My Top 1000 Songs #603: Celebrity Skin

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Hole's 1994 sophomore album Live Through This was an omnipresent monster back in the day, loaded with deeply affecting songs, emotionally gripping and cathartic, with tremendous power either because of (or despite) the Kurt Cobain mystique, the unavoidable speculation of the extent to which he may or may not have been involved in (or at least inspired) some of the songs.

The long-delayed 1998 follow-up Celebrity Skin couldn't help but fall a little short. The more polished, alt.rock radio-ready sound was a mixed bag, making the album a little more immediate than its more post-punk predecessor, but lacking its raw emotional tug. 

But let's be honest--the title track was an all-out banger, right? Yes, it was super-slick, with Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan giving Courtney Love a big songwriting boost, the track as shiny and prettied up as Love looks in the video and sounding more like the pop-glam of Transvision Vamp than the band's grunge roots... but if it sticks the landing, who cares?

I have rarely picked up the album in the decades since (even Live Through This only gets a rare spin)... but playing the song today is still absolutely riveting, demanding 100% of your attention and elevating your pulse rate, one of those songs where you instinctively reach for the auto-repeat 'cuz it ends too soon.

Live 1999:
Smashing Pumpkins & Courtney, 2018: