“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” –Kurt Cobain
Back in the early 1990s, not only a new sound, but also a new attitude emerged in Rock ‘n’ Roll. One that was dark and heavy, one that expressed the frustration and malaise of youth, and one that — perhaps surprisingly — swept the nation. The most prominent of these bands, without a doubt, was Nirvana, and here’s their opening track off of my favorite album of theirs (and easily one of the best of all time):
Because earlier in the month, Kurt Cobain took his own life, at age 27. But it was easy to see why his music was so popular: in all of his songs, he sang about something universal to all young people: frustration.
Frustration about life, about ineffectiveness, about dissatisfaction with the world and with yourself. It came out in interviews, too.
I really haven’t had that exciting of a life. There are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting around and complaining about having a boring life. So I pretty much like to make it up. I’d rather tell a story about somebody else.
Which is why it was incredibly sad (but not at all shocking) when we all learned that Kurt Cobain — after suffering problems with depression and heroin addiction — committed suicide in April of 1994.
For me, as I’m sure for many of you, that entire album holds a special meaning. While I’d heard it many times and even owned a copy, it wasn’t until the summer of 2001, where someone broke into my car and stole all my music while I was moving from Los Angeles to Florida for graduate school, that this album came to mean so much to me. A couple of friends of mine (hi, Chris and Diane!) let me borrow a few of their CDs for my great road trip, and I must have listened to this one about 40 or 50 times in my car during that summer. Hearing songs from it still reminds me, very fondly, of that trip and of my old friends. (And for some reason, of Frosted Flakes. Go figure.)
While the younger of my readers are probably more concerned with this,
Those of you taking the SATs now will likely go to college in the fall of 2012, and will be the first class that has never known a world with Kurt Cobain in it! I’d like to encourage you to discover not just the Universe around you, and not just yourself and your interests and passions, but also the art and music that speaks to you.
And this is a small part of that for me. So for those of you old enough to remember, I hope the memories are fond. For those of you who aren’t, I hope it speaks to you and you enjoy discovering it, and you enjoy the memories you create.
And to everyone, Happy Easter/Passover/Weekend/Springtime/Everything!