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Nirvana - Nevermind
Music You Might Want to Consider - N
I was 14 years old, and up late. It was probably a Friday night.
This was the halcyon days of the early nineties. Staying up late didn’t include binging movies or playing games online until the sun came up. For me, staying up late involved leaving the television on until the networks went off the air, reading, or writing.
I knew back then that I was a storyteller. I just didn’t know who I was as a storyteller. Most of what I wrote was derivative of the authors that I admired; pale knockoffs of S.E. Hinton, Stephen King, or John Saul. I hadn’t found my voice yet, but that’s not unusual at that age.
I was watching the local NBC affilliate, because I had discovered David Letterman a few years prior, and he was in his last days on that network, before moving to CBS a year later. His show would go off of the air after 1 AM, and what followed was usually an informercial or some other show I wouldn’t have cared for normally.
But it was the beginning of the weekend, and that brought Friday Night Videos with it.
I didn’t grow up with MTV. We barely had cable, and when we did, for some reason, we only got VH1. I was certainly aware of MTV, though. I mean, who wasn’t?
My only hope of actually watching music videos was Friday nights. Little did I know that on this particular Friday night, in the early months of my freshman year in high school, the world would change. Forever.
It was the night that I saw the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.
It was practically overnight. For me and a whole lot of my peers. Everyone was dressing like they were from Seattle. But there was more to this shift than aesthetics; grunge music spoke to us in a way that glam metal never could have. Kurt Cobain was saying things we wanted to say, but never could.
I’m sure that sounds like hyperbole, and it probably is.
It didn’t take long for me to track down the cassette single. And while “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a juggernaut, it was “Even in His Youth”, the b-side on the single, that hit me the hardest.
Teenage angst is pretty easy to tap into, and “Even in His Youth” felt like it could have been written by me. A song about a father not caring about his son, or being ashamed of him? Was Kurt Cobain reading my journal? No, but he was echoing my feelings as well as the feelings of countless others.
Nevermind is the most important album of the nineties, and it’s not even up for debate. Is it the best album? No. But it’s the most important. The most significant culturally, musically, and everything in between. It’s so important that you can now buy Nirvana t-shirts in places like Walmart and Target.
Kurt Cobain would hate that, I’m sure. But at this point, does that even matter?