Nirvana

Nirvana after a Sweet Tarts binge.
In the history of rock music not many bands have had such a large impact with a single album than Nirvana. At the time Nirvana published Nevermind the rock world was relatively stagnant. The eighties metal guys were losing fanfare and not much new was coming out of the commercial rock industry. There were avenues where one could find fresh rock music though. Independent record stores were all the rage. Even MTV was making an effort with their show 120 minutes. The underground rock scene was flourishing. Pop punk was a budding genre, the hardcore guys were honing their art and another form of of music known as grunge was making the rounds(I don’t really think of grunge as anything else then a marketing term to describe certain bands). There were signs of a growing demand for this new alternative flavors of rock just a catalyst was needed to set things off.

Nirvana was originally founded in 1987 in Aberdeen, Washington by Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. It would take them a few years to settle on a drummer who turned out to be Dave Grohl. Dave joined in 1990, the year after their first album, “Bleach”, was released. I gotta say Dave Grohl is one of my favorite things about Nirvana, his drumming is amazing. It was their first release with Grohl that created all the hullabaloo. In 1991 “Nevermind” took the rock world by storm. It gained Nirvana thousands if not millions of fans, sold millions of records and sent record execs looking in every nook and cranny trying to find similar acts. Nirvana’s third album, “In Utero”, didn’t receive the same success. I think it’s a great album just the same though. Everything came crashing down for Nirvana when Kurt Cobain killed himself in 1994. There was no attempt to revive the band after that, mainly because Kurt was the driving force behind it, and Dave and Krist went their separate ways.

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t first learn of Nirvana from some underground zine or through a friend that saw them live or anything like that. I like, thousands of other teens with angst, first heard them on MTV. It was one of those “new music” type shows back when MTV used to play music. They played the video for Nirvana’s super hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and I was a fan from the get go. I know I’m gonna lose some street cred but I didn’t even know the lead singer’s name until he shot himself. Of their three albums the second two are great with Nevermind being my fave. Their first album, Bleach, it’s cool, I respect it and all but it doesn’t quite have the same tone as the alter two. So if you were looking to checkout a Nirvana album you best start where millions of confused teens started before you, with Nevermind. It really is one of the best albums of the genre. I should also note that a couple months before Kurt’s death Nirvana recorded a live album under a program MTV was doing called “Unplugged”. The Nirvana Unplugged was by far the best of the series and has gone on to be a excellent album in it’s own right. Much of what they play on the album are covers with only three tunes being their own so it’s mostly fresh material. The last song on the Unplugged album is a cover of “In the pines”(an old time tune) really is spectacular.

1) Bleach [1989]
2) Nevermind [1991]
3) Incesticide [1992] *B sides and rarities
3) In Utero [1993]
4) Unplugged in New York [1994]

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