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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Celebrity Skin

Hole

1998

Buy At Rough Trade
Celebrity Skin
Album Summary

Celebrity Skin is the third studio album by American alternative rock band Hole, released on September 8, 1998, in the United States on DGC Records and internationally on Geffen Records. It was the last album released by the band before their dissolution in 2002. Hole intended for the record to diverge significantly from their previous noise and grunge-influenced sound as featured on Pretty on the Inside (1991) and Live Through This (1994). The band hired producer Michael Beinhorn to record Celebrity Skin over a nine-month period that included sessions in Los Angeles, New York City, and London. It was the band's only studio release to feature bassist Melissa Auf der Maur. Drummer Patty Schemel played the demos for the album, but was replaced by session drummer Deen Castronovo at the suggestion of producer Beinhorn. This issue created a rift between Schemel and the band, resulting in her dropping out of the tour and parting ways with the group, though she received the drumming credit on the album. The band sought to use Los Angeles and the state of California as a unifying theme, and began writing what they conceived as a "California album" in 1997. Unlike Hole's previous releases, the final songs on Celebrity Skin featured instrumental contributions from several musicians outside the band, primarily Billy Corgan, who co-wrote the musical arrangements on five songs. Auf der Maur's former bandmate Jordon Zadorozny, as well as Go-Go's guitarist Charlotte Caffey, also contributed to the composition of one track. Frontwoman Courtney Love, who wrote all of the lyrics, named the album and its title track after a poem she had written that was influenced by T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land". Motifs of water and drowning are also prominent throughout the album. Celebrity Skin is Hole's most commercially successful album. It peaked at number nine on the US Billboard 200, number four on the Australian Albums Chart, and number 11 on the UK Albums Chart. To date, it has sold over 1.4 million copies in the United States alone, has been certified as double-platinum in Australia by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), and platinum in Canada by Music Canada (MC) and the United States by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It garnered Hole a number-one hit single on the Modern Rock Tracks chart with the title track, "Celebrity Skin". Critical reaction to the album was very positive and it was listed on a number of publications' year-end lists in 1998, including those by Time and The Village Voice. The album was named the 265th greatest album of all time by a 2013 poll by NME magazine and was featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.25

Votes

11061
Genres
Rock
Grunge

Reviews

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Wed Nov 11 2020
5

Easily Hole's biggest release (and their last), Celebrity Skin is a powerhouse alt-rock album. It's got everything you could want from a rock album in '98. It has bad-ass female power vocals, chunky riffs, meaningful lyrics, and all the attitude you can eat. It's a great album.

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Fri May 28 2021
5

I've been waiting for this generator to give me more stuff like this. This is my groove, my era. I want to live inside the 90's and never leave. This album hits every level of alt-rock greatness and just demolishes.

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Mon Sep 19 2022
2

Beavis: Check it out, Butt-Head…our 69th album just got generated. Butt-Head: uh-huh-huh, you said “69”. Beavis: oh, yeah, I guess did….heh-heh… Butt-Head: so, uh…what is it? Beavis: Uhh…69 is the sex number, Butt-Head…Jeez Butt-Head: I know what 69 is, dill-weed. What record are we, like, supposed to listen to? Beavis: oh…yeah, cool…I knew that…uh, it says we’re supposed to listen to Celebrity Skin by Hole. Butt-Head: uh-huh-huh…Hole. Beavis: yeah! and it’s, like, our 69th record, Butt-Head…Heh-heh…69…heh-heh-heh…Hole…Get it? Butt-Head: Whoa…that’s cool. This generator must know we’re, like, super cool badasses who like to score. Beavis: uhh…Butt-Head? We, like, don’t score very much at all. Butt-Head: Uh…speak for yourself, butt-munch. Ladies love the Butt-Head…Now go put on that Hole record, you wuss. Beavis: oh, yeah…sure thing, Butt-Head. [they listen to the record] Beavis: Hey, Butt-Head? Butt-Head: Uhh….yeah, Beavis? Beavis: Is it just me or does this record kind of suck? Butt-Head: yeah, Beavis…it sucks. She’s, like, singing about seeing God and stuff. Beavis: Yeah…singing about God sucks. This is lame. Butt-Head: We should, like, leave a bad review and demand the Generator give us a new album that’s, like, cool to listen to for number 69. Beavis: Yeah! This sucks! I want a refund or I’m gonna find the Generator and, like, smash it with a baseball bat…and then, I’m going to take all the pieces, gather them up and set them on fire! Yeah, fire! FIRE! Heh-heh…that’ll teach them to make us listen to things that suck. Butt-Head: uh-huh-huh…Breaking things is cool. Beavis: It sure is, Butt-Head…It sure is.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

