Miss World (song)

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"Miss World"
Single by Hole
from the album Live Through This
B-side "Rock Star" (alt. mix) (CD, EU 7")
"Do It Clean" (EU 7")
"Over the Edge" (US 7")
Released March 28, 1994 (1994-03-28)
Format CD, 7"
Recorded October 1993 (1993-10) at Triclops Sound Studios in Marietta, Georgia
Genre Alternative rock
Length 2:58
Label Tim/Kerr (US)
City Slang (UK)
Writer(s) Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson
Producer(s) Paul Q. Kolderie, Sean Slade
Hole singles chronology
"Beautiful Son"
(1993)
"Miss World"
(1994)
"Doll Parts"
(1994)

"Miss World" is a song by American alternative rock band Hole, written by frontwoman Courtney Love and lead guitarist Eric Erlandson. The song was released as the band's fifth single and the first from their second studio album, Live Through This, in March 1994. The single was released in the United States on Tim/Kerr records, an independent label in Portland, Oregon, on a 7" Pink vinyl, as well as a limited edition picture disc pressing paired with the band's cover of "Over the Edge" by the Wipers. City Slang released CD and vinyl versions of the single in Europe, both with "Rock Star" (Alternate Mix) as a B-side. A music video for the song was directed by Sophie Muller in March 1994 and released in promotion with the single.

Origin and recording[edit]

Erlandson and Love wrote "Miss World" in summer 1992 after the departure of former band members Jill Emery and Caroline Rue. An early version of the song, recorded with drummer Patty Schemel and Love's husband and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, was recorded in BMG Ariola Ltda in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on January 21, 1993. Featuring Love on lead guitar and vocals, recently-recruited drummer Patty Schemel and Cobain on bass, the trio recorded the song, alongside others such as "She Walks On Me", "Softer, Softest" and "Closing Time", during breaks in Nirvana's session. Sound engineer Craig Montgomery stated that though some songs were "half-baked ideas", "'Miss World' was a fairly complete song at that point" and "'the most fleshed out song' of the session."[1]

The band played the song live on July 15 and 16, 1993 during their performances at the Clapham Grand in London and at the Phoenix Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon, respectively.[2][3] The official album version of the song was recorded as part of the Live Through This sessions at Triclops Studios in Atlanta, Georgia in October of that year.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Miss World" is known to deal with themes of self-image and substance abuse. Speaking of the song, reviewer Tim Grierson stated that "'Miss World' ties a deceptively candy-coated melody to a sad tale of drug abuse and distorted body image as Love hits upon a familiar theme of the album: the dichotomy of how ugly you feel on the inside while trying to appear beautiful to others."[4]

The lyrics expand on the main theme of self-image with the opening lines containing "I am the girl you know, so sick I cannot try" and later lyrics relating to suffering. The use of the term "kill me pills" is inspired by, and also a reference to, Anne Sexton, who, after overdosing on barbiturates and pentobarbital called the drugs "kill me pills."[5] Bassist Kristen Pfaff had a minor input in the lyrical composition contributing the chorus lines "I made my bed, I'll lie in it / I made my bed, I'll die in it" from a song, "Limited Edition," she had written earlier in her career with Janitor Joe.

On both Live Through This and the individual single, the song is credited on record as written by Hole as a band, however according to BMI's website, the official authors are Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson.[6]

Love's character in the video is almost identical to the character portrayed on the front artwork for Live Through This. Self-image is a major theme of the album and "Miss World" especially.

The European single version of the song had b-sides featuring an alternative mix of "Rock Star" (mislabeled from the original title of the song, "Olympia") with multiple vocal tracks from Courtney Love playing simultaneously, giving it a sound reminiscent of cheerleading chants. This version of the song (which is a satire on the riot grrrl movement) has even more satirical lyrics than the album version on Live Through This: "When I went to school in Olympia/And everyone's the same/What do you do with a revolution?/You just forget your name/When I went to school in a fascist state/And everyone's the same/We took punk rock, and we got a grade."

The UK release of the single also featured a live cover of "Do It Clean" by Echo and the Bunnymen, while the US pressing featured a cover of "Over the Edge" by the Wipers.

In later years, the track has been covered by Neverending White Lights musician Daniel Victor, as well as American alternative rock band The Afghan Whigs. The song appeared in an episode of Daria, "The Lawndale File".

Music video[edit]

Prior to the single's release, a promotional music video for "Miss World" was recorded in Los Angeles, California in March 1994. Directed by Sophie Muller, best known later for No Doubt's "Don't Speak" video, the video features the band performing the song at a beauty pageant, in which Love is seen as the title character, Miss World; pampering herself, receiving flowers, being crowned, adored by fans and eventually crying onstage. The video is heavily influenced by the style and decorations of the 1976 film Carrie. During much of The latter image bares striking resemblance to the cover of Live Through This.

Track listing[edit]

EU 7" single (EFA 04936-7)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Miss World"   Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson 2:58
2. "Rock Star1" (alternate mix) C. Love, E. Erlandson 2:33
Total length:
5:31
UK CD single (EFA 04936-2)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Miss World"   C. Love, E. Erlandson 2:58
2. "Rock Star1" (alternate mix) C. Love, E. Erlandson 2:33
3. "Do It Clean2" (live) Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson, Pete de Freitas  
Total length:
6:57
US 7" single (TK947081)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Miss World"   C. Love, E. Erlandson 2:58
2. "Over the Edge"   Greg Sage 2:48
Total length:
5:46
  • 1. "Olympia" is labeled as "Rock Star" to avoid confusion from the album misprint. (See "Olympia"/"Rock Star" note.)
  • 2. "Do It Clean" was recorded live at the Clapham Grand in London, United Kingdom on July 15, 1993.

Personnel[edit]

All personnel credits adapted from Live Through This's liner notes.[7]

Hole
Guest musician
Technical personnel

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[8] 89
UK Singles Chart[9] 64
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[10] 13

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LiveNIRVANA.com Sessions History: January 19–21, 1993 - Studio B, BMG Ariola Ltda., Rio de Janeiro, BR". LiveNIRVANA.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Hole Concert Setlist at Phoenix Festival on July 16, 1993". Setlist.fm. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  3. ^ Anarchy in the UK] (1993) by Hole. [Bootleg]
  4. ^ "Hole Live Through This Review - Review of Hole Album Live Through This". About.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  5. ^ Grumet, Madeleine R. Anne Sexton: Teacher of Weird Abundance (State University of New York Press). p. 2. ISBN 978-0791470985. 
  6. ^ "BMI Repertoire Search". BMI. Retrieved April 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ Live Through This (CD). Hole. Geffen Records. 1994. LC 07266. 
  8. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks – May 23, 1994". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 1, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Hole | Artist | Official Charts". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  10. ^ Live Through This – Hole: Awards at AllMusic. Retrieved July 9, 2012.