Smells Like Nostalgia
God I hated grunge. So much so that the mere sound of Eddie Vedder’s voice still makes me writhe in agony. I even disowned Neil young for a spell during the 90s as many were now citing him as the main musical inspiration behind the scene. I guess that’s why I went to the other side of the pond for my fix. The house music/rock hybrid, the reemergence of psychedelia and, eventually, Brit-Pop seemed so much more inventive and interesting to me. Still does.
Grunge felt to me, rightly or wrongly, like a complete bastardization and, even more heinously, a popularization of the fantastic punk rock scene of the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. All the angst seemed phony as a Canadian 2-dollar bill (oops, sorry! Forgot you guys actually had one of those!), tailor made gloom for the masses that your parents could embrace. It didn’t seem dangerous, or even particularly interesting, to me at that time and still, to this day, seems like a bit of a non-issue to me. I can now understand and even embrace the fact that Nirvana was a talented bunch. Does Nevermind deserve the out and out praise it’s received, often ending up within the Top 10 albums of all time? Certainly not. I can’t listen to Smells Like Teen Spirit anymore now that I know Cobain ripped off the entire song structure and melody from More Than A Feeling by Boston. It is chuckle worthy, but kind of sad also. Listen again, you’ll hear it.
Why am I spending time on a genre I generally have no time for? Because, perhaps due to the massive reissue campaign for Nirvana’s In Utero album, it appears Grunge is readying itself for a bit of resurgence. Usually such things follow a 30 year pattern, when teenagers who experienced it firsthand hit their 40’s, but I can feel the nostalgia for this genre (I hesitate to give it credence by calling it a ‘scene’, you know?) increasing. It’s not like I can stop it, or even think it should be stopped. Go ahead, buy the newest Pearl Jam album, go see the newly reunited Screaming Trees for $300 bucks a pop. Knock yourself out. See if you can still fit into that lumberjack shirt, size 30 jeans and get those beige steel toed work boots out of retirement, if that floats your boat.
And, as a quick side note, I’d like to apologize to Neil Young for embracing the notion back in ’92 that he was indeed responsible for this brood from the Pacific North West. Neil, I’m sorry for publicly burning my mint vinyl copy of Trans. I know better now.