Great grunge album. Not every song is a winner, but the ones that are bop.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
4

Someday soon (possibly even while I'm still going through all of these albums), there are going to be serious arguments about either Courtney Love or Hole should be elected to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. I'm not saying her or the band will make it, but the two albums deservedly on this list sure make a good case for election. Both "Live Through This" and "Celebrity Skin" come close to being perfect for their genres and time. I find myself preferring this one, and not because it's more accessible. Courtney leans more into a polished pop sound (similar to what Liz Phair did post Guyville) that seems to suit her more. Some dissed her for that, suggesting she sold out. Courtney could never do right in her critic's eyes. As far as "California Albums" are concerned, I'll put this up with the Beach Boys, Eagles Byrds and Doors similar conceptual albums. Maybe by the time she and Hole are eligible for the Rock Hall, voters will judge Courtney on her musical contributions and forget that she had anything to do with killing Kurt Cobain (allegedly, don't @ me).

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Sat Jun 19 2021
5

I had no idea Courtney Love’s music was actually good! I’d grown up just knowing she had a band and was married to Kurt Cobain but had wrongly assumed the band was trash. This whole thing sounds so full and the melodies are as catchy as they come while remaining powerfully aggressive. Love it!

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Sat Dec 18 2021
4

A perfect distillation of that nineties sound, Hole were kind of alt / kind of pop, tabloid fodder lead singer / artist with integrity, cynical / sell out - holding all these contradictions together in the one hole. And accordingly, it’s one of the best albums of the nineties. It captures that mood so perfectly - disaffected rich kids, LA is so shallow but means the world.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
3

Meh. I prefer "Live Through This". To me, it has a more raw feel and grunge was about "raw".

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Wed Sep 29 2021
2

Solid but middle of the road, probably unnecessary for me to listen to prior to my ultimate demise.

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Fri Mar 04 2022
4

Celebrity Skin is a great power pop album and an interesting way to depart from the grunge style from previous albums produced by Courtney Love's Hole. The changes in the line up and production style resulted in a album about California that works very well as a single theme record. Love's lyrics are at her peak, exploring themes of superficiality and sexism that fits very well with the California motif. "Celebrity Skin" and "Malibu" are alt rock classics and great late 1990s songs.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

1/13 Great album with a real seedy, shady, Hollywood vibe to it. Standout Tracks: Awful, Dying, Use Once & Destroy, Northern Star, Playing Your Song

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Tue Apr 06 2021
5

Awful, Northern Star, Reasons to Be Beautiful are all excellent. Northern Star is the masterpiece I can’t believe I haven’t heard before.

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Tue Nov 02 2021
5

My second favourite album by my favourite band. I have loved Hole since I was a teenager and now in my late 30s I still listen to them several times a week. This album reminds me of being a teenager in the 90s and trying to pretend I didn’t like this album because Courtney Love had “sold out” and made a pop album but secretly I loved it. Listening to this album now still makes me dream about moving to California.

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Sat Jul 30 2022
5

This follow-up to Hole's best album 'Live Through This" is warmer, shinier and has what I imagine to be a Los Angeles feel. Every track is great. I don't understand the hate for Courtney Love but I suspect it has something to do with latent misogyny.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

When I got this album I said to my listening buddy, “I can sing you this entire album start to finish, without accompaniment” I loved it then and I love it now.

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Sat Feb 11 2023
5

I'd like to publicly apologize to Courtney Love for just dismissing her as a tabloid time waster. I hadn't listen to any Hole music on principle until now. My loss. I'm sorry. This was really excellent.

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Wed May 10 2023
5

I'm a bit biased, because this album came out when I was 16 and I was crazy for it. I bought it on release. I was *there* for it. But 25 years on, I still think this album is fantastic. There's some elements of it that feel a little "filler" ("Playing Your Song"), but for the most part, this is a wonderfully melodic, brutally personal album from Courtney and Eric (and Billy Corgan).

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Fri Jul 21 2023
5

Courtney Love called out Harvey Weinstein before most people said a word.

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Mon Jul 11 2022
4

One of the staples of the "alt music with lead woman who sounds like she doesn't care"

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Thu Jan 28 2021
3

Surprisingly good but nothing special

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Thu Jun 17 2021
3

A somewhat uneven album, that doesn't quite contain the passion/angst of live through this and adds a layer of polish that dilutes the predecessors energy. Awful and Celebrity Skin are highlights.

