“Grunge’s drama queen makes good. Before Courtney Love became a Hollywood sideshow, her band made one of the most potent albums of the post-punk era.” BL “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.” STE
“Released a week after…Cobain’s suicide, rumors started immediately that it was Cobain, not his wife, Courtney Love, who wrote the majority of these churningly catchy songs. Forget that there’s no proof, that their marriage was collaborative and that it’s a nasty thing to say, Live Through This is clearly a woman’s work.” TL
“There’s no denying that” STE “the music’s fury smelled eerily like teen spirit” BL with Cobain’s “patented stop-start dynamics, bare chords, and punk-pop melodies provid[ing] the blueprint for Live Through This,” STE but “Love adds her signature rage and feminist rhetoric to the formula.” STE “Ultimately it was Miss World herself who sold the guitar-fueled drama.” BL
This album is “about exploitation, which explains Love’s amp curdling anger on Jennifer’s Body and Plump, but it’s also funny, self-aware (‘I fake it so real I am beyond fake’) and far more swaggering than any album any grunge man ever came up with. When Love sings, "I went to school in Olympia/ Where everyone’s the same,’ it’s obvious she thinks she’s not, and that she’s right.” TL Also, “the lyrics that truly resonate are the ones that unintentionally predict Cobain’s suicide.” STE
“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.” STE
- BL Blender Magazine’s 100 Greatest American Albums (10/08)
- STE Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
- TL Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time Magazine’s “All-TIME 100 Albums” (11/13/06)
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Last updated March 28, 2011.