In Darjeeling during the mid-2000s, Nirvana’s music may not have been popular, but the image of its left-handed front-man who supposedly committed suicide sure was. I heard a few songs like ‘Come As You Are’ and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, but the one that got me was ‘Heart Shaped Box’. With its creepy lyrics and even more creepy video. Another unsettling song was their performance of ‘Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam’ on MTV Unplugged. During the early 2010s when I was busy exploring the music of the 70s and 60s, I neglected Nirvana, but after a few years the music of Nirvana has come back to haunt me.
Nirvana was formed in 1987 in Seattle, USA. They were one of the main creators of the Grunge Rock subgenre that took mainstream music by storm in the early 90s. During the 80s mainstream music was filled with dance-able pop music (Michael Jackson, Madonna, etc.) and Glam/Hair Metal bands from L.A. (Poison, Guns N Roses, etc.). These artists were represented by excesses of money, which were heavily shown and promoted heavily in their videos, album covers. Their music was also laden with polished industry standards techniques. Amidst all these, entered Nirvana, with their unique mix of Black Sabbath meets Punk Rock meets Celtic Frost meets The Beatles. The music was dirty, straight on your face, and was complemented with an equally repelling image. Unlike the 80s stars, Nirvana dressed in rags, old and dirty clothes. Their first album Bleach was a loud album that was not mixed and produced according to the industry standards.
The songwriter Kurt Cobain has a way of piercing hearts with his very poignant lyrics. I’ve heard many people say that Nirvana is over-rated. Well I’ll just say to them, pay attention to the lyrics. And it wouldn’t be enough if the lyrics weren’t well delivered. The way with which Kurt either whispers or screams these lyrics, they are just gonna haunt you every time you listen to them. The pain in his voice is real. The life-story of Kurt is also very poignant. How a homeless boy who worked odd jobs like sweeping the floors of the school that he just dropped out of, went on to become an unwilling icon of a generation. And how the dream turned sour and eventually led to his suicide. (or was it a murder..?)
The poignancy is felt whenever Krist Novoselic, Nirvana’s bass player & Kurt’s childhood friend reminisces about Kurt during interviews.
- Bleach (1989)
- Nevermind (1991)
- In Utero (1993)
- MTV Unplugged In New York (Live Album) (1994)
- Blew, School, Love Buzz, Paper Cuts, Negative Creep (1989- Bleach, actually the whole album)
- Smells Like Teen Spirit, Something In The Way (1991- Nevermind)
- Heart Shaped Box, Rape Me (1993- In Utero)
- Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam, Dumb, Polly, Where Did You Sleep Last Night (1994- MTV Unplugged In New York)
Other Bands To Check Out:
Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Hole, The Pixies, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, Celtic Frost, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Clash
I do not own the copyrights to the image used. Got it straight from google. Since I am not commercializing this article (at least not yet), I’m guessing no one will want to sue me.