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Mon May 17 2021
3

Kicks off very strongly with "Celebrity Skin", but gets a bit lost in the middle of the album. A good album and screams 'the 90s'

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Thu Sep 30 2021
3

Aujourd'hui je remarquais avec satisfaction que le generateur faisait peau neuve, en offrant un classement des reviewers les plus populaires. Or, stupeur, ni mon camarade roblumière, ni moi, ne figuront dans ce top 10. Si il est évident de comprendre pourquoi rob ne figure pas dans ce top, étant donné la qualité minable de ses commentaires, ma non présence a fait l'effet d'une bombe dans le petit monde du générateur. Des émeutes ont été recensées à New York, Sidney et Bangkok, pour protester devant ce traitement infâme imposé par le Diktat de Robert. J'appelle tout le monde à garder son calme, nous allons tenter de trouver une solution pour palier à ce coup de trafalgar infligé par Robert.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
3

Le chat persan ci-présenté a une jolie tête ronde et des joues bien développées. On notera cependant que le front paraît trop large et les yeux trop proches du nez, ce qui est un défaut que l'on trouve souvent chez les persans trop racés. Note générale : 3/5

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Wed May 24 2023
3

I didn’t Courtney Love it, but I did Courtney Like it 👍🏾

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Thu Jul 06 2023
3

i bet Kat Stratford loved this album

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Thu Jun 03 2021
2

I love "live through this". I always had to defend the album to my male friends. It's shrouded in some controversy, but it holds up. I remember being deflated when this came out. I could not have been any less into power-pop at the time. The singles just screamed "sell out". I never listened to the album. I'm shocked by it's inclusion and glowing reviews. It's not as bad as I was expecting, but there is no way a younger me would have like this. Way too polished.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
2

Songs are good enough, but this album was made in 98 and grunge was already dead and this sound played out. It's all generic and been done already. It was fun to revisit/reevaluate the Courtney Love drama as an adult, I feel a bit more empathy for her in hindsight.

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Tue Aug 31 2021
2

Not awful. But pretty generic stuff

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Mon Nov 01 2021
1

Boring, flat. A lesser album than the other hole album on the list, no idea why it's on here.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
1

It’s 50 minutes long. I could only hack 40. It sounds like kurt in drag but saccharine sweet and over produced. Maybe Kurt sounded like her though. It reminded me of when I used to think Latoya Jackson was Michael in drag.

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

Great Album, her voice fits great to the music and there is not a single bad song on the album

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

This is exactly the type of rock music I adore to play live and to listen to. Heavy guitars, melodies, great vocal delivery, perfect runtime. The songs belong with one each other, they flow well from one another, and are all produced the same. Courtney delivers puts the lyrics to life, singing straight from the soul.

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Thu Jun 17 2021
5

I still listen to this all the time, so yes, I could listen to it weekly.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Holes outstanding legacy in my opinion. Courtney Love kinda sucks but damn can she write some good music.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
5

Nice album. Good songs. I really liked it.

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Sun May 02 2021
5

I think imma give this one a 5! I like the sound of the band a lot, lyrics were interesting and I could see myself jamming to almost all the songs. The singers voice was really nice also

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Tue May 04 2021
5

This album is great. I used to think it was the weakest of their albums, but listening to it now years later I think it is really strong. Definitely worth a re-listen.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

This is great. Have power, noise, attitude, all rocks in it. Just love it.

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Fri Oct 22 2021
5

Never expected it to be so melodic... Loved it.

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Mon Oct 25 2021
5

I liked this a lot. Never listened before because: Courtney Love Jingly jangly indie guitars rather than grunge, so that appeals to me as an indie fan, but also quite melodic, especially Malibu.

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Sat Jan 22 2022
5

Ох. Ну и Кортни. Ай да молодец.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
5

Stevig album met wat grunge-invloeden

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Thu Apr 28 2022
5

Incredible late riot grrl/alt rock/power pop with so much energy and attitude and an absolute joy to listen through the whole way

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Tue May 17 2022
5

- didn’t realize it was Cobain’s girl. - Good strong female punk vocals - Nice tempo - Malibu has a nice riff - excellent lyrics - solid rhythm’s - excellent distorted guitar, with very interesting riffs and melodies - Brody Dalle styled vocals which I love - notable: Malibu, Reasons to be Beautiful, Celebrity Skin and Petals

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Tue Jul 19 2022
5

The vibe from the end of the 90's is nice !

