Awful – Hole

Truly one of my sunshinin’ songs. Awful by Hole took a lot of flack at the time of its release for a lot of reasons. Most of them juvenile, sexist and lunk-headed pre-internet conspiracist codswallop type reasons. So let us talk no more of that. Instead let us revel in the pop rock glory of this three-minute wonder.

The hook line of Awful is one of the most perfectly joyous sounds I can imagine. Queen Courtney sounds like she is genuinely having a great time for the first time on record. Everything Hole recorded pre-Celebrity Skin was abrasive, energetic and heartfelt but it was also furious, it was also at odds with comfort, with celebration and with happiness.

How fitting that their coming of age record be the one where they make ‘Going to California’ sound like sunshine. There is still the dichotomy of a FM Radio friendly anthem having a title like Awful. An easy pot shot for cynics. A bold move from a band so punk they didn’t care what people thought of them if they went pop? Maybe. A brilliant record? Definitely.

On an album with such sublime songsmithery as Malibu, Boys On The Radio and this, there was still the outsiderdom of Petals and the heartbroken Northern Star.

Celebrity Skin and the tour that followed may have been too soon for the healing required by all involved to handle the next phase of this bands ascension. Indeed there was a long decade where there were no more Hole records or shows as the 90’s turned into the 2000’s.

It was long after the end of the century that Nobody’s Daughter made a stab at reclaiming their dirty tiara for a crown. Courtney made this record a sonic half sibling under her own name with America’s Sweetheart.

Should you consider what followed of quality or not (I’m a fan of pretty much everything she’s appeared on) you cannot doubt that the influence of Hole on the modern rock landscape is positive, palpable and undeniable.

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7 thoughts on “Awful – Hole

  1. “sublime songsmithery” – Exemplary description of this album Steve!
    Those 2 tracks in particular (Malibu & Boys on the Radio) are my favourites, Melissa’s harmonies on Malibu in the 2nd verse are gorgeous.
    And Boys is one of those songs that is probably the textbook definition of ‘up my street’ = upbeat tune juxtaposed with discouraging lyrics (“I know you are rotten to the core”)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you about this song- I think it is great – a lot of people can’t stand her but I always thought that they were one of the better bands of the 90s – also I have not heard this for a long time and I sort of forgot about this song – thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like Celebrity Skin (and this is a good tune), but can’t say I listened to Love’s solo stuff or the last Hole album. Not cause I thought the stuff they were putting out wasn’t worthwhile, I just kinda moved on.

    I’ll give this

    Liked by 1 person

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