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.
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.