Certain Songs #610: Hole – “Asking For It”

Hole / Live Through This Album: Live Through This
Year: 1994

Because he sang backing vocals, “Asking For It” is often cited as “evidence” that Kurt Cobain contributed to a significant amount of Live Through This. Which is such bollocks, even if Live Through This is far more melodic than Pretty on the Inside was.

Look, if you had access to Kurt Cobain while you were writing songs, wouldn’t you get his opinion? Or at the very least, steal some of the tricks you learned from him? I know I sure would.

And without a doubt, “Asking For It” is borrowing some of those tricks, from the dark, ominous opening to the continual juxtaposition of quiet and loud, and of course the repetition to drive home her point about rape culture.

Was she asking for it?
Was she asking nice?
If she was asking for it
Did she ask you twice?

With Eric Erlandson providing guitar hooks, riffs & crunch like the second coming of James Honeyman-Scott, “Asking For It” derives its power from its sense of tension and control. Even the screaming parts are fully in control, like she’s worried about what would happen if she truly lost it.

If you live through this with me
I swear that I would die for you
And if you live through this with me
I swear that I would die for you

When Courtney and Kristen Pfaff (and Kurt, supposedly) (though I can’t hear it) sing the bridge, it’s heartbreaking because it sounds like she’s pretty sure he won’t.

“Asking For It”

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