If you’ve read any of my previous posts, then by now it should be abundantly clear that music is incredibly important to me. What may not be clear is why music means so much to me, so in this new series I’ll be looking at some of my favorite artists and their work to try to explain how it’s made such an impact on my life and what it all means to me (roll credits). I figure this will work best if I go in chronological order so I’ll start off with the first artist that I gravitated towards and dubbed “my favorite”.
About ten or so years ago, I didn’t really have many friends (so not much different from now actually). This wasn’t because I was a weirdo or anything(…I think…?), but because I lived in a different area from the rest of the kids I went to middle school with. So when I wasn’t in school I didn’t have anyone to hang out with aside from my dog and my little brother, who at that time was less of a cool kid I could confide in and more of a method actor gearing up for a role as the Tasmanian devil.
Because of this I spent most of my time cooped up in my room watching Fuse, MTV hits, MTV jams, and MTVU. These four channels played music videos almost nonstop and that’s how I would get my music fix since the rest of my family’s musical tastes weren’t as wide as mine. At this time in my life I would declare a new band to be my favorite band every week. Forgetting them as soon as I discovered another interesting sound that caught my ear. I suppose nothing stuck with me because at the time I couldn’t really relate to anything that I heard. That all changed when I saw this music video for the first time. After seeing/hearing that I felt a wave of pure unfiltered angst that I didn’t even know I had. My thirteen year old hands were curled into tight little fists, I was tapping my foot so hard that I was basically stomping, and my headbanging was so ferocious that it’s honestly surprising that all of my brain cells were in tact afterwards (or were they..?). Immediately following that video the video for Nirvana’s acoustic cover of Oh Me from their MTV Unplugged set played. I was blown away. How is it the first song which sounded like the energy generated from a nuclear power plant converted into sound, and this second song, which was so serene and soft, be performed from the same artist? After seeing about three more videos from the band’s Unplugged performance and the video for Come As You Are I made an announcement to myself: “This is your favorite band. I mean it this time. You aren’t going to forget and switch like you usually do. you’re going to find out as much as you can about this band and you’re going to listen to every song they’ve ever made.” Some time later I went to Hot Topic and bought Nevermind, their breakout album. From there I went through the rest of their discography. To this day if you ask me who my favorite band is I’ll tell you that Nirvana is my favorite band of all time.
But why do you like them though?
Good question. From the first song I ever heard by Nirvana I was drawn in and to be completely honest, I’m not totally sure why. It wasn’t because I could necessary relate to what I was hearing, since the songs dealt with being homeless, questioning religion, and falling in love and at thirteen I wasn’t at the stage of life where those things come into effect. I don’t think it was because of lyrical prowess. While I would grow to appreciate Kurt Cobain’s writing, the first lyrics of his that I ever heard were “load up on guns and bring your friends/ it’s fun to lose and to pretend/ She’s overboard myself assured/ Oh no, I know/ A dirty word” and I had absolutely no idea what the hell that was supposed to mean.
I think what put Nirvana over other artists that I had heard previously is that it sounded real. For the first time in my short life I could tell that there was real feeling behind what I was hearing. These songs weren’t made to sell albums or to get the band famous or to meet a quota. They were made because Kurt, Krist, and Dave needed to express themselves. When I heard Kurt sing “I tried had to have a father but instead I had a dad” I could hear the disappointment in his voice. I could feel the fierceness of Dave Grohl’s drumming bursting like audio fireworks in my headphones. Everything about this band just felt so earnest and so real. After I did my research on the band and learned that Kurt committed suicide the year I was born, I was drawn in even more. I guess the tragedy and mystery of it added to the intrigue, but whatever it was it led to me studying his music and his writing more intently. Which in turn led me to discover things about his writing style and how if lyrics seemed nonsensical, then they were usually written that way on purpose to make some sort of point (the song Tourette’s is a great example of this, as is Smells Like Teen Spirit).
Albums you should check out: Nevermind, In Utero, MTV Unplugged
Songs you should check out: Sappy, Molly’s Lips, Son Of A Gun, Downer
So there you have it. Hopefully this helps sheds some light on why I’m he that I am and why I like what I like, and if it doesn’t…well you probably just need more pieces of the puzzle before you can see the picture. I know I’ve been ghost for while, but I’ll try to get back to posting regularly because I know you guys have missed me (or not, but I’ve missed you sooo…). I’ll be adding to this series as well as doing my usual reviews and lists so comment and let me know what you thought of this and what projects that you think I should review.
There’s Some Flava For Your Ear
P.S. here’s a sneak peek at the album I’m reviewing next (sorta)