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Shane’s Rock Challenge: NIRVANA – 1991 – Nevermind

| 5 April 2014 | Reply

Shane’s Music Challenge: NIRVANA – 1991 – Nevermind

Nirvana - Nevermind cover

How incredible that one raw as fuck record can stir up so many emotions.

On the eve of Kurt Cobain’s tragic, wasteful and – dare I say it (yes I do) – SELFISH death at his own hands, Nevermind still sounds like the dawning of a new age.

To completely understand Nevermind, you have to remember everything that was overblown or horrible about the 80’s: All the new romantic dross, the forever-dated synths and drum machine pop sounds, the silly ‘cucumbers down spandex’ wave of B-grade metal, the aquanet mayhem and self-importance of overproduced hair metal.

The very rawness and rasp of Cobain’s angst was a reaction to all of these things – he was the anti-Axl Rose, hated the overblown nature of what he probably saw as shit theatrical self-indulgence overriding the music.

The very uncommerciality of the music is what made it a success, in exactly the same way that punk exploded as a reaction to the overblown music of the day like Emerson Lake & Palmer, latter day Led Zeppelin and so forth.

To all those who blame Nirvana for the death of hair metal and any glory days they spent there – and there are many – I’m sincerely sorry, but you’re missing the point.

For starters, Nirvana and Guns n’ Roses co-existed, although with considerable friction, for a few years. The record industry were still financing self indulgent records by Poison (Native Tongue) & their ilk in 1993, two years after Nevermind, Pearl Jam’s Ten and Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger, which makes the allegations that Nirvana cleaned the slate ridiculous.

Secondly, it doesn’t take a genius to watch the evolution of hair metal via rock videos of bands like Whitesnake, Poison and so on to see them getting more and more overblown. Like the punk revolt of ‘76/’77, grunge was completely to be expected.

Nevermind itself is stunning, even now. Like Never Mind The Bollocks, it is completely of it’s time, whilst also transcending it. Everything here still resonates today, which – as much as I enjoy them – you cannot say of the first couple of Poison’s albums, or anything by, say, Bulletboys! Nirvana does not Smooth Up In Ya!

Smells Like Teen Spirit, In Bloom, Come As You Are, Breed, Lithium, Polly, Stay Away, On A Plain, Something In The Way – yeah that’s most of the record, but hell, go listen to it if you don’t believe it!

And so, twenty years ago tomorrow, Cobain killed himself. That’s a conversation for another day, and another record review. All I will say is that despite the respect I have for the man’s talent and achievements, I can never respect someone so selfish as to do that – not to himself – but to his child.

RIP Kurt.

By Shane Pinnegar

Category: Shane's Rock Challenge

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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