19 years after his tragic death Kurt Cobain was certainly true to his word. His music is still cemented at the forefront of the rock movement’s mind. Kurt Cobain is truly the embodiment of 90s grunge.
I challenge you to find anyone who has never heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Whilst its true that Kurt became somewhat tired of having to play this song, the fact still remains that it defines a generation. There was something about Cobain’s talent for depicting the frustration and pent up angst of youth. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ exploded onto the music scene, solidifying Nirvana as a band that deserved to be heard.
Kurt famously had a tumultuous upbringing that provided as ample material for songs. Accompanied by a highly publicised drug addiction and relationship with the controversial Courtney Love it is fair to say that on paper Kurt lived a colourful life. Despite all of this he was reportedly extremely introvert. Yet when it came to his music it was a completely different story. He was able to convey raw and often angry emotions that captured a generation. His songs included delicate subjects such as rape, in the bluntly named ‘Rape Me’ and more subtly in ‘Polly’. Yet he shunned the idea of people psychoanalysing him through his lyrics as he often wrote them at the last minute. He was wary of people putting too much meaning into his lyrics. It’s fair to say though that Nirvana made statements with their music. The album cover for their second album ‘Nevermind’ has become iconic. It’s been speculated that the baby swimming after the money is symbolic of the materialistic culture we now live in.
His death has always been surrounded in huge controversy. Many documentaries have been made about the days leading up to his death. A particularly good one is Nick Broomfield’s simply titled ‘Kurt & Courtney’, which attempts to find the facts behind these controversies to no avail. However, whilst this subject will always been fascinating no matter how many documentaries are made, ultimately these speculations will always remain speculations.
Kurt Cobain famously said ‘I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I’m not’. This is an insightful observation, perhaps on celebrity culture itself. Look at some of the mainstream musicians that are celebrated today. Many create these weird and wonderful personas to encourage you to believe they are special and unique when in reality they are just like the rest of us. Do we love these celebrities for something they are not?
So by the power invested in me I hereby declare this day to be National Kurt Cobain Day. On this day we shall remember his music, his ability to capture the hopelessness of youth and his raw growling vocals. When Kurt Cobain said ‘it’s better to burn out than fade away’ he truly meant it. His musical legacy that he left behind accompanied with this harrowing statement has ensured that he certainly will not ever fade away.