Lauren Ash: In order to properly answer this question, I have to start by giving a shout-out to my favorite band of all time: a Canadian band called Age of Electric. I discovered them when I was quite young and up past my bedtime watching music videos on MuchMusic (Canada’s MTV).
The song “Ugly” grabbed me in a way that I had never experienced before. I remember this being the moment I felt a shift in my musical sensibilities. I bought their self-titled album on cassette as soon as I had saved up enough allowance money and I must have listened to it 5000 times. Melodic, interesting, lyrically unique, heavy at times, it ultimately piqued my interest in rock music. It was time for me to put my New Kids on the Block tapes in a box and begin my brand new journey into discovering this new, exciting style of music.
Ultimately, this is what lead me to me finding the album that I have to choose as my favorite, the album that truly changed me, Hole’s Live Through This.
Live Through This was the first CD I ever bought which in retrospect is ironic because while I had just been afforded the technology that would allow me to skip past songs, I never skipped when listening to this album… Ever. I was floored by the record top to bottom. I had never heard a woman sing like that before.
The rawness on tracks like “Plump”, “Gutless”, and “She Walks On Me” juxtaposed with the melancholic “Doll Parts” and the harmonic and heartbreaking “Softer Softness”, takes the listener on a journey through the tricky and ultimately relatable human experience of the realization that multiple intense emotions can exist within us at the same time.
Live Through This viscerally moved me. It made me feel simultaneously angry, sad, uncomfortable, inspired and empowered. It was the first time I had heard a female singer be so honest about topics that would, at that time, not be spoken about in public. Trauma, abuse, misogyny, eating disorders, sexual assault, gender roles, these were themes that were as aggressive as the band’s sound.
Ultimately, Live Through This made me want to make music. And now, almost 30 years later, I have finally released my first official single! This is the reason why I have been covering “Violet” at my live shows and likely always will.
Lauren Ash Lives Through This: Lauren Ash’s single “Now I Know” is out now.
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