There are numerous ways by which you can cement your place in rock history as an all-time great legendary band. You do this by actually recording a bunch of totally kick-ass albums and memorable rock anthems. Or you can do this by being an innovator and doing stuff musically that hadn't been done before. The quickest path however, to historical rock legend status is death. It is a well known fact in life generally that people gain a greater appreciation for you when you die. This is true of presidents, actors and especially of musicians. If you're a band and your lead singer dies this theory is applied tenfold. No band better exemplifies the dead rock star theory than this week's Band That Sucks Balls: NIRVANA.
Look I know you like Nirvana. Everybody that grew up as a child of the 90's liked Nirvana at some point. Nirvana burst onto the scene from the Seatlle underground scene in 1991 with their sophomore album "Nevermind" and the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit." At the time people had grown tired of "cheesy" bands with big hair and leather pants that only sang about sex, drugs, and having a good time (aka bands that were totally Rad). So the public wanted to hear something different. Nirvana stepped up to the plate and gave the people that different rock sound they were looking for. They mixed distortion, punk rock, and angry emotional lyrics and birthed a "genre" known as Grunge. And everybody loved it. Kids stopped wanting to wear leather jackets, metal bracelets and torn jeans. Now they all wanted to wear flannel, corduroy pants, and skater shoes. Nobody wanted to form bands in their garage that sang about chicks and partying it up anymore. Now they wanted to sing about how angry they were, and how much they despised their daily existence.
You see Nirvana capitalized on a fact that people had known for years: Kids are pissed off. No matter how comfortable their lives might be, kids are going to be unhappy about something. Especially around the time they are heading to middle school. They hate school. They hate that they're hitting puberty. They fucking HATE their parents. Mark my words when your kids turn 12 they will despise you for one reason or another. Back in the day kids used to deal with their anger and hatred for their parents by losing themselves in the sounds of awesome rock and roll. Kids loved rock and roll because it took them away to a fantasy world they could never fathom being a part of. Then Nirvana came along and decided rock and roll should be music that kids COULD relate to. Music about being misunderstood, underappreciated and solemn. Music about "angst." Music that is not fun...at all.
Nirvana was huge during the early 90's but it wasn't until one fateful day in April of 1994, that they established their place among rock legends. Kurt Cobain who loved doing heroin and was bi-polar, went on a bender and got super depressed about either the realization that he was married to Courtney Love or the fact that he had run out of heroin. So he did what any logical depressed individual would do and stuck a shotgun in his mouth and blew his brains out. As soon as this happened Kurt Cobain was no longer just an angry rock frontman for a popular band. Now he was AN ICON. He was a misunderstood genius that nobody appreciated. He was that rare rock star that DIDN'T want to be rich and popular. Nirvana and the music they created wasn't just a trend that the kids were into. They were pioneers that had revolutionized rock and roll forever. Today over 16 years after Kurt Cobain's suicide people still classify Nirvana as an iconic band of innovators that changed the face of music, and completely overlook the fact that Nirvana actually totally sucks balls.
Have you actually listened to a Nirvana CD recently? There is nothing impressive about their music. Kurt Cobain couldn't really sing so he just kinda snarled and growled throughout Nirvana songs except during the hook when he would start screaming. His lyrics were total bullshit that coincidentally sounded like the crazed rambling of a heroin addict. He fucking SUCKED at playing guitar. Kurt Cobain actually appears high on lists of revolutionary rock guitarists. WHY? A Nirvana guitar solo is just a bunch of distortion noise that sounds like Kurt was just dragging his axe across the stage and intermittently kicking it. The only member of Nirvana with any musical chops was Dave Grohl whose talents obviously weren't discovered until after Kurt Cobain shot himself and he was allowed to actually play music that was fun and be happy occasionally.
Even if you own any Nirvana CDs from your days of teenage angst..admit it...you are never "in the mood" to listen to Nirvana. Who the fuck just sits around and says to themself "You know what? I could really go for a song called RAPE ME right about now." Who wants to jam out to lyrics like "I wish I could eat your cancer?"The most universally acclaimed Nirvana CD is their MTV Unplugged album obviously since it was the last music the recorded before Kurt Cobain's death and the band's first posthumous release. Nirvana Unplugged fucking blows. It's like Nirvana said "hey our music isn't depressing enough, how bout' we strip our songs down to a slow acoustic pace, add a standup bass and really encourage our listeners to slit their wrists." Basically listening to Nirvana unplugged is like entering the world's gloomiest coffee shop on a rainy day. If I ever call you and say that I'm spending an evening by myself listening to Nirvana's unplugged album, you can safely assume it is the last convo you will ever share with me as I will be hurling myself off my balcony halfway through track 6.
The thing that sucks about Nirvana is that Kurt Cobain died before the band got a chance to experience the backlash of people realizing that their music sucked. That their "sound" was nothing more than a trend or a fad. Once a musician dies you can no longer be critical of them because that would be insensitive. So Nirvana's "legacy" will remain intact. A legacy present today in the form of countless shitty bands that can't play their instruments for dick and sing about being miserable. A legacy safe in the hands of a generation that would rather sit in a corner and cry about their problems, than go out and forget about their misfortune by having a good time. Thanks a lot Kurt Cobain, you stupid asshole, now rock and roll is no longer allowed to be fun. Thanks to you the party's over.