1. Burn Black
This may seem a contrary choice for my top Hole song, but I assure you it’s not just for the sake of it. To me, this song has all the elements that make a Hole song great – it’s sludgy and gnarly but really pretty and melodic, a bit goth but with a sheen of sparkly pop. The classic Courtney lyrical themes are all there in full magnificence – including possibly my favourite lyric of all time: ‘Starts off with magic, some sick religion/That ain’t no vulture, that’s a fuckin’ pigeon!’.
2. Doll Parts
The first Hole song I ever heard – on The Box, remember that? – and it’s not an exaggeration to say it changed my life. I ran straight out and bought the single, then the album, and listened to nothing else for months – at twelve, my taste in music, clothes and general aesthetic were basically cemented forevermore. I am wearing a Peter Pan collar and ratty vintage cardigan as I write this, no joke.
3. Northern Star
Quite simply, there are few better songs for screaming with your best friend and a lot to drink at four in the morning – and I have lost count of how many times Lou, Ali and I have done exactly this. ‘Oh YEAH, and blessed are the broken and I beg you/No loneliness, no misery is worth you – I’ll tear his heart out, it’s cold as ice, IT’S MINE’.
This song goes with the one above in my mind, always – its quieter, sadder little sister. I feel like I once listened to nothing but the two of them on repeat for about five years. ‘And now I know that love is dead/They’ve come to bury me – there’s nothing left here to pretend ANYTHING. Remember, you promised me, I’m dying, I’m dying, please…’
A far happier moment from Celebrity Skin, which will always remind me of dancing with Neil at Heaven on a Monday night, when drinks were a pound and music was all great. Swing low, sweet cherry…
6. Almost Golden
Courtney’s solo album was really unfairly slated – even by the lady herself, who still likes to call it ‘that piece of shit I made in the south of France’. I disagree – I still love that record, patchy as it is, and think this song in particular is right up there with her best.
7. Skinny Little Bitch
Don’t get me started on the new Hole line-up – Micko out of Larrikin Love is no substitute for Eric, pretty-ish as he may be. But this is the highlight of the last record – Courtney at her least kooky and most efficient.
8. Gold Dust Woman
Yeah, this is a cover – but Courtney’s love of Fleetwood Mac is such a key element to her own music that this is like perfect symmetry. I think in many ways this is better than the original, and it was on the soundtrack album to The Crow: City of Angels, which I was weirdly obsessed with at fifteen.
9. Asking For It
I thought long and hard about my second-favourite LTT song and decided that it had to be this one – the sick babydoll schtick to the forefront, and some heartbreaking lyrics. Written just before her husband’s suicide left her alone with a two-year-old daughter, if you can listen to the desperation of her pleading ‘if you can live through this with me, I swear that I will die for you’ without welling up, then I don’t want to be friends with you. As Courtney herself says, ‘I’m not psychic but my lyrics are.’
10. Good Sister/Bad Sister
I had to have something from Pretty On The Inside, and this for me sums up that record – you can listen to this song and feel the force of what was to come.