Courtney Love’s 25 Best Songs

14. “Asking For It” — Hole (Live Through This)

The story behind the rage-filled Live Through This track “Asking For It” is spectacularly traumatizing, but not in the way most commonly thought. “We had just gotten off tour with Mudhoney, and I decided to stage-dive,” Love noted. “I was wearing a dress and I didn’t realize what I was engendering in the audience. It was a huge audience and they were kind of going ape-shit. So I just dove off the stage, and suddenly, it was like my dress was being torn off of me, my underwear was being torn off of me, people were putting their fingers inside of me and grabbing my breasts really hard, screaming things in my ears like ‘pussy-whore-cunt.’ When I got back onstage I was naked. I felt like Karen Finley. But the worst thing of all was that I saw a photograph of it later. Someone took a picture of me right when this was happening, and I had this big smile on my face like I was pretending it wasn’t happening. So later I wrote a song called ‘Asking For It’ based on the whole experience. I can’t compare it to rape because it’s not the same. But in a way it was. I was raped by an audience, figuratively, literally, and yet, was I asking for it?” It remains an anthem against the sexual assault of women, and the bullshit excuses for it our culture has thought up. — Jillian Mapes