Get (Into) What You Paid For – Volume 5, No. 8: Day 62:

No worthwhile updates this time around. Still got a broken computer, still haven’t broken the challenge. Currently listening to the newest C.O.C, Mastodon, Slipknot and Machine Head albums on repeat.
Instead of the week of Thrash, I’m going for a more Grunge themed week now. I’ve actually broken out Nirvana’s Nevermind. I haven’t listened to it in about two years, which was the first time in about two years then, which was the first time since I listened to it regularly in about 2002 before getting a huge mental block about the band some time in about 2003 and basically half-hating them for almost a decade. I’ve cracked out In Utero and Bleach too, which I’ve been much kinder to over the years (I’ve written about Bleach at a minimum in one of these articles, and maybe more). They are a good band once you remove all the teenage baggage. Same with Slipknot really. Sometimes listening to them reminds me of being 14 years old, which isn’t always as fun as it should be. It just reminds you of being in school and talking to people about Nirvana for 6 hours a day, and trying to learn Nirvana songs on drums, and going to pubs and seeing 50 other teenagers cover Nirvana songs. There’s a line in Trainspotting about how Frank Begbie hates being reminded of being in School because he hadn’t yet cultivated his psychopath reputation and doesn’t like being reminded of being weak and laughed at. Sometimes I don’t like being reminded of how arogant I was as a teenager. I remember saying to someone ‘You listen to Tool? I didn’t think you were smart enough!” right to their face. It didn’t come across as politely and impressed as it did in my head. Basically I meant, “I’m too stupid to listen to Tool because the music is so complicated, I’m surprised you, my equal, are smart enough simply because the task seems so difficult and not because of any deficiency of yours” but it sounded like “I’m smarter than you, dickhead!”

Yeah. Nirvana reminds me of schoolbuses and school uniforms and not getting laid and being a rubbish musician. Sometimes its hard to forget all that and just hear songs. I remember long arguments about how sloppy Nirvana were, before I knew or understood what Punk attitude and playing styles were. I remember being frustrated that their fanbase was so large in proportion to their musical abilities and effort in concert. I remember being angry that people would listen to Nirvana on the radio and like the song, but then scream “grunger” at me and my peers with the same venom that the word “wanker” would merit.

But listening to Nevermind last night, some 13 years later… it was interesting what a fun, interesting, well-written and dynamic record it is. How it might actually in some way merit its praises and reputation. How all the feelings about it that I have are through the hyper sensitive prism of a tween douchebag with no life experience. If any of this happened now, there’d be nowhere near as much drama and import placed upon it. Its all this weird bottled up teenager whinge-factor that doesn’t exist anymore. As a full-grown adult its interesting to discover how much kiddie-resentment still has to be flushed out of my system.

I think I might make it a bit of a mission to listen to Nirvana a lot until they’re just a band, and the memories I associate them are of happiness, success, adulthood, love, and good times. Could be interesting to rebrand them as the band of my late-20s instead of the band of my early-teens. It would be good to hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and not cringe over some half-formed, incorrectly remembered, tween grudge from a person who hadn’t yet developed. I don’t want them to be the band I cracked my first beer to, I want them to be the band I started my career to. That might be cool.

Or I could just go listen to the new Machine Head album again instead… y’know, whatever, nevermind.

1 Comment

  1. it is interesting how the music seems to gain depth as we ourselves gain some depth and perspective. Nirvana was the last great rock band that mattered.

    Liked by 1 person

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