Thursday, 24 April 2014

Hole - Live Through This (1994)

According to a bloke on the internet, fresh evidence has recently come to light regarding Courtney Love's supposed assassination of Kurt Cobain, the widely venerated singer man of Nirvana and the Linda McCartney of Hole. I'm not sure what this supposed evidence might be because at the time I was busy watching paint dry and found it impossible to tear myself away, but the important thing was nevertheless of such quality as to inspire a bunch of blokes on a popular social networking site to express their views, which is nice because as you know blokes on popular social networking sites tend to keep their views to themselves as a rule. One of them daringly opined that Kurdt Cobain was the voice of a generation, which works providing you discount the great majority of yoots present within that same generation who never gave two shits about the guy, you know, like anyone who ever bought a Tupac CD. If he was the voice of a generation, was he really ever saying anything beyond I want my mummy? Whilst There There is often hailed as a great album, and the success of singles like I Got A Pain In My Stummick and I Hurt My Finger surprised everyone, were they really good enough to justify the proposition that Kurtd Cobain, the Lady Diana Spencer of Grunge, died for our sins?

I would say not, and would further deny his being anything besides a modest talent - not even a member of the best Seattle band, that being Tad. He had a pretty face and was able to articulate a vague sense of whining dissatisfaction with modern life that could stand for almost anything from I done a poo in my pants to my dad sucks without alienating those who knew their period of rebellion would last just long enough to get them through college; and of course there were those natty little tunes, the plaid shirt Beatles with a fuzzbox; and onto this canvas was projected whatever people needed at the time, which unfortunately turned out to be a sort of rock Jesus for the mumbling and disgruntled when he shot himself and the legend turned all Sidney Vicious for a while. More annoying than Kurt's unexpected sainthood was that the elevation of such human sacrifices tends to require the parallel canonisation of a devil, which turned out to be Courtney Love probably because she had a massive gob and was a woman.

I can't speak for Love's actual character, my understanding of it being based on a media image that I'm not inclined to trust. Perhaps it is true that Kurtd Cobain, the innocent Queen of Hearts of Rock was led astray by another one of those crazy mad period women, forced to take heroin because she had told him it was just some sweeties or something, and that this terrible titty-witch didst rob us of a noble soul who would otherwise have remained stood to this day upon a high mesa with his hair blowing majestically in the wind like someone hunky from The Lord of the Rings, his beautiful spirit free and untramelled, whatever that means, but I seriously doubt it.

Conspiracy theory even stretches to suggest that the mighty Cobain wrote most of this album. I'll concede that there may be parallels, notably the preponderance of milk as a theme, but it's nothing that can't be accounted for by Kurdt having told her indoors all about his great day at the studio with the guys whilst she was washing the dishes, making him some chips, or ironing his lumberjack shirt ready for the pop concert. Furthermore, if Cobain was really capable of writing songs this good, you would think he might have kept one or two for inclusion on his own records.

Courtney Love may indeed be the world's most enormous cockmongler for all I know, but I rest my judgement on her music being as it exists independent of any supposed media harridanry, and particularly as the rest looks like the usual stuff where it's funny when Keith Richards pulls that crap, but a chick, man - that be fucked up.

Live Through This is probably one of the greatest rock albums of all time, in my view - a record so good that when I first bought a copy it took me about six months before I finally managed to turn it over and listen to the second side. Lyrically, it's both deeply affecting and chilling in suggesting the horrors of a less than ideal upbringing or the more unpleasant corners of human sexual politics without spelling everything out which, I would cautiously suggest, grants Live Through This an appeal beyond the Riot Grrrl audience, something more trailer home than student bar. It's the sound of the shittiest day you've ever had, but with tunes. As an album, it's so good that there's almost no point writing about it, aside from to remind people of its being good, and that Courtney Love's media presence should generally be regarded as a separate, possibly unrelated entity. I've nothing against Nirvana beyond believing them to have been somewhat overrated for a band who recorded a song about how they only wanted the really cool people listening to their music, but this is as good as they could have sounded had they been something other than an Iron Maiden tribute act.

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