind the song for their hair to fall out. Maybe for Corgan, it was just poor timing, or in fact, the curse of an angry woman could do such a thing.

A truly big theme within the record was just that. Particularly, that women deemed hysterical or furious, are actually just crazy. For many women, that story remains the same. Hole made sure that no matter how crazy they were made out to be, the true meaning behind this was to give a voice to people who did not have one. This is while knowing that being passionate and frustrated does not give people the right to dismiss those feelings. Tunes like ‘Miss World’ were written by Love and Eric Erlandson (the band’s only male member at the time) and take on a powerful self-awareness. Courtney recognises the way the public sees her as messy and corrupt and yet compares that life to the false feelings of the Miss World beauty pageants that see women as pristine and perfect.

Thriving off the dark and grungy ways, she could make the world see her as she is. With bleach blonde hair and red lipstick, something often associated with the American dream girl, Love did this in a way that saw her hair always frantically curled and makeup smudged.

The brutal ‘Asking For It’ is one of this LP’s most unsettling tracks. The chorus’ heavy bassline, courtesy of Kristen Pfaff, is accompanied by a confronting, “Was she asking for it?”, putting the unimaginable in listeners’ heads. But, instead of it being unimaginable, it becomes oh-so-real. The song’s themes are based on an experience Love had at a Hole live show where she stage-dived. Frighteningly, she was immediately at the mercy of the audience that claimed to love her music. Similarly, she questioned herself whether she had asked for that unwanted experience just by putting herself in that situation. Something that is often the first question to fall from people’s mouths, she puts that question back on those who dare to ask it.

One of the most recognisable songs in Hole’s catalogue is undeniably ‘Doll Parts’. Nevertheless, it is a song that imperfectly encapsulates the fury that comes with any romantic feelings for someone you do not feel sees you the same way. There is a haunting gravel in Courtney’s voice as she beckons this person to ache in the same way she does. Love puts herself in the same category as inanimate objects or even animals. She does this rather than giving herself recognition as a woman worthy of love.

One of my favourite tracks from this album is notably ‘I Think That I Would Die’. Furthermore, she collaborates with lead singer/guitarist Kat Bjelland of Babes In Toyland to create a rather on-the-nose story. It’s one filled with legal battles between her and Kurt, fighting to keep their daughter, despite their ongoing controversies and struggles with drug use. Although a direct link to her new transition into motherhood, her off-piece yelling about the lack of milk could be linked to her addictions to heroin, which runs throughout the album’s theme.

Living through this

When I think about Hole’s ‘Live Through This’, I think back to a book that I read. Importantly, it is filled with essays about feminism, defiance against politics, and much more. ’Nasty Women’ has one essay written by Becca Inglis. It breaks down all the walls between her own experience with depression and the impact Courtney Love had on her growing up. I am always on the side of women using ruthless rage to convey the very things they are told they cannot feel, or more so, that they must not feel. All in all, It is a great shame that we must feel this anger at all. However, without it, there would be no forward movement and much less art. Altogether, Hole are an incredible example of this, that messy and brutal is still beautiful and meaningful.

This LP shows me and many others that if we can live through this, we can live through anything.

Listen to ‘Live Through This‘ by Hole below. You can read more anniversary pieces like this one here.

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