I was nine years old when Kurt Cobain committed suicide, and while Nevermind was one of the first CDs I purchased for my teenaged self, it's because of Nirvana's roots that I've stayed interested. Their sound is their sound and it turned the world upside-down, but I like their music for the same reason that I went to Fugazi shows in high school and why I find myself re-watching SLC Punk at least once a year: They captured the raw sentiment of a particular time and place in a genuine way.
What I find intriguing about the recording of In Utero is the fact that the album was an attempt to get back to the punk ethic that fueled Nirvana before Nevermind catapulted them into pop stardom. In Utero by Gillian G. Gaar is a pocket-sized volume that's part of the larger "33 1/3" series, which offers analysis for the rock geek on some of the albums that have continued to captivate long after their initial release, and it touches on just that subject.
The story told by this little book is a testament to the power of tapping into what's already out there--what's already bubbling up in one subculture or another and what could, at some point, hold mainstream appeal. When Nirvana first appeared on the Seattle scene, they served as a natural leader for an alienated generation just waiting for a voice to get behind. It wasn't a desire for commercial success but the need for self-expression that made their music and its intent resonate so deeply with people's moods and contribute to what could already be felt in the air.
Some of the most successful, lasting, iconic brands have grown into authentic champions of a movement in much the same way, articulating what people are feeling but haven't yet found the means to express. What do you think will be the next group to need a rallying cry?
Gwen McCarter, Strategist
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