So with today being the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, social media has been buzzing with Nirvana talk. I saw so many people writing things like, “RIP Kurt” with the music video to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” attached (Most likely because that’s the only song they know) and it made me sick. I’ve felt this way for awhile, but I figured today was the perfect day to make this statement: Nirvana is one of the most overrated bands ever, and if Kurt Cobain didn’t blow his head off, they wouldn’t be considered the rock and roll legends that they are.
I know I sound cynical, and that’s because I am. My life sucks and I drink a lot, but thats a story for another day. At least hear me out on this one. Nirvana is always a name that gets thrown into the conversation of best rock bands to ever exist, and quite frankly, I just don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong: I think Nevermind is a good album (Although the album cover is basically child porn) and I don’t mind when the occasional Nirvana song comes on the radio, but it’s bananas to me how some people praise them.
Kurt Cobain is always talked about as this legendary musician who changed music forever, when in reality he was just an average guitar player with a heroin problem, and those were a dime a dozen in the 90’s Seattle music scene. The only difference between Kurt Cobain and other grunge front men, and the reason why he’s remembered as such an icon, is because he gave his shotgun barrel a blowjob until it jizzed out a bullet. If he never killed himself, Nirvana would have just slowly faded away from popularity within 5-10 years. In fact, I think Kurt knew this and that’s why he killed himself. In his suicide note, he said “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”, which is a line from Neil Young’s “My My, Hey Hey”. Kurt knew it was better to go out on top, Seinfeld style, so he grabbed his gun and quite literally went out with a bang.
It should also be mentioned that the real king of the Seattle grunge scene also died on April 5th, except it was 9 years after Cobain’s death. I’m talking ofcourse about Layne Staley, lead singer of Alice in Chains. He died from a drug overdose like a real musician, not from suicide like some over dramatic 16 year girl who just got dumped by her boyfriend. If I had it my way, which I do because its my blog, I wouldn’t even put Nirvana in the top 3 Seattle rock bands from the 90’s. That’s right, I said it. Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, Mad Season and Sunny Day Real Estate are all way better Seattle bands from that time period. If you still think Nirvana is better than the bands I just mentioned, you probably have less brains than Kurt did after he pulled the trigger and painted his kitchen floor red.
Nirvana is one of those bands that everybody claims they love because we’ve been taught that we have to. Led Zeppelin is another band like that, but they’re actually good and deserve their legacy. For example, I saw a girl wearing a Nirvana shirt at a bar a few weeks ago. I told her that I liked her shirt just to start a conversation, and then I asked her what her favorite song was. She literally said, “I don’t know”. That’s a perfect example of most Nirvana “fans”: They might know one or two songs, usually only “Smells Like Teen Spirit” though, and they wear a Nirvana smiley shirt they got at Hot Topic because they liked the logo. Any real Nirvana fan is either dead or a depressed guy in his 40’s who stocks shelves overnight at Walmart, and the latter of which will probably soon be dead from an OD or suicide soon as a direct result from listening to the monotony of their music for the past 3 decades.
Now I have no musical ability whatsoever, but if you talk to any guitar player about Kurt being average, they’ll back me up. Nirvana songs are mostly basic chords combined with weird lyrics and an overall “We should pawn the TV for heroin” vibe, so it’s no wonder these guys were shooting up all day. In the song “Heart Shaped Box”, Kurt literally says “I wish I could eat your cancer”.Uhh, what dude? I know that probably made sense when you had that needle in your arm and were nodding off on a bus, but cancer doesn’t sound too appetizing to regular people.
Kurt Cobain was also a huge liar, because in the song “Come As You Are”, he repeatedly says “No I don’t have a gun”, when I’m pretty sure he did have a gun. It’s kinda hard to shoot yourself in the head if you don’t have a gun, but what do I know?
Nirvana might’ve been cool when you were an angst-filled teenager who wanted to rebel against your parents, but it’s time that we as a society accept their mediocrity. They were an average band who had a lead singer who killed himself at a young age, and that’s the only reason people think they’re so great. I’m not saying we have to stop listening to them altogether, but we do have to admit that they aren’t an amazing band.
Now before a mob of flannel shirt wearing hipsters shows up at my house holding pitchforks and Starbucks lattes, I’ll offer you this olive branch. Kurt Cobain seemed like a cool dude. He did a bunch of drugs, married that whore named Courtney Love, and seemed like a chill dude to sit down and have a beer with. He also said one of my favorite quotes of all time, which is, “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I’m not”. I’m a big quote guy, and that’s a personal favorite of mine, so I’ll give credit where credit is due. And like I said, I listen to Nirvana and am not gonna act like I block my ears when it comes on, but let’s stop pretending they’re incredible.
Nirvana is okay at best, and they only achieved such mainstream success and a legacy as such a great band because of depressed teenagers and the death of their frontman. Listening to too much Nirvana in one day makes me want to call my doctor and beg for a Prozac prescription. That’s why, for the most part, the only time I reach a state of nirvana is when their music ends and something else comes on.
Sorry I had to say all of this on your 25th death anniversary Kurt, but I am proud of the fact that you’re officially 25 years clean from drugs. Congratulations man!
PS: Weird Al’s version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is way better