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Desert Island Thursday • Nirvana’s “Nevermind”

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Well my fellow kilSters, we did it. Here it is. The final installment of Desert Island “Duh” Month! Before we delve into this last “Duh” record, let’s take a look back at the previous three Desert Island DUH entries: We kicked the month off with Guns N’ Roses and their 1987 debut album, Appetite For Destruction, followed by Michael Jackson‘s all killer, no filler, 1982’s Thriller, and last Thursday we took a look back at the dark period that heralded Metallica‘s “Black Album.” How fitting that our last entry into the Desert Island Duh Month pantheon should be a Generation X staple. That’s right. I’m talking about Nirvana and their monstrous sophomore album, “Nevermind“.

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Two days ago it was announced that Nirvana was nominated to enter the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame’s class of 2014. Now, nothing is set in stone yet, but considering that this is the first year that Nirvana is eligible for this prestigious honor (Jesus H. Christ, has it really been 25 years since Nirvana released “Bleach“?), I can say with the utmost certainty that there is no way in hell that a band that helped change the face of music will be made to wait another year before their induction.

Nirvana came on the scene at a time when music was at a complete loss.

Nevermind was released on September 24, 1991, and thanks to the lead off track, “Smells Like Teen Spirit“, the grunge movement was catapulted to the musical stratosphere. I remember September 24, 1991 well. I was 10 years old, fat, and extremely bored. Music has always been my lifeblood and although I wish I could say that I was a Nirvana fan from the Fecal Matter days, I just can’t lie to you. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” got the whole ball rolling for me. It was brash, dirty, and new. Nirvana came on the scene at a time when music was at a complete loss. Pop reigned supreme and there was more than enough of the pre-packaged pop cacophony to go around. I’m serious. You couldn’t turn the radio on without hearing “Poison” by BBD or some slap happy pop track by Paula Abdul, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, or whomever. Rock was not easily accessible, and for a 10 year old like myself who didn’t grow up with a healthy dose of rock, I had no prior knowledge that there was ever a genre of music such as rock. Nirvana changed that.

Nirvana was my awakening and for a long time, “Nevermind” was my bible on tape.

I don’t remember where I was when I first heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit“. Was it on the radio? Was it the music video? The point is, the song couldn’t be escaped. I dug it from the get go. I loved Nirvana without knowing why I loved Nirvana. It wasn’t until I hit 12 years old when Nirvana really started to make sense to me. Nirvana was my awakening and for a long time, “Nevermind” was my bible on tape.

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Let us pretend, my fellow kilSters, that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was not on the album “Nevermind“. Do you think Nirvana would’ve had the impact that they had on music if that song had never existed? Duuuuuuuh. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” although still one of the best opening tracks ever, is just one song on a fantastic album. The song made the album, and truth be told, is the reason why we know of and still speak about Nirvana today, but make no mistake about it, the other 11 (12 if you were one of the lucky ones who happened to purchase Nevermind with the not-so-secret secret track, “Endless, Nameless“) songs would’ve done the catapulting for the band anyway, and why? Nirvana’s sound was fresh and different.

The songs in “Nevermind” drove the stake into the whole peace, love, and kumbaya bullshit that still lingered.

Nirvana redefined the musical landscape to the point where an album like “Nevermind” did become the new pop standard. Nirvana’s music crossed musical lines just by being not the norm. In 1991, people were ready for a change, and Nirvana was the change that they craved, whether they knew it or not. There was nothing humdrum and by the numbers about Nirvana. In “Nevermind“, Kurt Cobain provided the voice of reason for a generation of adolescents who couldn’t find their voice. The songs in “Nevermind” drove the stake into the whole peace, love, and kumbaya bullshit that still lingered. “Nevermind” is such a fitting title if you really think about it. Come on now. “Nevermind” was the only way the band could say “FUCK YOU” to the preceding generation that came before it. 22 years later and “Nevermind” is still a classic. It’s still selling quite well and every day, a brand new body happens to discover the album for themselves. It’s an important album in that respect because it will always find an audience to embrace it for what it is. An escape from the mundane and lame, because just like everything else, we are currently living in an age, quite like that one 22 years ago where radio is once again dominated by crap.

Nirvana ended on April 5th, 1994 when an electrician doing some work at the Cobain home found the lifeless body of Kurt Cobain. That happened almost 20 years ago, but just like the musical heroes that came before Cobain like John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin; these talented people might be gone but never will they be forgotten. Nirvana left us with a body of work that will keep being revisited for ages to come because it was something special and unique, just like the three souls that helped create it.

It’s kind of silly to do this, but if you happen to NOT own the album, please feel free to pick it up here.

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