Is there an antonym for “anniversary?” As you probably know by now, today is the 19th “mortiversary” of Kurt Cobain. I didn’t fully appreciate Nirvana until their last album. I was barely bright enough to be able to tell that Cobain had something going on when Nevermind exploded, but I never liked the sound of that album, especially that stringy bass. I still don’t like the way those songs sound.
I was living in Hungary when In Utero came out. There wasn’t a lot of good music to be “spotted in the wild,” as our friend Rockodile Hunter might say. EuroMTV was playing some BritPop, which I liked, but mostly more Pet Shop Boys videos than I ever wanted to see. I was getting a little homesick for the straight-up rock ‘n roll from my homeland. When the video for “Heart-Shaped Box” hit, I jumped on it! The bass was heavier. The spooky imagery in the video was cool. The song reminded me of Pere Ubu. All good things. I ended up buying that album, paying the equivalent of $20 for the CD, which was hard for me to fork over. God bless America! God bless kick-ass stoner rock. Nirvana wasn’t so bad after all, even with Cobain’s string of totally annoying (to me, at least) ODs and other attention-grabbing attempts at disappearing. The whole thing came to a sad, crashing end when he shot himself. I don’t get caught up in the mystique of suicide; in fact, I rage against it. I still don’t feel anything alluring about Cobain’s very public agony, but I am glad I had just enough time to get a taste of what the band’s real fans were missing when he split.