Teen Spirit Tread-back


I listened to “Smells like Teen Spirit” today. I have not heard it for 1 1/2 years. It may be a surprise to some because I own both “Nevermind,” and “In Utero.” I simply do not listen to to either of these albums often. They do not depress me. I simply do not listen to these recordings…often.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” was Nirvana’s break-out song. It is also, perhaps, their most popular.  It was a record-topping-hit, soon after its release. The tune is said to have played hit-man. It is said to have assassinated hair metal (hurray! :).) However, The best aspect about the track is the opening, chord pattern. The note progression is instantly recognizable. The song is catchy. It is not, necessarily, a good song – at least upon a lyrical review.

Kurt Cobain is said to have hated the song. I can see why. I do not loathe it. I do say the song is ridiculous. I don’t know what the lyrics even mean. Maybe lyrical downfall of the song was Kurt’s reason for distaste.

I am not sure if he ever stated his reason of disapproval. I think he could have thought people were crazy, when… because of such a song… they issued voice-of-a-generation claims upon him… if these hyperboles were blasted, during his career.

Weird Al famously parodied the song and its corresponding video. His parody contained better lyrics. Granted, most Weird Al parodies contain better lyrics than the song they parody. However, contrasted to the claims made in the Weird Al song, I can hear what they are saying. It does not sound like marbles are in Kurt’s mouth.

The lyrics, however, seem to be a trail-mix of random words bagged together. They do not seem to form a coherent idea or statement. I have tried to analyze the song. I fail. Multiple attempts do not help.

I can understand “Gravities Rainbow.” I can Understand “Ulysses.” I can read, review court cases – thus, do well in legal courses, so I do not think it deals with misunderstanding when analyzing difficult texts. I think and claim it is a nonsense song.

It seems like the lyrics came to Cobain, while on a heroin trip. They could have easily come, while dragging his pen, on the tour bus or at home in his room. I wonder, while ink-staining his notebooks, he thought to himself “Hey! What rhymes with albino?… I know mullato… what is next in line in rhyme?… I know.. mosquito…hmmm?… There has to be another awesome rhymed word…. lets see?… Oh, I know. Libido.”

I am not dismissing Nirvana as a band. I do think they were a little overhyped. Nirvana’s drummer, David Grohl’s band, Foo Fighters is arguably better.

The talent level scored Mr. Cobain fails to register to musical genius – at least judged by me. Mozart definitely miles him – no question raised. There are at least a hundred of American groups with songs much better than Mr. Cobain wrote – both today and in the 90s. I think the core reason they are considered to be one of the top 5 bands of the 90s stems from the legend surrounding Kurt’s death.

I should cut him a little slack, though. He was only 24-27 when he died. How many people are Mozart? I mean really.

Also, Most hard rock/ metal groups do not have masterpiece-level lyricism. It is anger music, though personally, I am more inclined to listen to 60s folk or The Clash, when I am in such a mood.

I know there is the conspiracy alleging Courtney hired someone to go kill Kurt. The theory, like most conspiracies, sounds improbable.

During the timeframe prior to death, He was dealing with hormonal problems, paralleled with a high-probable level divorce with Courtney Love. These events might have caused him to attempt a shot-gun facial. From what I have heard, pre-existing emotional problems can heighten, if faced with the processes and procedures of a rock-star celebrity-lifestyle: rooms of packed audiences screaming at you, during a performance – on hot, halogen-lit stages, hoards of photographers and journalists – photo-flashing, note taking, and video-taping you at each road-stop-point – added to this, nutty fan break-ins backstage. These in conjunction/correlation could have increased his drug-level intake – in Kurt’s case, heroine.

Kurt was a heroin addict. It is said he checked into a clinic before he died. This does not verify 100 percent recovery. Most who check into clinical rehab programs or rehabilitation halfway houses return to their old habits, whether they find religion or not. If you do not deal with the trigger of why you are poisoning your body into oblivion – If you do not deal with the core reasons of your emotional high-wire act – you will not recover.

R.E.M’s Michael Stipe tried to help him out. He wrote the song “Let Me In,” as commentary on is attempted aid moves, near the time of his suicide. The album Michael and his band made containing the track, “Monster” was dedicated to Kurt and had many songs set in the grunge style.

Sadly, Kurt failed to listen to Michael’s advice. Michael probably understood what pain meant. He faced issues Kurt did not have to deal with. Michael was gay. Many in our society do not and sometimes refuse to understand and accept homosexuals. More of the population followed this patterned thinking, during the early 90s. These individuals often think of LGBT’s ( Lesbian, Gay, Transgender), as an abomination to God. The LGBT sector of the United States has faced societal and/ or familial rejection. They have faced beatings. Some have been murdered. Thus, Michael could have taken abuse from those who knew this fact, about his life – both on the road – and/or from those he met growing up.

Kurt may have known what Michael dealt with. However, he still chose to close himself off. He wanted to exit life’s great pageant. He chose the gun. He wanted the lights to go out. He wanted to face oblivion…. total non-existence.

Kurt is not the only rock-star-hero who initiated rock-and-roll-suicide. Joy Division’s Ian Curtis hung himself. His suicide was also in midst of a divorce. Both of Kurt and Ian were front-men. Both of their deaths signaled the end of their bands. Both bands were short-lived, due to self-extermination of their leaders. Both these men died in their early-to-mid-twenties.


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