Monday, November 19, 2007

A Moment of Serendipity

It's weird how the planets align sometime. Just a few days ago I was thinking about the last time I had heard Nirvana. I was one of those college kids who bought into the whole Seattle thing wholesale and for awhile it was rare that you would find me listening to anything other than "Nevermind" or "In Utero". I was into all that Kurt Cobain had to say and found his music and lyrics to be oddly comforting at a time in my life when I was very awkward. College was not the wondrous experience for me that it is for most (honestly I enjoyed High School a lot more than college). What I did find solace in throughout college was music, and Nirvana in particular.

So I was flipping around TV the other day and I ran across a VH1 Classic re-airing of the Nirvana Unplugged along with a documentary on the making of Nevermind. This was after a short stop on MTV a few day earlier for a live version of "Drain You." Then today I was checking out my usual blogs when I Guess I'm Floating mentions a coin flip contest for copies of "Bleach" and "In Utero". It's just plain weird. Its as if the universe is giving me some sort of cosmic nudge back to something beloved and familiar that I had forgotten.

In fact, I have shied away from any Nirvana posts mostly due to the fact that anything written about the band is cliche. We all know the story and for many of us, there is a deep personal connection to the music. Obviously the myth of Kurt Cobain, like all those that die early in their career, has overtaken the actual material to the point where his legend is greater than anything he ever played. But in revisiting the band's work it is still clear that there was a lot more going on with these guys then just a simple rock band. (BTW, who would have guessed that Dave Grohl would go on to front his own great band. Back then he was just the drummer!) Cobain had a unique way, as is the case with a lot of great tragic poets, to expose his pain and anguish in a way that was relatable and understandable. His phrasing was often very simple and his sense of clarity was downright shocking in some cases. That pain was often embellished by the sheer force of the music and the rage that came with every guitar chord and drum beat. Nirvana didn't just play music, they reached into their very souls for the sheer release of emotion. It's what made them a great band. It's too bad we don't see that kind of passion in music anymore...

Just a couple of my favorites for you.

Nirvana -- Breed (Live) (from From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah)

Nirvana -- Smells Like Teen Spirit (Live) (from From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah)
I challenge anyone to not get goose bumps when this song starts. Even now it still is a great, classic rock song.

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