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Mon Jul 25 2022
5

I was already a fan of Celebrity Skin and Malibu, but this album outperformed my expectations. I really like it when Courtney uses her voice differently, like the power pop sound of Awful or the Kurt inflection of Northern Star. When I read that Billy Corgan had contributed to this album I knew I'd like it. This album is a gem. One question. Surely Boys On The Radio is an REM track? The lyrics are a bit too direct, but the sound comes straight from Athens, Georgia.

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Fri Jul 29 2022
5

No doubt this benefits from a hefty nostalgia bonus - probably my fave Hole album! Fave track - the title track maybe? It's a fantastic album opener. "Northern Star" is great too....

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Mon Aug 01 2022
5

Trigger warning. This is a perfect album. With the exception of Smells Like Teen Spirit every track on this album is better than anything Nirvana recorded.

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Mon Aug 08 2022
5

I wasn't into much music in the 90s (too young), but still this album feels like a great reminder of that era. This album had everything I wanted and more. Angry, badass, rocking female vocals and lyrics, great guitarwork, and a feeling of nostalgia. Hole didn't have enough albums for my taste; I wish they had stuck around longer, but I understand why they didn't. Some of my favorite grunge (even though this is less grungy than the previous albums) out there.

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Tue Aug 09 2022
5

good album; this is one of the top albums that i had not heard previously

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Tue Aug 09 2022
5

"Celebrity Skin" is the third and final album before Hole's 2002 dissolution. It was produced by Michael Beinhorn and purposefully a move away from grunge and noise to a more rock-pop. And, to me, is one of the best albums in that rock-pop category: great melodies and choruses throughout. The band was struggling writing and recording; hey brought in Billy Corgan to help with the arrangements. Courtney Love wrote all the lyrics which supposedly used California as the American dream as a theme. The Go-Go's Charlotte Caffey and Blinker the Star's Jordan Zardorozny also were contributors. The album went on to be Hole's biggest commercial succes. The title was named after a T.S. Elliot poem "The Wasteland." The album starts off rockin with their first single "Celebrity Skin" and a rippin' guitar intro. Great guitar melodies throughout. About fame and fickleness (autobiographical?). References from Dante Rossetti and Shakespeare too. "Awful" continues the great song run in a more pop way. Great melodies as well and a rockin' edge. A Neil Diamond reference! The song is about music's treatment of girls and has a killer line "If the world is wrong, yeah, you can take it with one song." Their second single "Malibu" continues continues the great melodies and lyrics about getting away from someone (Cobain?) and escaping to Malibu. The second half of the album does not dip in quality either. "Boys On the Radio" starts with an acoustic guitar intro and kicks into classic rock-pop. The song was supposedly initiated by Courtney's reaction to the drowning of Jeff Buckley and is about self-destructive pop stars specifically Evan Dando and Brian Wilson. Maybe my favorite song on the album and its most rockin' (third time used) is "Playing Your Song." It's most likely about Kurt Cobain and selling out. Courtney tears it up with screaming and searing vocals. I love the first side of Hole's previous album "Live Through This" but then I think it takes a slight dip. "Celebrity Skin" does not take a dip and is my favorite Hole album. It accomplishes exactly what they tried to do and is one of the best albums of the late 90's.

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Mon Aug 22 2022
5

Pleasantly surprised by this. Catchy melodic grunge-rock. Interestingly, the vocal delivery in the slower songs reminded me of Lucinda Williams.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

I loved this album. I love Courtney Love’s vocal style and lyrics. It’s got a raw honesty even if it’s sometimes hard to admit. I’ve given Live Through This a couple listens and liked it but this was truly amazing

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Sun Nov 27 2022
5

Je regrette que les gens laissent leur opinion de Courtney Love influencer leur perception de Hole. Les textes sont excellents, toujours d’actualité pour les femmes. La musique n’a rien à envier aux autres groupes de l’époque, vraiment de bons riffs de guitare.

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Sat Jan 07 2023
5

4 sterren van mij en een extra ster voor Klaske. Hole is een van haar lievelings bands

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

Wow what a great 90s rock album. Front to back this has everything I like in a rock record. Great guitar tone. Production as a whole is actually quite nice. Light angst, good pace. This is one of the few times I’ve felt genuinely compelled to listen to more of the bands music. 5

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Fri Feb 03 2023
5

I was honestly blown away by this album. Song for song, just a ton of great rock songs. Courtney is such a great front woman, and every hook hits for me. No lulls, no filler, just great track after great track. I will 100% come back to this.

