Monday, March 26, 2012
Hole- Live Through This
Live Through This
Live Through This is the second studio album by American alternative rock band Hole. It was released by Geffen Records on April 12, 1994, just four days after frontwoman Courtney Love's husband, Kurt Cobain, was found dead in their home. It is Hole's last album to feature bassist Kristen Pfaff before her death in June 1994.
Musically and lyrically, the album differed greatly from the band's debut, Pretty on the Inside (1991), which was heavily influenced by punk and noise rock. For Live Through This, Hole sought a more accessible rock sound, focusing more on melody and dynamics and utilizing less of the distortion and experimental touches that dominated their previous record. Lyrically, the album heavily reflected Love's life at the time, her transition into public notoriety, and her role as a wife and mother, as well as articulating a "third-wave feminist consciousness".
The album was extremely well received by music critics, garnering rave reviews and "best album of the year" awards in major periodicals, such as Rolling Stone, Spin, and The New York Times. The album was also a major financial success, selling over two million copies worldwide and going multi-platinum within just a year of its release. It also spawned four singles, including "Doll Parts" and "Violet", with "Doll Parts" reaching number 58 in the Billboard's Hot 100 as well as peaking at number 4 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.
In recent years, Live Through This has often been considered a contemporary classic of alternative rock, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time. The album's title is derived from a monologue by Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind (1939).
Sessions for Hole's second album begun initially in Paris in May 1993 with Nirvana producer, Butch Vig. Nothing is reported to have come from the sessions, and a second attempt at recording the album was done at Hanzek Audio in Seattle in August 1993 with producers and engineers, Chris Hanzek, Jack Endino and Craig Montgomery. During this attempt at recording Live Through This the band recorded instrumental versions of a number of songs, including "Jennifer's Body" and the unused Nirvana song "Talk To Me", however the session "wasn't very productive" and eventually, the recordings were left in the studio for years before Eric Erlandson reclaimed them.
The sessions for Live Through This began on October 8, 1993 at Triclops Studios in Marietta, Georgia (near Atlanta), where The Smashing Pumpkins - friends of the band - recorded their second studio album, Siamese Dream. The first week of recording was spent record basic tracks, such as drums, bass, scratch guitars, and scratch vocals. After the first tracks were laid down, Love's husband, Kurt Cobain, joined the band in-studio on October 18 before Nirvana were set to tour to promote their latest album, In Utero. When shown the work in progress, the band invited Cobain to sing on a few unfinished numbers. Cobain refused at first, due to being unfamiliar with the material. When Cobain asked, "how can I sing on it if I haven't heard it?", Courtney answered by encouraging him to "just sing off the top of [his] head."
Due to this and that a year earlier, a b-side for "Beautiful Son", "Old Age" was credited as being written by Hole but the song had been recorded a year before by Cobain's band Nirvana, there have been unsubstantiated rumors regarding Cobain's involvement in this record, from alleged instrumental and songwriting contributions, to claims that he effectively wrote the entire album. What is known is that Cobain sang background vocals for two tracks, according to both Erlandson and Love; he can be heard in the bridge of the released version of "Asking For It", though his vocals are low in the mix and during "Softer, Softest." An alternate mix of "Asking For It" was broadcast on radio in 1994 which more prominently features his singing. Some recent claims state he can be heard at some point in "Doll Parts". Having taken a break for dinner, the session devolved into a formless jam with Cobain on drums, Eric and Courtney on guitars and session co-producer Sean Slade on bass. The band eventually finished on October 31 and finished off their stay in Atlanta with a show at The Masquerade.
The album is dedicated to the memory of Joe Cole, a roadie for Black Flag and the Rollins Band who was shot to death in a 1991 after attending a Hole show at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood. The album was noted for being more accessible and melodic than the band's previous album, Pretty on the Inside. According to BMI's website, most of the songs credited officially to Hole were written just by Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson. "Doll Parts" was officially written only by Love and "I Think That I Would Die" was written by Erlandson, Love and Kat Bjelland. "Credit in the Straight World" is a Young Marble Giants cover.
Bassist Kristen Pfaff had decided to take a break from the band at the time of Cobain's death in April, 1994. In June 1994, she was found dead by boyfriend and bandmate Eric Erlandson from an apparent heroin overdose. Two months after Kristen's death, Hole began an extensive tour, with Melissa Auf der Maur replacing her on bass.
Four singles were released from the album and three promotional videos were shot, for "Miss World" (still with Kristen Pfaff), "Doll Parts" (with L7's bassist Jennifer Finch replacing her) and "Violet" (already with Melissa Auf der Maur). "Softer, Softest" was also released as a single, and Hole's performance of this song at their MTV Unplugged session was used as a promotional video.
Courtney Love – vocals, rhythm guitar
Eric Erlandson – lead guitar
Kristen Pfaff – bass guitar, piano, backing vocals
Patty Schemel – drums
Dana Kletter – additional vocals
Kurt Cobain – backing vocals on "Asking for It" and "Softer, Softest" (uncredited)
Paul Q. Kolderie – producer, engineer
Sean Slade – producer, engineer
Scott Litt – mixing (on "Violet", "Miss World", "Asking for It", "Jennifer's Body" and "Softer, Softest")
J Mascis – mixing (on "Gutless")
Bob Ludwig – mastering
Mark Kates - A&R
Robin Sloane – creative direction
Janet Wolsborn – art direction
Front artwork and portraits – Ellen Von Unwerth
Back artwork – Frank Rodriguez
Inlay artwork – Juergen Teller, Margaret Morton
All songs credited as Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson unless noted otherwise.
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Violet" 3:24
2. "Miss World" 3:00
3. "Plump" 2:34
4. "Asking for It" 3:29
5. "Jennifer's Body" 3:41
6. "Doll Parts" Love 3:31
7. "Credit in the Straight World" Stuart Moxham 3:11
8. "Softer, Softest" 3:27
9. "She Walks on Me" 3:23
10. "I Think That I Would Die" Love, Erlandson, Kat Bjelland 3:36
11. "Gutless" 2:15
12. "Rock Star*" 2:42
"Rock Star" is a mislabel of a Live Through This outtake titled "Olympia" (in reference to Olympia, Washington). The original song, "Rock Star", was removed from the final track listing before pressings were made and was replaced with "Olympia", but as the artwork had already been printed, the title "Rock Star" remained.