- Hole: Courtney Love (vocals, guitar); Eric Erlandson (guitar); Kristen Pfaff (piano, bass, background vocals); Patty Schemel (drums).
- Additional personnel: Dana Kletter (vocals).
- Recorded at Triclops Studios, Atlanta, Georgia.
- LIVE THROUGH THIS would have been an important record even without the heartbreaking overtones surrounding Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain and their daughter Frances Bean. In light of those events, however, there is a poignant resonance to Hole's songs that amplifies, and in some cases transcends their original meaning.
- With her husky growl and simmering sing-song delivery, Courtney Love at times suggests a female Johnny Rotten. Sugar and spice and all things nice she is not, if a song like "Doll Parts" is any indication ("Someday you will ache like I ache"). She sounds like someone who was denied a real childhood, and life's experiences seemed to have curdled inside of her. The soft-hard-soft-hard program of each song reflects a conflict between her suppressed feminine yearnings and her own world-weary, tough-gal persona.
- Love's bitter, over-the-top emotional recollections give LIVE THROUGH THIS much of its bite, while Hole's refined, kick-ass arrangements tend to humanize, and occasionally soften Love's wellsprings of resentment. In contrast to the relentless punk rock of PRETTY ON THE INSIDE, LIVE THROUGH THIS is a more polished alternative production, although tunes like "Gutless" are pure Sex Pistols rant and raveup ("All my friends are embryonic, all my friends are dead and gone/All my friends are microscopic, all my friends wake up alone...Sleep with me wake up alive...I don't really miss God, but I sure miss Santa Claus").
- Her sensuality and sexual ambivalence are front and center on LIVE THROUGH THIS. "You should learn how to say no," she yowls on "Violet." ("When they get what they want, they never want it again...Go on take everything, take everything, I want you to." Not exactly "The Chapel Of Love.") Every inch the failed romantic and social outcast, on songs like "Asking For It" and "Rock Star" Love compulsively peels away at her own skin until a throbbing void of bitterness is all that remains. Look away if you can't take the truth or fathom the enigmatic lyrics, but you won't be able to ignore LIVE THROUGH THIS.
Rolling Stone (10/31/02, p.136) - Ranked # 20 in Rolling Stone's "Women in Rock: The 50 Essential Albums" - "...[A] grim, passionate grunge masterpiece..."
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.54) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (1/25/95, p.52) - Voted Best Album in the 1995 Critic's Poll.
Rolling Stone (12/29/94-1/12/95, p.191) - "...Love delivers punk not only as insinuating as Nirvana's but as corrosive as the Sex Pistols'. More significantly, LIVE THROUGH THIS may be the most potent blast of female insurgency ever committed to tape..."
Spin (9/99, p.120) - Ranked #6 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s."
Spin (12/94, p.76) - Ranked #1 in Spin's list of the `20 Best Albums Of '94' - "...Love rode her band's gargantuan riffs through a shy loner's air-guitar fantasy: rock stardom as revenge upon the entire human race..."
Entertainment Weekly (4/15/94, p.56) - "...what you take away isn't a guitar riff but Love's voice. A thick reedy instrument that makes her sound like the younger, brattier sister of Johnny Rotten, it stands out like a suited IBM executive at Lollapalooza....[Love] has charisma and attitude to burn, and she knows it...." - Rating: B+
Alternative Press (7/01, p.96) - Included in AP's "10 Essential Women's Rock Albums" - "...This put her in the public eye for her music, making herself over as the queen of angry female alterna-rock."
Melody Maker (4/9/94, p.30) - "...You know the plot; the tension is all in execution. This has to be the high watermark of the genre that survived the crass label of `foxcore'..."
Musician (4/94, p.82) - "...Cobain's much-discussed, little heard other half finally gets the chance to escape gossip-column purgatory and succceeds with flying colors...Courtney Love's foul, funny eloquence...cuts through all the bullshit with a mighty flourish. Rock on, sister!..."
Village Voice (3/94, p.5) - Ranked #2 in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #1 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
Village Voice (5/3/94, p.65) - "...[Love] is the nightmare doll who comes to life to wreak revenge on her domesticators....There's also her sheer star power, the irresistible curl of her phrases, the waterfall plunge of her screams. But more than that, it's the way she dares to fashion from the lies she can't escape, a story she can call true...."
New York Times (Publisher) (1/5/95, p.C15) - Included on Jon Pareles' list of the Top 10 Albums Of '94 - "...Courtney Love channels her inchoate rage into straightforward verse-chorus-verse..."
New York Times (Publisher) (1/5/95, p.C15) - Included on Neil Strauss' list of the Top 10 Albums Of '94 - "...Try divorcing Courtney Love the gossip-column item...from this album to find Courtney Love the punk-rock musician..."
NME (Magazine) (12/24/94, p.22) - Ranked #12 in NME's list of the `Top 50 Albums Of 1994.'
NME (Magazine) (4/9/94, p.40) - 8 - Excellent - "...The result is a personal but secretive thrash-pop opera of urban nihilism and passionate dumbthinks..."
Pitchfork (Website) - "As much as it concerns trauma and misogyny, LIVE THROUGH THIS, like all great rock records, quakes with desire."