This post is in the theme “Constructing an identity through media”. Read the first.
August 20, New York: I’d originally planned to listen to Nevermind exactly once through, then write up a post and move on to the next album. Nirvana, it turns out, it pretty fantastic. I’ve spent the last two days listening to Nevermind a bunch and falling back in love with the Unplugged album. This music is really something great.
I was of the Nirvana generation— that cohort of teens and preteens for whom this album was the Beginning of Music. As it was a musical turning point, it was the turning point of my adolescence. Post-Nirvana I wore my Dad’s old flannels and one time tried to sing in a rock band (I was terrible, by the way). All the guys at my school grew their hair long and shaved underneath it. I asked my barber to do the same and he tried to talk me out of it; I didn’t really understand the difference between curly and straight hair. I had that mushroom haircut for at least a year.
I’m so happy that this was the music that defined my cohort. We could have done a lot worse. This music feels original, and to listen today, it feels timeless. It’s of its time, but stands outside it, too. It’s haunting to watch the videos of Cobain now, particularly this one from the Unplugged show, making wry jokes about David Geffen buying him a $500,000 present. It’s a shame to have lost him.
Nirvana is always for sale. David Geffen still needs the money.