Teenage Whore

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"Teenage Whore"
Official 12" single cover art
Single by Hole
from the album Pretty on the Inside
B-side "Drown Soda" (CD, 7", 12")
"Burn Black" (CD, 12")
Released August 1991 (1991-08) (US), September 23, 1991 (1991-09-23) (UK)[1][2]
Format CD single, 12", 7"
Recorded March 1991 (1991-03) at Music Box Studios in Los Angeles, California
Genre Noise rock, hardcore punk, grunge
Length 02:59
Label City Slang
Writer(s) Jill Emery, Eric Erlandson, Caroline Rue, Courtney Love
Producer(s) Kim Gordon, Don Fleming
Hole singles chronology
"Teenage Whore"
"Beautiful Son"

"Teenage Whore" is a song by American alternative rock band Hole. It is the first track on the band's debut studio album, Pretty on the Inside (1991), and was released as a single in the UK on the European label, City Slang in September 1991. Recorded in March 1991 during the studio sessions for Pretty on the Inside, the track featured production by Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Gumball frontman Don Fleming. The single was especially popular in the United Kingdom upon its release, peaking at #1 on the UK Indie Chart in September 1991.[1][3] The song later appeared on the soundtrack of the 1994 film S.F.W..[4]

"Teenage Whore" was the first Hole release to be available on compact disc; their previous singles had been released solely on vinyl.[5]


"Teenage Whore" was written by bassist Jill Emery, lead guitarist Eric Erlandson, drummer Caroline Rue and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Courtney Love in 1991 and was one of the first songs written by Hole's second line up, featuring Emery, after the departure of original bassist Lisa Roberts and additional guitarists Mike Geisbrecht and Errol Stewart.[6]

It was recorded over a period of four days in March 1991 during sessions for Pretty on the Inside at Music Box Studios in Los Angeles. It was produced by Sonic Youth musician Kim Gordon and Gumball frontman Don Fleming.[citation needed]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

The musical composition of "Teenage Whore" follows the status quo of Pretty on the Inside, which is most often noted for its extreme abrasiveness,[7] though it is also noted for its sophisticated use of melodic structure which is buried under arrangements. Spin addressed this, saying: "at first [the song] comes across like a ranting noisy rage, but underneath is a surprisingly lush melody."[8] The song's main verse riff follows an E-G-F chord progression, with the bridge composed of a layering of diminished fifths and muted strings.[9]

As with the majority of the band's songs, the lyrics to "Teenage Whore" were written by Love, and deal with a negative self image and real or imagined perception of oneself as a "whore", which is reinforced by the narrator's mother.[10]

Release and reception[edit]

"Teenage Whore" was issued as a single through Hole's European label, City Slang, in August 1991 to promote Pretty on the Inside, and entered the UK Indie Chart at number 1 in September.[1] It was available on 7" vinyl on pink, clear and transparent green vinyls, with "Drown Soda" as a b-side, and on 12" vinyl and compact disc with "Drown Soda" and "Burn Black" as b-sides. This marked the band's first CD release, as all of their prior singles had been released solely on vinyl.[citation needed] "Burn Black" had previously been issued as a b-side on the band's previous single, "Dicknail", which had been released on Sub Pop Records in March 1991, when the band began recording Pretty on the Inside. On The Chart Show, the song's title was censored, with the word "whore" being replaced with dots.[1]

Music columnist Everett True referred to "Teenage Whore" as "the most unsettling thing I've heard since Patti Smith uncovered "Piss Factory" ... only it's way more personal."[11]

The song was later featured on the official soundtrack of the film S.F.W. (1994).[4]

Track listing[edit]

7" single (04070-40)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Teenage Whore"   Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson, Jill Emery, Caroline Rue 2:59
2. "Drown Soda"   C. Love, E. Erlandson 4:52
Total length:
12" and CD single (SLANG 011/013)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Teenage Whore"   C. Love, E. Erlandson, J. Emery, C. Rue 2:59
2. "Drown Soda"   C. Love, E. Erlandson 4:52
3. "Burn Black"   C. Love, E. Erlandson, J. Emery, C. Rue 4:56
Total length:

Musicians and personnel[edit]

Technical personnel
Recording locations [12]
  • "Teenage Whore" recorded at Music Box Studios in Hollywood, California
  • "Drown Soda" recorded at Fun City Studio in New York City, New York
  • "Burn Black" recorded at Radio Tokyo in Los Angeles, California

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1991) Peak
UK Indie Chart[1] 1


  1. ^ a b c d e "Indie Charts: September 28, 1991". The ITV Chart Show. 1991-09-28. Channel 4.  Video on YouTube
  2. ^ The single debuted at number one on the UK Indie Chart on September 28, 1991; the charts are run on a weekly basis, placing the release of the CD single in the United Kingdom on September 23, 1991.
  3. ^ "Hole". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  4. ^ a b "S.F.W. - Original Soundtrack". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  5. ^ Hole's previous two singles were issued only on 7" 45 RPM records— "Retard Girl" through Sympathy for the Record Industry (SFTRI 53), and "Dicknail" through Sub Pop (SP093).
  6. ^ ‹See Tfm› Love, Courtney (1995). "Flipside Interview from issue #68, September/October 1990". The First Session (Media notes). Hole. Sympathy for the Record Industry, Flipside Magazine. 
  7. ^ Love, Courtney (January 1991). "Spotlight: Hole". Much Music (Canada). It's a lot of violent stuff on top, but there's a lot of melody underneath it. You know, we made this record, and all of a sudden people are like, "It's so extreme, it's so violent", but we didn't really know. We just thought we were making a pop record with an edge... we live in LA, the metal capital, so there's really nobody that relates to us. 
  8. ^ Von Furth, Daisy (October 1991). "Hole Lotta Love". Spin (Oct. 1991). p. 32. 
  9. ^ Whiteley, Sheila (2000-09-01). Women and Popular Music: Sexuality, Identity and Subjectivity. ISBN 978-0415211901. 
  10. ^ Ditmore, Melissa Hope, ed. (2006-08-30). Encyclopedia of prostitution and sex work: A-N. Vol. 1. Greenwood. p. 410. ISBN 978-0313329685. 
  11. ^ Everett True (2 Feb 2002). "the+most+unsettling+thing+I've+heard+since+Patti+Smith+uncovered+"Piss+Factory"+and+then+fucked+off+to+become+a+middle-aged+housewife,+only+it's+way+more+personal." Live Through This. Virgin. p. 229. 
  12. ^ Liner notes from the 1991 City Slang Teenage Whore single (SLANG 011/013) list the following recording locations on the back cover sleeve.