Awful (song)

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"Awful"
Single by Hole
from the album Celebrity Skin
Released April 1999 (1999-04)
Format CD single
Recorded 1997 (1997)
Genre Alternative rock, power pop
Length 3:29
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Hole
Producer(s) Michael Beinhorn
Hole singles chronology
"Malibu"
(1998)
"Awful"
(1999)
"Be a Man"
(2000)

"Awful" is the twelfth single, and also third EP, by American alternative rock band Hole, from their third studio album Celebrity Skin. Released in April 1999 by Geffen Records as a CD single, the song's lyrics explore how the media and modern pop culture corrupt young girls and how they should rebel against this. The line "swing low, sweet cherry" in the song is an allusion to the African American spiritual hymn, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot".

Background and history[edit]

Described as "funny" but also "kind of sad" by the writer herself, vocalist and guitarist Courtney Love has proclaimed that this is one of the favorite songs she has written. Writing the lyrics offered her a backwards glimpse at the angry, determined youth she once was but with the sobering experience of her adult years.[citation needed] The words were written before the music and were initially more than two pages long. At the time, they included "we are always on the list, we have always wanted this, finally we're popular, finally we're pretty." Courtney condensed the tome into the finished format to give the song a more suitable length.[citation needed]

The opening riff, which carries throughout the song, and the rhythm were written by bassist Melissa Auf der Maur and drummer Patty Schemel, who were roommates at the time. Although credited for authorship, Schemel left during the recording sessions due to personal issues and does not drum on the track, something Love laments.[citation needed] While Love has revealed only that she wishes Schemel's great rhythm was still on the track, Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson implied that Celebrity Skin producer Michael Beinhorn drove Schemel to a nervous breakdown.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

Single[edit]

UK CD single #1 INTDE-97098[1]

  1. Awful (Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson, Melissa Auf der Maur, Patty Schemel)
  2. Miss World (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson)
  • This version also includes a CD-ROM enhanced version of the promotional video for "Celebrity Skin."

UK CD single #2 INTDE-97099

  1. Awful (C. Love, E. Erlandson, M. Auf der Maur, P. Schemel)
  2. She Walks On Me (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson)
  • This version also includes a CD-ROM enhanced version of the promotional video for "Malibu."

European CD single IND-97060

  1. Awful (C. Love, E. Erlandson, M. Auf der Maur, P. Schemel)
  2. Violet (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson)

US promotional single

  1. Awful (C. Love, E. Erlandson, M. Auf der Maur, P. Schemel)
  2. Violet (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson)
  • The live tracks on all singles were recorded at Melbourne's Big Day Out festival on January 26, 1999.

EP[edit]

Australian 'Tour Souvenir EP' INTDM-97058

  1. Awful (C. Love, E. Erlandson, M. Auf der Maur, P. Schemel) - 3:29
  2. Pretty On The Inside (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson, Jill Emery, Caroline Rue) - 1:44
  3. Heaven Tonight (live) (E. Erlandson, C. Love) - 3:58
  4. Northern Star (live) (E. Erlandson, C. Love) - 5:52
  5. Awful (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson, M. Auf der Maur, P. Schemel) - 3:24
  6. Malibu (Ted Ottaviano Club Mix) (C. Love, E. Erlandson, B. Corgan) - 7:32

Japanese EP MVCF-14001

  1. Awful (C. Love, E. Erlandson, M. Auf der Maur, P. Schemel) - 3:29
  2. Pretty On The Inside (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson, Jill Emery, Caroline Rue) - 1:44
  3. Heaven Tonight (live) (E. Erlandson, C. Love) - 3:58
  4. Northern Star (live) (E. Erlandson, C. Love) - 5:52
  5. Awful (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson, M. Auf der Maur, P. Schemel) - 3:24
  6. Celebrity Skin (live) (C. Love, E. Erlandson, B. Corgan) - 2:42

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Awful" was directed by Jeff Richter and features clips from various live shows during the band's 1999 tours. Most of the footage is from the band's performance at the Royal Australian Showgrounds on January 23, 1999 for the Big Day Out festival and features the album version synced over the live performance. Other clips include the band's performance at Cow Palace in March 1999 and backstage footage shot by Melissa Auf der Maur.

Charts positions[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
US Modern Rock Tracks 13
UK Singles Chart 42
ARIA Charts 44

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Petterson, Therese. * d i s c o g r a p h y * http://vintagestars.com/river/DiscographyAwful.html Retrieved on April 12, 2010.