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Aug 13

Hole / Young Marble Giants: “Credit in the Straight World”

Young Marble Giants -- Colossal Youth

There’s a joke in here somewhere about “half” faces and “Hole” covers, but it just isn’t coming to me right now.

There are times when I feel like I haven’t done my job as a lover of music, that I’ve been less than fully attentive and diligent in my duties. Because after all, broadening one’s musical horizons is serious business…

Well, no, it’s not really like that. But nonetheless, I do find myself surprised when I’ve missed something that I feel I should have known more about. Like the Young Marble Giants. Yes, I’d read the name in various writeups over the years and saw their name in a couple of music books I own, but for some reason, they never got through to me to the point that I heard them.

Young Marble Giants (1980) 

Play

Hole (1994) 

Play

But recently I finally came across them, while listening to a Spotify genre radio station, and loved the song I was hearing. So I sought out what turned out to be their one and only full album, 1980’s Colossal Youth. And it’s great. How did I miss it for so long? Its sparseness and unassuming nature influenced numerous bands that followed — and it isn’t hard to understand why: Young Marble Giants were paring down the punk sound as far as it might go and still be understood to be in the same family. They were among the bands that the subgenre label of “post-punk” was created for.

But back to the point: as I was listening to the album, I suddenly heard a song that I knew I had heard before, but it took me a moment to place it: “Credit in the Straight World,” which I knew very well from its cover by Hole on their 1994 album, Live Through This. Courtney Love did such a great job singing it (and the band performing it) as a heavier, louder, Hole-like track, that it never even occurred to me for all those years that it might be a cover. So it was rather shocking to find out the truth. “Shocking” in a very relative sense, of course, but still, I was indeed shocked. I even spent the next couple of days telling anyone I knew who would care (to be honest, my wife Elisabeth, who is also a fan of Live Through This, was actually the only one I could come up with offhand, without actually getting on the phone to spread the word to, say, friends from college, and that seemed as though it might be going somewhat overboard).

And finally, it brought me to this: I realized that “Credit in the Straight World” had to be the next Cover Friday I did. Sure beats trying to make phone calls to all of you. And I’m sure many of you already do know, but no matter: it’s a great song in both of these incarnations, so it’s well worth the post, regardless. Enjoy!

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