(I used to spend a lot of time listening to Hole in this house with my high school BFF.)

Olympia (Alternate Mix) by Hole

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend was trying to figure out what he should give his younger sister for her birthday and he asked me, "What were you listening to when you were seventeen?"

And it was in that moment I realized that the only album I have listened to consistently since I began to develop a taste in music outside of what my parents played in the car was Hole's Live Through This.

It is sort of a weird thing, to realize that one of the only albums I've cared about deeply for the last 10+ years is by a band that my boyfriend refers to as "Girlvana."

So, I tried to explain -- very clumsily -- what it means to me (and to at least one other girl I can think of) to love Live Through This in an unabashed, forever-and-ever sort of way.

I think a lot of it has to do with growing up with low self-esteem and not much money, to sense a difference in yourself so deep and profound that you don't know how to conduct yourself in complicated and overlapping teenage spheres -- to be out of place in the classrooms, the hallways, the cafeterias, the parties, the malls. Some of it probably has to do with knowing what it means to be a victim of sexual and emotional violence. Another part of it is loving art that reflects your struggles and seems to fight your battles for you -- I love Live Through This for many of the same reasons that I love Joyce Carol Oates' Foxfire and envied the older punk rock girls who were sent home for "acting out."

Now, years and years and years later, I find myself awkwardly defending Hole when my boyfriend and I discuss music. Pathetically trying to articulate the power of certain sneered sentiments (particularly Courtney's near-perfect, "Don't you touch me, don't you dare" in "She Walks On Me.")

I love the alternate mix of Olympia for it's clarity -- you can hear every word, every whisper. The first time I heard it, I was finally able to decipher the answer to Courtney's question, "What do you do with a revolution?" ("You just forget your name.")

Olympia (Alternate Mix) by Hole


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