My Body, The Hand Grenade

Hole

Caroline Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Hansen Olson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/15/1998

Forget for a moment that Courtney Love is a "star." Forget Kurt. Forget Francis Bean. Forget Larry Flynt. Let's talk about Hole the band as a whole. That's what this compilation package, My Body The Hand Grenade, tries to achieve. So, c'mon, give it a try.

Hole was formed in 1991. After releasing a couple of early singles (included here) and Pretty On the Inside, their critically acclaimed debut album, after losing band members to drug overdose and general attrition, Hole settled down and released a fine sophomore effort in 1994, Live Through Thisnbtc__dv_250 . Written and recorded during the stressed-out final months of Courtney's marriage to Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain, it reflected her efforts at survival and the efforts of her bandmates to keep one another afloat.

According to the liner notes, this album provides the missing link between those first two successes, linking early efforts with "Unplugged" and other live performances. Rarely is a catch-up document so ripe with emotion. Rarely is one so caught up in aural darkness. It is extremely difficult to stay objective. I would guess, either you hate the music and Hole or you love them. I love them. Melissa Auf der Maur, Patty Schemel, Eric Erlandson, and Courtney Love are excellent musicians who provide a much needed energy to such dark topics.

Yes, the darkness can be overwhelming at times. Themes abound that, quite frankly, are foreign to me, the average Joe Schmoe male. Raising two daughters, I find myself cringing at what may await them outside our doors (or what may be ruining them inside our doors!). Betrayal: by friend, lover, body, and society apparently waits around the corner. In "Drown Soda," written about Courtney's falling out with her friend Kat, she screams, "Sit in the corner and drink drown soda, I wanna bomb the whole state of Minnesota." Nice girls don't think about mass annihilation, do they?

But, underneath the bravado is a very real fear of shrinking into nothing. "I am the girl you know, can't look you in the eye," sings "Miss World." "If you live through this with me, I swear that I will die for you," sings the young rape victim in "Asking For It." Indeed. Not only are their bodies hand grenades, ready to turn against them every step of the way, but their entire world is a minefield. Only a witch can survive.

My Body The Hand Grenade may not be comfortable. Several songs, however, are achingly beautiful. The interplay between Eric and Courtney's guitars and Courtney's voice can raise goose bumps. The acoustic numbers (including "Season Of The Witch," written by folkie Donovan) are breathtaking. It may be a dark world, but sometimes the hole can be filled.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1998 Hansen Olson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Caroline Records, and is used for informational purposes only.