Today, I was walking around the small town of Columbia, Tennessee trying desperately to find something to do. So I did what every sane person would do, I just started walking.
Well being that it is a small town, I ended up at every small towns biggest attraction...
The town Wal-Mart.
While I was enjoying the cool air conditioning I started scanning through the magazines. Immediately, my eyes were drawn to the cover of the new SPIN magazine cover. The cover depicts young Kurt Cobain floating in the water, much like that of the album cover of their monumental hit, NEVERMIND
As seen up top, The Title of the Issue is: "What 'Nevermind' Means now."
I of course picked up the issue and found a seat and read almost the whole issue(Minus their obscure indie band reviews in the back. I mean really how many times can I be told how great the Flaming Lips are? I just don't get it guys, sorry!) Sitting there reading the issue I literally just ate the whole thing up with my eyes. Eyes quickly shooting to the next line of interesting facts and stories behind the album and what what impact it had on artists today.
This isn't the first of these that I have found myself diving into over the past few weeks.
As some of you 90's kids probably know, This year marks the 20th anniversary of "Nevermind's" release, so magazines have already been pushing articles about maybe rocks last world altering release (Yes, that's a huge statement, but more on that later). As bizarre as it sounds the BEST article I have read that has been released recently was actually in last months issue of GQ. They did a great piece called "The 20th anniversary Oral History of Nevermind." They pieces together dozens of quotes from artists and producers, and the musicians themselves about the making of the album. It was one of the most interesting and in depth things I've ever read.
But the article that I read today in SPIN is really what motivated me to today's post.
The main piece of the issue was entitled:
"What Nevermind Means to Me"
It was fascinating reading huge musicians, comedians, and celebrities from the past and today talking about what impact that album left on them.
One of the more fascinating ones was Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers:
Nevermind and Blood Sugar Sex Magik came out the same day -- I remember being so excited because I felt like we had made our great record. I would put on the radio and keep listening to hear "Give It Away," but I kept hearing this Nirvana song and was like, "God, that's a great ******* song. But are they going to play 'Give It Away'?" And then they turned out to be the greatest band in the world.
Another one of my favorites was from Comedian Patton Oswald:
Nevermind first hovered into view, for me, in the bleak, early months of 1992. And it didn't drop-kick my head anywhere new or change my landscape -- I did that myself, in my daily situation, moving to San Francisco to further pursue comedy.
But what it did do, subconsciously, hearing it as ambient music on long road trips or in dive bars after my shows, was reassure me I was making the right choice. Because Cobain and Co. didn't make being young and confused and dumped-on sound fun -- in fact, they assured you your situation righteously sucked. But they also showed you that you could take your rage and frustration and make them loud, and at least annoy other people until you worked your s*** out.
Deeper and deeper into the article you go the better it got, hearing from legends such as Vedder, Henry Rollins and even Dave Grohl himself.
Reading the article got me thinking about my take on that album, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized it really was a monumental album for me, even though it wasn't my generation. I was 1 when Nevermind hit store shelves and began paving the roadways and burning bridges in music history. So granted I wasn't rocking out to it at 1, unless my dad played it for me and I of course have no memory of it. No, my time with Nevermind came about 13 years later.
Music has always been a huge part of my life. And I've had many people actually get on to me and my brother about our love and admiration about music, some people think its a little too intense(But what do those people know? haha). That's a whole different blog for a different time, but needless to say, Music was a huge part of my upbringing. I really started diving into my own music around 6th grade. I would find bands and I would dive into them, while dad watched from a distance making sure I wasn't diving into crap like, the huge(at the time) limp bizkit and other Nu metal acts.
Around 8th grade my dad finally let me get my own BMG account.
For those of you who don't remember or never heard of BMG, BMG(Bertelsmann Music Group) was a club membership where when you signed up for their membership, you got 7 cds, of your choice, for free. You would then purchase just one cd and get 4 more for free. So in all you got 12 cd's for the price of one. Over time you realize it was kind of a scam, because of the way they would ship you monthly choices, and if you didn't send it back in time they charged you, but still at 14, 15 years old it was the coolest deal of all time. 12 cds for the price of one.
I must have scanned through that website for 8 hours trying to pick my 12.
But after hours of searching I had my selections picked out.
I don't remember all of the ones I got that first cycle, but I do remember that I got: Coheed and Cambria's: In Keeping Secrets of Silent earth:3, Chevelle's: Wonder What's Next, Jimmy Eat World's- Clarity(Which I did not come to appreciate till YEARS later), Monty Python's Spamalot Soundtrack(Waste of a choice), and Nirvana's: Nevermind.
At the time FUSE was our saving grace for music videos and played music videos all day long. Me and Coop would just stay at home watching episode after episode of Daily Download, FList, Top Countdown, and many other shows that were just polls for favorite music videos. I believe it was on there that I REALLY heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Of course I knew the song and had heard it before, but then there is the time when you see it with the music video and it just clicks. You get it...
So I ordered that album and it was honestly the one I was most excited for.
I remember putting it on my mp3 player at the time(Iriver) and taking it out to the warehouse to listen to while working in the warehouse.
I played that record to death.
I would play it all the time, because I loved it and my dad also loved it. So I could be singing along and look up and see dad air drumming and singing along to every word as well. (Side note: at 15 years old thats a big deal. I always knew I had dad's approval and dad's love, but it always was a big boost to the morale when you found a band that dad liked too.)
But I can honestly say that Nirvana was one of those bands that was one of the first that I really identified/defined myself with.
I think most of us who grew up surrounded by music can say we all went through stages, and maybe still are, where we identified ourselves with our music, with our bands of choice. We liked what we thought defined us, and couldn't listen to other Pop-y stuff because that would mess with my image (So absurd looking back now, but at the time made so much sense.) I remember pushing bands away that I couldn't like, (That I love now!) like Panic! at the Disco, Nine Inch Nails, Pop artists, and others. But back in the day, it was all about keeping your image, keeping your definition.
I latched on to bands like P.O.D. Chevelle, and Nirvana to define myself. I related to that music at that time more than anything else, so it became apart of me.
Going back and listening to those records now, I still feel that connection. That connection and also the knowledge of every lyric, every crash hit, and every liner note(Who produced it, WHICH in Nevermind's case: Produced by the infamous Butch Vigg of Garbage).
Its a weird piece of you. We all have albums like that.
Thats why when walking through the store today my eyes automatically saw SPIN's issue I had to grab it.
I was like seeing just a little piece of myself sitting upon that shelf.
Its funny how we do that, we cast ourselves onto things in this world.
Somehow, I found definition in something that contained the song, "Polly." (Anyone whose heard that song, please don't be scared. haha)
It is a big deal though that this album is at its 20th anniversary. Because, as stated earlier, this is the last album that really changed the face of music. There hasn't been an album since that I could argue has completely altered music the way Nevermind did.
With music becoming more and more broad with more and more absurd genre names, and sub cultures, music isn't together anymore like it was in 1991. Yes, there were still the underground bands, but kids couldn't hook up their ipods and just listen to their little playlist of music. The radio was your only option, and when "Smells like Teen Spirit" hit the airwaves it completely shifted music. Hair bands knew their days were numbered at the release of that single.
But with all of the praise and recognition for such a monumental album, I love that so many of us can identify with such a great record.
Music is a strange thing.
It connects so many different types of people.
It connect different generations of people.
And thousands upon thousands were impacted by this record.
So what are some of your most monumental albums?
What were albums that shifted your world?
What albums did you identify yourself with?
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Smells Like Teen Spirit