I don’t really remember much about Kurt Cobain’s suicide.
At the time, I was more into Guns N Roses than Nirvana. I liked that Nirvana’s music was loud, but there weren’t enough face-melting guitar solos for my liking.
So when Cobain died (20 years ago this week) it didn’t affect me as immediately as it affected other music fans. I noticed that it was all over the news. I noticed that people were using the term “voice of a generation” a lot. And of course I noticed that the kids at my school who wore a lot of black were pretty sad. But they were usually pretty sad anyway.
And then, to my surprise, in the months following his death I grew out of face-melting solos, and started to grow into heart-melting emotion instead. I started to listen to Nirvana more closely, and pretty soon I couldn’t get enough of it. I tried not to make it too obvious, because the kids who wore a lot of black were making it clear that if you didn’t like Nirvana before Kurt’s death, you had no right to like them now.
So I hid my love for Nirvana, never bought one of those shirts, never wrote lines from their songs on my binders. And I listened mostly on headphones in my room. Which is okay, I think, because that’s probably how Cobain would have listened to music himself.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. It was recorded with Cobain slouched on a sofa in the recording studio, and you can almost hear it. Never before has a singer’s posture come through so clearly.
2. Dave Grohl, usually such a beast, is so controlled on the drums.
3. The cello, sighing and moaning in the background.
Recommended listening activity:
Falling asleep on the couch.