Softer, Softest

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"Softer, Softest"
Single by Hole
from the album Live Through This
B-side "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)"
Released December 1995 (1995-12)
Format CD single, cassette
Recorded October 1993 (1993-10) at Triclops Studios in Atlanta, Georgia
Genre Alternative rock, grunge
Length 3:27
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson
Producer(s) Paul Q. Kolderie, Sean Slade
Hole singles chronology
Violet
(1995)
"Softer, Softest"
(1995)
Gold Dust Woman
(1996)

"Softer, Softest" 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 eighth single and fourth and final single from their second studio album, Live Through This, in December 1995. The single was released just as the band finished their extensive touring in 1995.

Origin and recording[edit]

Erlandson and Love are known to have written "Softer, Softest" as early as December 1991 at which time it was performed live during the band's tour of the United Kingdom in winter 1991.[1] Originally known as "Pee Girl", the song developed into its final form in early 1993 when the name "Softer, Softest" was being used.

The first known studio version of "Softer, Softest" was recorded on January 21, 1993 at BMG Ariola Ltda in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Featuring Love on lead guitar and vocals, recently-recruited drummer Patty Schemel and Love's husband Kurt Cobain of Nirvana on bass, the trio recorded the song, alongside "I Think That I Would Die" (then known as "Baby") "She Walks On Me", "Miss World" and "Closing Time", during breaks in Nirvana's session. Sound engineer Craig Montgomery stated that the songs were "half-baked ideas."[2] Two more structured versions were recorded on March 27, 1993 with BBC DJ Mark Goodier. In October 1993, the band recorded the album version of the song as part of the Live Through This sessions at Triclops Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, where Cobain contributed background vocals towards the end of the song. Speaking of Cobain's involvement, Love has said "there are harmonies all over Live Through This that are Kurt's... you can hear him on 'Pee Girl.'"[3] Despite his involvement, Cobain was not noted as a performer neither on the album nor the single.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

During Hole's performance on MTV Unplugged on Valentine's Day 1995, Love introduced the song as "[being] about the girl that always smelled like pee in your class" and also claimed it was autobiographical and not about former MTV producer, Tabatha Soren. The recurrent theme of self-image is conveyed again (like in "Miss World"), however there are also references that allude Love's husband, Kurt Cobain, most obvious is the constant use of the term "milk."

Despite being credited on record as a collective authorship by all members of Hole, according to Broadcast Music Incorporated's website, the authors of the song are only Eric Erlandson and Courtney Love.[4]

Music video[edit]

A promotional music video was never recorded for "Softer, Softest", however, the version of the song performed at MTV Unplugged in 1995 was used a music video though it did not receive a lot of airplay. Recorded by John Harris and directed by Milton Lage, the performance also featured guest musicians Ralph Carney on cello, Zeena Parkins on harp and Erik Friedlander on oboe.[5]

Track listing[edit]

Australian CD single[6]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Softer, Softest"   Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson 3:27
2. "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)"   Carole King, Gerry Goffin 4:23
3. "Miss World" (live) C. Love, E. Erlandson 3:06
4. "Teenage Whore" (live) C. Love, E. Erlandson, Jill Emery, Caroline Rue 2:45
5. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (live) Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor 1:55
Total length:
19:21
Dutch CD single
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Softer, Softest"   C. Love, E. Erlandson 3:27
2. "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)"   C. King, G. Goffin 3:45
Total length:
7:12
US promo CD
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Softer, Softest"   C. Love, E. Erlandson 3:27
2. "Softer, Softest" (live, MTV Unplugged) C. Love, E. Erlandson 3:45
Total length:
7:12

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1995) Peak position
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[7] 32

Musicians and personnel[edit]

Hole
Guest musician
Technical personnel

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Holelive.com - The Ultimate Hole Trading Community". Holelive.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ "LiveNIRVANA.com Sessions History: Studio Sessions (January 19–21, 1993. Studio B, BMG Ariola Ltda., Rio de Janeiro, BR)". LiveNIRVANA.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ Brite, Poppy Z. (1997). Courtney Love: The Real Story. Orion, London. ISBN 0-7528-1559-8. 
  4. ^ "BMI Repertoire Search, BMI.com". BMI. Retrieved April 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ "MTV Unplugged: Hole Episode Summary on TV.com". TV.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Hole (2) - Softer, Softest (CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Softer, Softest - Hole". Billboard.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010.