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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | DGC

From the moment the Pyromania guitars herald open the title track on Celebrity Skin, it's clear Hole no longer is tortured. Gone are the roaring guitars and noise, the pain and the anguish that informed Pretty on the Inside and Live Through This. Some angst remains, but it's buried under a glaze of shiny guitars and hazy melodies, all intended to evoke the heyday of Californian pop in the late '70s. Conceptually, it's a bold move for a band that's nearly synonymous with grunge, but the makeover doesn't quite work. Part of the reason is that Hole's music was always compelling as nakedly cathartic spectacle -- and that's exactly what has been excised on Celebrity Skin. In the past, Courtney Love pushed her emotions to the forefront, and the sheer forcefulness of her personality disguised the anonymity of her bandmates. A toned-down Love still may not be able to carry a tune, but there's little grit to her performance on Celebrity Skin, so she effortlessly blends with the faceless musical support -- which is strange, considering her overpowering public image. Walking the line between soft rock and confessional grunge was a difficult task regardless, and to its credit, Hole -- with the assistance of producer Michael Beinhorn and consultant Billy Corgan, who is credited with co-writing five songs and essentially pioneered the very sound of Celebrity Skin with his Smashing Pumpkins albums -- has created an album that sounds like an arena rock monster, but the hooks sink only halfway in, so it doesn't have much impact. It is a complete makeover, but instead of metamorphosing into a new band, Hole has unwittingly neutered itself. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Rock - Released January 1, 1994 | DGC

Courtney Love completely revamped Hole before recording their second album, keeping only Eric Erlandson in the lineup. That is one of the reasons why Live Through This sounds so shockingly different from Pretty on the Inside, but the real reason is Love's desire to compete in the same commercial alternative rock arena as her husband, Kurt Cobain. In fact, many rumors have claimed that Cobain ghostwrote a substantial chunk of the album, and while that's unlikely, there's no denying that his patented stop-start dynamics, bare chords, and punk-pop melodies provide the blueprint for Live Through This. Love adds her signature rage and feminist rhetoric to the formula, but the lyrics that truly resonate are the ones that unintentionally predict Cobain's suicide. For all the raw pain of the lyrics, Live Through This rarely sounds raw because of the shiny production and the carefully considered dynamics. Despite this flaw, the album retains its power because it was one of the few records patterned on Nevermind that gets the formula right, with a set of gripping hooks and melodies that retain their power even if they follow the predictable grunge pattern. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2017 | FMIC


Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Astralwerks

With the assistance of producers Kim Gordon and Don Fleming, Hole recorded a brutally uncompromising debut with Pretty on the Inside. The jagged white noise and buzzing guitars articulate Courtney Love's pent-up rage as well as her lyrics, and while that might make the album difficult to absorb in one sitting, it also makes it a singular achievement. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2010 | Cherry Forever Records - IDJ

Resurrecting the Hole moniker for 2010’s Nobody’s Daughter is simply a matter of business for Courtney Love: her 2004 solo album, America’s Sweetheart, flat-lined, so her assumption is that the name Hole carries some cachet and will raise her profile and, in turn, her sales. That neither Love’s chief collaborator Eric Erlandson nor her lieutenant Melissa Auf der Maur is to be found on this purported reunion is of no serious commercial consequence -- for most observers, Courtney Love was Hole just like Debbie Harry was Blondie, her supporting cast seemingly meaning little to the end product. Of course, the ironic thing is that Love is more dependent on the kindness of others than most singer/songwriters, her work taking on the characteristics of her collaborators -- and in the case of Nobody’s Daughter, they include longtime (and now former) friend Billy Corgan and Michael Beinhorn, two of the architects behind 1998’s Celebrity Skin, the one time Courtney came close to being the genuine crossover rock star she so desperately craves to be. Trace elements of the SoCal sheen of Skin can catch the light on Nobody’s Daughter, but despite its billing as a Hole album, this record wasn’t conceived as a band effort: its genesis is as the second Love solo album and it can’t shake its inward-leaning singer/songwriter roots no matter how many times a “Skinny Little Bitch” is grafted onto the final product. That affected snarl was pulled as the first single in hopes of selling the album as a return to rock, but it’s impossible to disguise the turgid tuneless folk-rock swirl at the heart of Nobody’s Daughter. By swapping guitar armies and clobbering hooks for muddled midtempo ballads, Courtney is placing more weight on her lyrics than she perhaps should given that she’s plowing familiar fields, painting herself as either a martyr or survivor (going so far as to quote Scarlett O’Hara in the concluding “Never Go Hungry”), two personas that don’t quite jibe with the image she’s relentlessly pushed into the spotlight. Naturally, art should stand separate from the artist, but Courtney Love has never made that easy, blurring all lines between the public and private, turning all judgments on her art into a referendum on her. And in the case of Nobody’s Daughter, the tattered, ragged survivor in the gossip rags is no different than the one on record, both capturing Courtney in an inevitable, not so romantic decline, inadvertently turning every cliché into truth as she slowly slips into her final role as alt-rock’s Norma Desmond. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Punk / New Wave - Released February 14, 2012 | Sympathy for the Record Industry


Alternative & Indie - Released May 4, 2015 | Good Ship Funke


World - Released May 16, 2019 | Latin Session | Urban Workout


Rap - Released June 7, 2019 | Trap Company | Trap Under City