1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

8

Hole, 'Live Through This'

Hole Live Through This
Courtesy of Geffen Records

Courtney Love became a widow just days before her band Hole released their breakthrough album, giving Live Through This a grueling, ripped-from-the-headlines intensity. Written while her husband Kurt Cobain's life was spinning out of control and recorded by a band mired in drug problems (bassist Kristen Pfaff would overdose in June '94), it still managed to move past the scabrous noise of Hole's 1991 debut Pretty on the Inside with a clear, catchy urgency that made songs like "Miss World," "Doll Parts" and "Violet" instant alt-rock classics. Debate raged about how much Cobain had assisted in Love's amazing transformation as a songwriter (his backing vocals appear on the album, and his influence his everywhere). But this was Love's show and she stormed through it, demanding to be "the girl with the most cake" and eating it too. Jon Dolan

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