Can we all take a moment to reflect on just how cool Nirvana was? I’m listening to their MTV Unplugged album via Spotify, and I’m still blown away by their ability to create simple yet deeply moving melodies. I know it’s blasphemy, but their cover of “The Man Who Sold the World” is better than Bowie’s original! I know! Blasphemy! I may as well take a big ole poo on a Cheeto that looks like Jesus.
I was in my early teens when Nirvana hit the big time. I remember flipping through the CD racks at Sam Goody (ask your parents, kids) and coming across Bleach and thinking I had just found some top-secret Nirvana release. Turns out it was their first studio album. But still, I thought it was the shit.
Slowly but steadily, the whole grunge style trickled its way down to Texas, and I found myself wearing baggy shirts and flannel hoodies in junior high (which probably speaks more to the commercialization of grunge than my own coolness). I completely identified with the melancholy vocals and hopeless lyrics of Kurt. If it was cool to be miserable, then I was Mr. Joe Cool!
In high school, I used to listen to the Unplugged album non-stop. It was definitely in my top 10 favorite albums at the time. In fact, it still may be. From beginning to end, there is not one bad or even mediocre song. I still love watching the old MTV clips where a younger ponytailed Dave Grohl looks like a homely coffeeshop barista playing the drums.
So take a moment to reflect on how Nirvana touched your life. Perhaps you lost your virginity to “Come as You Are.” Or maybe you got beat up to “All Apologies.” And if you need a little something to jog your memory, enjoy this Meat Puppets cover, which eons ago I played live with my friend Jacob.