Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Something in the Way

So, Wunderkraut posted something about Nirvana the other day. He talks about how much of an impact Nirvana had on popular music of the day. I can't argue with that. Nirvana and all the bands they brought with them certainly revamped radio and MTV in the late '80s/early '90s.

But what Nirvana was not, is different. Yes, they spoke to the disaffected youth of the day with their disaffected message, but they pulled their sound right from (most obviously) the Melvins, the Pixies and JFA. So, of course, the influences of these bands play a role in Nirvana's sound -- Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin, most punk, etc.

I'm not trying to diminish their importance at that moment in time. They were quite important and served as a signal in the change of popular music. I was a fan at the time (though when I went to see them live I was going to see the Breeders and not them). These days I find them hard to listen to. Just seems like Cobain was trying too damn hard to be poignant. I'm not moved. I find it ... well, just listenable, I guess.

This is not a singular event in my revisiting the bands of my late teens. I find that I can't listen to Nine Inch Nails any more. I freakin' loved them at the time. I saw them in New Orleans when they were touring on The Downward Spiral and I still consider that to be one of the best concerts I've ever been to (prior to 2007, the best concert was Rush, but last year I saw G3 and that was amazing). I guess my problem is that these bands just don't speak to me like they once did, but there are others from that era that do. I don't know if it's just that bands like Nirvana and NiN spoke to a mindset that I grew out of, or if I've just changed so much that I no longer appreciate their music. I think Nirvana and NiN's subject is pretty limited, so I tend to think it's the former.

Anyway, go listen to some Mudhoney or Dickies and be happy.

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