Remembering A Classic – Hole – Celebrity Skin (1998)

Celebrity SkinAhh. I’m an unashamed lover of this album. At the extreme tail end of the echoes of the grunge movement came Hole’s follow up album to their LIVE THROUGH THIS breakout hit. Where LIVE THROUGH THIS was a rough, punchy, angry L.A. bitch alt rock confection, CELEBRITY SKIN is a much classier affair, it’s more accessible, better produced, stronger songs, and showcases collaborations with one of my major song writing heroes Billy Corgan. (n.b. all the best tracks on this were written or co-written by Billy Corgan as the very public argument that Courtney Love and he had over it.) 

The album released on September 8, 1998 pretty much globally and the band kicked out hard with the sub 3 minute rock hit – the titular track and album opener CELEBRITY SKIN. A scathing riff on celebrity and Hollywood’s treatment of women, the song sets the temperament for the rest of the album which swings between light and shade with ease. There’s brightness throughout, there’s the angst ridden, there’s the defiant rock and there’s wondrous nods to bands like FLEETWOOD MAC, Shimmering 70’s California Rock and, of course, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS.

The sound production is fuller, giving the songs so much more resonance and lasting impression. Love’s lyrics are much more disciplined, yes the undercurrent of a cynic is still there but the songs tussle with themselves to stay upbeat. HITS SO HARD is a perfect example of this battle.. I think it’s the albums resonates a theme of ‘we’ve been in the trash and it’s a part of who we are, yet we are more than our beginnings’  and that really holds the album in a special place for me. Anyway I am rambling…

With tracks like CELEBRITY SKIN, AWFUL, HITS SO HARD, MALIBU, REASONS TO BE BEAUTIFUL, DYING, USE ONCE & DESTROY, NORTHERN STAR, BOYS ON THE RADIO, HEAVEN TONIGHT, PLAYING YOUR SONG and PETALS in the line up you know you’re on a good thing.

For me the stand out track is BOYS ON THE RADIO (featured) this song reaches a level that suggests the potential of Love and her cohorts. These guys really had so much potential to become the biggest rock gods around.

This is a complete album – all killer no filler. It’s an album full of gold and echoing potential – HOLE had so much going for them and this is the album that made the world stand up and pay attention..

Anyway I rambles – have a scroll through – trust me there is so much to admire here!

BOYS ON THE RADIO – (Love, Erlandson, Auf der Maur)

Do what you want
Cos I’ll do anything
And I’ll take the blame
What’s mine is yours
You can have all of it
And I learn to begOh, the boys on the radio
They crash and burn
They fold and fade so slowIn your endless summer night
I’ll be on the other side
When you’re beautiful and dying
All the world that you’ve denied
When the water is too deep
You can close your eyes and really sleep tonight
Tonight

I want what’s yours
Oh, I’d give anything and
I’ll take the pain
I wait alone
For what will never come and
I throw it all away

Oh, the boys on the radio
They crash and burn
They fold and fade so slow

In your endless summer night
I’ll be on the other side
When you’re beautiful and dying
All the world that you’ve denied
When the water is too deep
You can close your eyes and really sleep tonight
Your beauty blinds

If I let you in
Under my skin
And risen every angel slain

He said he’d never, ever
Ever go
Never ever, ever go away
Baby, I’ve gone away

In your endless summer night
I’ll be on the other side
When you’re beautiful and dying
All the world that you’ve denied
When the water is too deep
You can close your eyes and really sleep tonight
Your beauty blinds

I know where are running to, please come back
Oh, come back again
I hear the truth, it’s coming from you
Oh, come back, won’t you come back again

In your endless summer night
I’ll be on the other side
When you’re beautiful and dying
All the world that you’ve denied
When the water is too deep
I will ease your suffering
When the glitter fades in morning
Turn away and you will find my empty eyes
Your beauty blinds

I know that you are rotten to the core
I know that you don’t love me anymore
I know that you are rotten to the core

CELEBRITY SKIN – HOLE – Is available now on all formats