HOLE “Pretty on the Inside” Caroline *...


HOLE “Pretty on the Inside”

Caroline * * * Hey, pain is nothing new in rock ‘n’ roll--the pain of heartbreak, the pain of lost innocence, the pain of realizing that Bob Guccione Jr. doesn’t like you anymore. But with the possible exception of certain early Lydia Lunch songs, the pain stays within the performer’s head.

Hole makes it hurt. With her astonishingly expressive voice, which modulates from howling rage to the sort of sardonic sneer associated with the Fall’s Mark Smith, Courtney Love sings about turning tricks as a teen-age whore, about unimaginably ugly envy, about shooting smack to regain her equanimity.

Hers is a terrifying emotional landscape, closer to Kathy Acker novels than to anything you might think of as pop, and the grinding instrumental backing--grating-industrial in scope, punk-rock in execution--is nearly as powerful as primo Sonic Youth, whose Kim Gordon produced.


Whether it wanted one or not, the decade finally has an equivalent of Patti Smith’s “Horses.” Play it loud. “Pretty on the Inside” is about as pretty as a flayed wound.

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