Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bands I Love + Happy Anniversary: Nirvana

On September 24th, 2011, Nirvana's seminal album, Nevermind had it's 20th anniversary! It's truly my favorite album of all time, so I'm loving the fact that everyone is making a big hullabaloo over it. In case you didn't know, I have a portrait tattoo of Kurt Cobain (the lead singer of Nirvana) on my inner left arm. To say I'm a fan is kind of the understatement of all time. Do Mexicans love salsa? Yeah, that's how I feel about Nirvana. Well... and salsa. I love them both. Equally.

Nirvana is quintessential listening to anyone who cares about contemporary rock music. Their influence is so far reaching, I think we all probably underestimate it, still. They unwittingly brought grunge music to the masses, causing a lasting effect on rock music eternally. Without Nirvana, we wouldn't have The Gaslight Anthem, Brand New, Kings of Leon or, most importantly, The Foo Fighters. They are (to me) the defining artist of the 90s and a classic example of good music rising to the top. I could literally talk about Kurt Cobain until the end of time. I find him to be one of the most fascinating people. He's what I believe to be a natural born artist, destined for something bigger than himself. Kurt's music went on to influence generations upon generations, giving a voice to the voiceless. It's weird to think that we, too, will probably have that person of our generation. It might be Lady Gaga, but who knows. I wish it were Kurt, alas, he died when I was six-years-old. That's strange, isn't it? That I would come to idolize someone who passed away before I even really had a musical identity or taste. But that's the thing about Nirvana- they didn't go away after Kurt died. And they still haven't gone away. And they won't go away anytime soon. Nirvana is a band I will listen to when I'm 90-years-old, because their music is that transcendent to me. I haven't met many people who don't like Nirvana, probably because most people would be afraid to admit it around me, given my die-hard fan status. I did meet someone once who just legit HATED Nirvana. I kind of shut down and died a little bit on the inside. I can't help it- I want everyone to love the things I love. Nirvana probably being #1 on that list. (Other contenders for #1 being My Little Pony, Mexican food, and Diet Coke.) The cosmic union of Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic brought us once in a lifetime music that really changed the entire game of punk rock and rock 'n' roll.

I guess at the end of the day, I never really could explain to anyone why I love Nirvana. I won't be able to convey it to you here. It has something to do with the teenage idea that they were there for me through everything. That's such a childish thing to say, but it rings true. Their lyrics always explained everything. And simultaneously, they explained nothing at all. Which I love. You can either choose to read into them or not, however Kurt was insistent on the fact that the lyrics meant nothing. Their MTV Unplugged soothes me to sleep. Bleach helps me let out my frustrations with life. And Nevermind... well that's just the most perfect record ever written. From start to finish, it takes such a beautiful journey. I love everything Nirvana ever released- from Bleach to In Utero, all the live albums and EPs. That's the great thing about a band that had such a short career- no time to release any shitty albums or have a "21st Century Breakdown" phase.  20 years later and their music still holds up. That's no small accomplishment.

If you're feeling like joining in on the anniversary loving, head over to Kevin Devine's website to download his interpretation of Nevermind. I have to say, it's actually quite genius. His vocals don't at all attempt to imitate Kurt's, which is exactly why it works. Kevin has such a distinct voice, it stands on its own against the music, just as Kurt's did, but in a completely different way. I love two of my favorites meshing in such a beautiful way.

For an intro to Nirvana, for those of you who are grunge virgins, check out these amazing videos:

If you haven't already seen the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" music video- well then I just don't know what to do with you. Don't tell me. I'll probably cry.

Sometimes I think about the fact that I'll never see Nirvana live and I get, like, really sad. Not normal sad. Like- SAD sad. Like 3-year-old girl crying over Justin Bieber sad. But I'm totally way cuter. Obvi. I guess it's okay though. They wouldn't mean the same to me if they were still around. At least we still have The Foo.


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