Since the 90’s when generation X was trying to figure out what they were going to do with their lives, it is hard to find a teenager or somebody who has been one that never had a “Nirvana” t-shirt. Decades passed since Kurt Cobain’s vocals, vulnerable as an open wound and half tuned or completely step down guitars captured gen Xers and took them out from their boring collective bedroom into the post-punk clubs of 1990s Seattle. That was where this story starts.
Kurt Cobain and Nirvana changed rock music and teenagers of all coming generations forever. Kurt remains a symbol of youth with its beautiful ugliness and charm, rowdy rebel, and extreme vulnerability when writing “God is gay” in the streets seems the best idea or when locked inside heart-shaped box with meet eating orchids. He is the savior for times of depressions, acne, first times, explosive excitement, when the world belongs to you, and when you do not belong to it, when it is lonely and when in useless search of truths and meanings. His music became the most popular drug for those going through their duck phase before becoming swans forever.
The Talisman, Smells Like Teen Spirit
Kurt Cobain became the talisman for the young and damaged since he wrote the anthem of youth “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” manifesting raw vulnerability, harsh indifference towards life, pointless confidence or the opposite, and the entrance into the world with dirty words:
Load up on guns, bring your friends
It’s fun to lose and to pretend
She’s over-bored and self-assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word
scared and in urgent need of entertainment:
With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us.
For Teenagers of All Generations
More than two and a half decades have passed since grunge’s reluctant poster boy took his own life at the age of just 27, leaving his soulful music to generations to come. He was a breath of fresh air back in the late ’80s and early 90’s; he became one of the symbols of the ’90s, but with every youngster discovering music, he is reborn again. His vulnerable and intimate open vocals, unforgettable iconic riffs, soul caressing to the point of tortured solos, and a poetic lyricism that made Nirvana hard to stay away from.
Cobain’s former manager Danny Goldberg called him “something that helped people feel less like freaks, less alone.” His phenomenon lies in his relatability; young people found and still find a friend in him. They listen to his music and finally feel completely understood; they know they can come to him as they are. Kurt is the hero, but not like Batman or Superman, detached and perfect. He is the hero inside each of us; his detachment and loneliness are uniting.
The Life Views of The Legend
Till now, Cobain continues to serve the servants. People from all generations have stories of Nirvana music saving their lives. It is easier to mention the names of artists who weren’t influenced by Nirvana than name those who were as the list will go on and on. There are no genre specifications; artists like Lana Del Ray, Justine Timberlake, and Jay Z; keep quoting Nirvana in their lyrics.
Kurt’s performances were legendary and captivating; all Nirvana music videos had the cool grange vibe to them that scream they nevermind, and they were way ahead of their time with their attitudes of inclusivity. When sexism, racism, homophobia, and other “isms,” as Kurt called them, were on their rise and celebrities were afraid to talk on those sensitive issues, Kurt was dressing as a woman, saying no homophobes are allowed in their concerts, denying the apathy of his generation, speaking against popular magazines and TV shows normalizing the -isms.
Goldberg once mentioned that Cobain refused to play fan-favorite Teen Spirit during a concert in Brazil as the crowd booed the opening all-female act Calamity Jane. Kurt said, “The audience didn’t deserve us playing it.” He was committed to feminist ideals and respected everybody. Those are the themes getting so popular only 26 years after his death. Still, even then, he was the epitome of cool, the voice of a generation of apathy refusing apathy.
Middle height figure, with a guitar hanging from his scraggy shoulders on his waist, always in oversized clothing and ripped jeans, a cigarette between his long beautiful fingers, shoulder-length sun-kissed blonde hair, expressive blue eyes, weary gaze, facial hair left loosely, forever youthful face with a shade of sad on it: Kurt Cobain is there for generations long gone and those to come.
Below we gathered the most memorable quotes from Cobain
- “Wearing a dress shows I can be as feminine as I want, I’m a heterosexual… big deal. But if I was a homosexual, it wouldn’t matter either.” he talled LA Times.
- “I’m disgusted by my own and my generation’s apathy. I’m disgusted at what we allow to go on, by how spineless, lethargic and guilty we are of not standing up against racism, sexism and all those other ‘isms’ that the counterculture has been whining about for years while they sit and enforce those same attitudes every night on their televisions and in the magazines.”
- “What’s alternative? What’s counterculture? What’s cool? Who knows? Who cares? If chasing cool is important to you, you’re an idiot!”
- I’m not into ambition or salesmanship, we’re not some new trend. We never meant or tried to be cool, or be a ‘buzz’ band. It never even entered our minds.”
- I don’t understand anything technical about music at all. I don’t understand any of it, why you can’t put these sounds together with those sounds. I only know what sounds good to us.
- “I, or we as a band, never really copied anybody or spent time learning other people’s songs. We were never good enough or had the patience to do it! So we put that energy into putting our own stuff together. We’re from the learn-as-you-play school. We’re still in it.”
- “I never wanted to sing. I just wanted to play rhythm guitar – hide in the back and just play.”
- “I definitely feel closer to the feminine side of the human being than I do the male.”
- “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.”
- “I wanted to have the adoration of John Lennon, but have the anonymity of Ringo Starr.”
- “I really miss being able to blend in with people.”
- “Rap music is the only vital form of music introduced since punk rock.”
- “It might be nice to start playing acoustic guitar and be thought of as a singer and a songwriter, rather than a grunge rocker because then I might be able to take advantage of that when I’m older,” he told a French journalist in 1993.
- “I could sit down on a chair and play acoustic guitar like Johnny Cash or something, and it won’t be a big joke.”