33 years ago, during my sophomore year of high school, I put together the first of what would eventually become a nearly 20 volume collection of mix tapes, containing my favorite songs that I had gathered either from the radio, a cassette tape, or (eventually) CD. Today, we revisit those mix tapes for the fourth time and see how, or if, the soundtrack of my youth still resonates in today’s digital world and how much has changed over the past four years.
Courtney Love is certainly one of the more interesting characters to come out of the 90s. She moved to LA in the 80s, hoping for an acting career, but managed just a few bit parts before forming Hole with guitarist Eric Erlandson in 1989. Following the release of their first album, Pretty on the Inside, in 1991, Love briefly dated Billy Corgan and Kurt Cobain. By late 1991, Love and Cobain had re-united and, in February of 1992, the pair were married.
In October of 1993, Hole recorded their second album, Live Through This, which, according to rumors, was heavily ghost-written by Cobain. The album was released on April 12, 1994, just one week following Cobain’s suicide. The album was both a critical, and commercial, success, opening more doors for Love. When not touring, she returned back to Hollywood, getting small roles in Basquiat and Feeling Minnesota before scoring a starring role in The People vs. Larry Flynt.
1998 saw the release of Celebrity Skin, the band’s last album before disbanding in 2002. Love’s former boyfriend Billy Corgan, by now a huge star in his own right, officially has co-writer credit on five of the album’s twelve tracks, including the first two singles. Rumors, again, say he had a much larger part in defining the sound of the album.
Thirty years later, YouTube videos have started calling into question Love’s musical talents. Isolated tracks of her voice and guitar playing during live performances show a dramatic difference from the album versions. How much of Hole’s success was due to Love and how much was due to her romantic relationships? We probably will never know.
What we do know is the Hole appears twice on Volume 17, which picks up in early 1995 and the second semester of my junior year and takes us into early summer. At this point, it is nearly all alternative, with just one hip-hop breakthrough.
Hole – Asking For It
iTunes stats: 21 plays, most recently on 4/22/2021
One of three Hole songs to officially feature a contribution from Kurt Cobain, the latest from Courtney Love and company increased its play total by four after and hasn’t been heard in well over a year.
Cranberries – Twenty One
iTunes stats: 13 plays, most recently on 6/6/2021
The minor hit from the band’s second album more than doubled its number of plays in the last four years.
Veruca Salt – Number One Blind
iTunes stats: 25 plays, most recently on 11/11/2021
The follow up single to Seether added eight new listens, despite not being heard in over a year.
Stone Temple Pilots – Unglued
iTunes stats: 33 plays, most recently on 10/21/2022
Peaking at #16 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart, the track added ten new plays in the last four years.
Pearl Jam – Better Man
iTunes stats: 14 plays, most recently on 11/9/2019
Last heard prior to the global shutdown thanks to the corona virus, the biggest hit from the grunge superstars’ third album, which spent eight weeks at the top of Mainstream Rock chart, added a paltry three listens.
Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night
iTunes stats: 12 plays, most recently on 6/8/2022
The traditional American folk song, recorded for MTV Unplugged and released following the death of lead singer Kurt Cobain, picked up a mere five new listens.
Weezer – No One Else
iTunes stats: 23 plays, most recently on 3/19/2021
Never released as a single but with plenty of radio airplay, Weezer’s latest picked up six new listens over the past four years.
Offspring – What Happened To You?
iTunes stats: 20 plays, most recently on 10/14/2018
Not a single listen for the final offering from Offspring’s debut album, which was never officially released as a single.