Friday Song: Nirvana

I remember that week in 1992 when it felt like suddenly everybody was listening to a new song called “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by band called “Nirvana.” I’ve still never seen a musical phenom burst like that in my life and it was clear why. The jagged thudding song was the end of the romantic pop 80’s and the start of the grunge 90’s. Generation X had arrived. I didn’t like the song much and the first time I heard it, I said to my incredulous friends, “This is suicide music.” Yes, I was not a Nirvana fan. I have rage and sadness in me, but not that kind. I liked melodic melancholia, not nihilist despair. I was sad for Kurt Cobain and his pain, but the music was simply too depressing. It wasn’t until their MTV Unplugged show in 1993 that I came to appreciate their unique sound more, and the low-key acoustic setting gave more form and shape to the songs that I heard before. I particularly dug this version of “Royal Tea” and think the whole show is one of the best live performances in rock history. RIP Kurt.


8 Responses to “Friday Song: Nirvana”

  1. come, dowsed in mud
    soaked in bleach
    as i want you to be
    as a trend
    as a friend
    as an old memory…

    and i swear that i don’t have a gun,
    no, i don’t have a gun…

    aw, rest in peace kurt

  2. Yeah, I love this entire unplugged concert and the fact that Kurt refused to play many of their big hits which must’ve pissed off the suits at MTV. heh.

  3. you just needed more jaegermeister that weekend that ‘smells like teen spirit’ was released!

  4. Aussie Boy Says:

    Yes, the suits were disappointed Cobain didn’t do Smells Like Teen Spirit Unplugged, but at the same time they were thrilled he went on at all that night. Up until he received a last-minute delivery of heroin, he was too dope-sick to perform and the show was about to be cancelled. But the drugs arrived, he got well, and he gave one of his finest live performances. Later that evening he asked me how he did compared to the Roseland show two weeks earlier. I told him he had sucked at Roseland but he was brilliant tonight. He started to cry. I thought to myself, “What have I done? I just insulted Kurt Cobain and made him cry.” That wasn’t it though. He explained that no one had said a critical word to him since he’d become a rock star. He was surrounded by sycophants. He was crying because I had had the audacity to tell him the truth.

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