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Wed Feb 08 2023
5

Really enjoyed this one! A pleasing combination of grungy female vocals and rock instrumentals. Can definitely sense some of Courtney Love's hurt trying to escape through her lyrics Had only heard "Celebrity Skin" before - thank you generator for unlocking the rest of the record for me!

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Sun Mar 05 2023
5

Stunning, what a solid record start to finish! Love it.

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Mon Mar 13 2023
5

Great album but you have to wonder was Kurt giving pointers

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

Just a classic for women who wanna fight the patriarchy

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Tue Mar 28 2023
5

This album is pure late 90's nostalgia. I've never heard this album before, but it is tapping into my memories of being an punky teen girl.

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Fri Apr 21 2023
5

Celebrity Skin is a great song. This album fucking rocks. See: Reasons To Be Beautiful. Northern Star is a good one. You can really tell Billy Corgan's fingerprints on this album.

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Mon May 15 2023
5

Toppen! Mycket bättre än nirvana?

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Thu Jun 08 2023
5

Just nice hard rock, lovely punk feminist aesthetic.

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Fri Jul 14 2023
5

10/10 god DAMN! I’ve listened to some Hole before but this one really blew me away!

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Fri Aug 11 2023
5

There is a distinct lack of females in this list so far and I'm glad Courtney and her band are here to fix it.

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Wed Sep 06 2023
5

i think i like the more polished sound a little better than live through this. really great album, easily five stars, everything i liked about live through this and a little more.

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Fri Sep 15 2023
5

When I started this I didn’t realize that “Celebrity Skin” is one of those songs that I recall really loving decades ago but whose name or artist had never stuck with me. So I was thrilled to hear this song again, and I love it still! The rest of this album is up to that standard. Fantastic! Now that I’ve loved the albums Live Through This and Celebrity Skin, I guess I should dispel those lingering feelings of doubt when I think about listening to Hole.

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Fri Sep 15 2023
5

I did not think I would enjoy Hole. Don't know why. Loved rocking out to this record.

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Fri Nov 24 2023
5

Un muy buen disco de post-grunge de la mano de la musa más grande de Kurt Cobain. El trabajo, sumamente pegajoso, no teme mezclar el rock, el pop y los sonidos más pesados para construir quizá uno de los álbumes más sólidos de los '90s, que probablemente influenció el sonido de las guitarras femeninas en el rock.

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Mon Dec 11 2023
5

Love the sound, love the energy, love the voice and the writing.

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Thu Dec 21 2023
5

A record that surpasses the grunge boundaries. Sounds fresh and direct.

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

Tell you what, finding out that I like Hole was one of the more painful moments of my life. (Phrasing). Favorite track: Heaven Tonight

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Sun Jan 21 2024
5

Definitely has that 90s sound.

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Sat Jan 27 2024
5

Нормально, могло быть и лучше

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Fri Mar 08 2024
5

I adore this album. When I first listened to it, though, I thought Live Through This was better. I was wrong! This album is basically if Live Through This was more polished, and I respect the artistic decisions to do that. Billy Corgan wrote some of the album’s songs, and it’s pretty cool to see all of them be good songs. That’s why I think this album deserves a 95.8%, or a 4.79/5. Fav: Boys on the Radio Least Fav: None

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Thu Mar 14 2024
5

A wonderful album that I really enjoyed when it came out, and still do today.

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Wed Mar 20 2024
5

Smashing album, I had never really listened to much of Hole but Courtney Love is so much more than the paramour of Kurt Cobain. Fun and feisty, yes!

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Tue Jul 06 2021
4

Not quite Live Through This, but it's really quite good. I respect the ability of Love and company to read the room and do a tasteful pivot from grunge to late-90s alt rock in a way that maintains an edge. Some great hooks here too. Nice!

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Thu Feb 18 2021
4

This album starts off real strong with "Celebrity Skin" and "Awful". It meanders just a bit imo into that 90s grungy sound, and then hits back hard with "Northern Star" and "Boys on the Radio". I'm overall pleasantly surprised, I did not expect to enjoy Hole, thinking they were just another 90s grunge band.

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Wed May 19 2021
4

Fun! Very 90s, could be on a teen movie soundtrack.

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Wed May 19 2021
4

Enjoyable, late 90's power-pop with grungey guitars and memorable hooks. I didn't pay much attention to it back in the day, but I might do it now.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

Ruhiger als die Vorgänger; melodisch; schön zum Laufen lassen

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