I also remember everyone saying that Kurt was the one that did all the writing on this album, which is why it was so good. I personally think that's complete bullshit. First there is not a single mention of Kurt anywhere on the album. Dave Grohl in fact is the only member of Nirvana to even recieve a mention on the album, and it's just in the thanks. Which, brings me back to there was only four days between Cobain's death and the album coming out. That's not enough time to change album notes in 1994.
Now that I have those formalities out of the way, let's move on to the best punk band that came out of the 1990's. The early to mid 90's gave us grunge and the next gen of punk. Bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden were giving us a constant whining drone while Green Day, Treble Charger, Gob and Rancid were trying to recapture the Sex Pistols and Ramones with style. Talk about anti-punk. Hole however, was getting it done right.
Let me start with the only elements on this album that make it Grunge is the fact that there's some accoustic work and not all songs are played fast. If it were not for that, this album would have ended up right up there with Girlschool or the Plasmatics, both of which are considered Punk/Metal.
The album opens with Violet, which was also the first video I clearly remember seeing, although not the first single. There's something about a woman singing about a woman singing about how she likes a good "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am". It's even better when she's just being a complete psycho tease, unless you are actually dealing with that bullshit in real life. Then you better be as rough as this song.
The first single/video for the album was Miss World. This was Emo a decade before Emo became the bastard subdivision of Goth. "I've made my bed, I'll die in it / I've made my bed, I'll cry in it / I've made my bed, I'll lie in it" just repeat over and over for the last minute almost until Love finishes with "I am the girl you know, can't look you in the eye". Not as good as the lead off track, but a great way to keep the album going.
The third song on the album is fast, furious and oddly heavy. Plump can be taken many different ways. It's either a brash song about being a man's sex toy, and getting sick of it. Or it's about dealing with pregnancy when you don't really want to be a mom. Then again if you go very literal, it could be just about a chick tired of chugging man seed. After almost 20 years, and I can't believe it's been that long, this is one of those song that I like more now than I did then.
Asking For It is probably the most standard rock song on the album. A little accoustic, a little distorted, and heavily rocking, It's a great mash-up of styles and sounds that shows Courtney Love's Heart influences. However, don't for a second think I'm saying Courtney Love sounds anything like the amazing Ann Wilson. This song is also like others on this album with the double interpretations. I'm not sure if this song is supposed to be a social commentary on "Women asking to be raped" or "Women wanting to be raped" either way it cuts to the bone. This song does contain the uncredited background vocals of Kurt Cobain, along with one other song.
Jennifer's Body was one of those songs that i remember everyone being totally into, and I'm not sure why. It was one of those songs that never did anything for me. It's a good song, but it's just album filler to me. The same applies to Doll Parts, which I know was a single, but have no clue why. It's mandatory grunge accoustic filler as far as I'm concerned.
I love the way that Credit In The Straight World begins, like the band is trapped in an echo chamber. From there it quickly turns into a deeming song that I lthink in retrospect was a cheap shot right at Kurt and his issues with pain and substance abuse.
The next song is the other uncredited Cobain background vocal song. It's also another one of those boring slow whining grunge songs. In fact this one has a bit of a country twang to it, which is okay. But, overall this is a bit of a skip it song to me.
I love it when an album comes back from a bunch of filler with more filler that's really angry and fast. She Walks On Me isn't filler like the previous track. I don't want to skip it, or move on to something better, because I want to bang my head. This is some major Sex Pistols like punk, but with more talent.
I think That I Would Die is one of the more powerful songs on the album. This is another that seems very Heart inspired, right until the end of the song when Love let's loose with her spoiled bitch screaming. Which sounds perfectly in place.
Now, when it comes to writing credits for songs it just lists all songs written by Hole accept for the previous track which was written by Hole and K. Bjelland, and Credit In The Straight World which was written by Stuart Maxham. Which means that Courtney Love – vocals, rhythm guitar; Eric Erlandson – lead guitar; Kristen Pfaff – bass, piano, backing vocals; and Patty Schemel – drums, percussion. Does that mean that this album was written by everyone in the Band? Maybe musically, but this album is pretty much all Courtney Love lyrically. Which sometimes is not a good thing. Gutless is the most stupid of the punk sounding stuff on this album. I skip it or ignore it, unless I'm in the mood to scream Gutless for 2:15.
The album ends with my favourite song Rockstar. I don't know why I so often love the song that finishes the album, but like so many others it's because this one really closes the album well. In fact it sums up the whole Hole experience in my opinion, right down to the Rock star bitch attitude.
To sum up this album the best that I can, I would have to say that this was a form of therapy, long before Love would actually need the therapy. Especially since bassist Kristen Pfaff died only months after it's release. I would say this is also a great exercise in Girl Rock, but that's insulting to a band that is not actually a chick band. It's just a band with a lot of females in it, and one poor male that was verbally abused by Love for years.
The only major downsides to this album is the amount of crappy punk sounding songs and the lame production. It sounds too much like the album is trying to be 1979.
7/10 - content
6/10 - production
8/10 - personal bias