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Saturday, 18 January 2020

Grunge : Welcome to Nirvana's paradise ! The perfect 'anthology' created on 2002 goes on air by American Road Radio !

 Nirvana's paradise created on air by American Road !



Seattle became a gold mine with Nirvana, formed by vocalist/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist "Chris" Novoselic. They, too, played hard-rock, but they also injected abnormal doses of emotion into it and had a melodic flair that the others lacked. Bleach (1989) was both rudimentary, savage and fragile. Nevermind (1991), featuring new drummer Dave Grohl (ex-Scream), increased the melodic factor, and found an even more unlikely balance between pathos and disgust, tenderness and rage, melancholy and rebellion. If Nevermind had been the manifesto of an age, the brutal In Utero (1993) was Cobain's personal odyssey. Sounding like Neil Young's timid alter ego, they embodied the mood of their generation (the "teen spirit"). Their sound became the soundtrack of a generation's nervous breakdown. And more so when Cobain took his life in 1994.

Nirvana's origins are rooted in the Melvins' entourage: Kurt Cobain (vocals and guitar, Osborne's school-mate), and Chris Novoselic (bass), two Aberdeen fans of the masters of doom, adopted the punk mystique and started playing in private. A few months later, Cobain wrote a bunch of songs with Croven, which were collected in a cassette-only release, titled FECAL MATTER. As for Novoselic, he let them talk him into forming a professional group, Nirvana, with Chad Charming on drums. The band performed its first live shows playing with instruments borrowed from the Melvins.

The perfect anthology released on 2002
about Nirvana band on air by ARR

Nirvana's first release was the single Love Buzz/Big Cheese (SubPop), of which only 1,000 copies were printed. In the year of ULTRAMEGA OK's, Nirvana came forth as a natural follow up to the Soundgarden's revolution, rehashing hard rock's deepest roots (Black Sabbath's music and the darkest guitar-driven sound of the Seventies) in a less oleographic, more calligraphic style - placing more emphasis on melody and instrumental skills. Cobain revealed himself able to rank with classic rock's masters histrionics, for both his singing and emotional guitar playing. Love Buzz beat all competition and set Nirvana high on Seattle's Olympus.

Leveraging on the success of these two songs, the album BLEACH, released in the following June (featuring Crover on drums), created quite a sensation. Floyd The Barber and Scoff are loud outbursts of painful noise, burping fiery riffs and syncopated beats, resonating of the Stooges, the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, yet sustaining the commotion with a ghastly tender melody and vehement refrains, closer to revolutionary slogans than rock music. 

Cobain tops such a sequence of desperate acts by indulging in the hopelessly negative sarcasm that stills from the shouted rigmarole of Negative Creep and Mr. Moustache.

The influence of the hard rock classics, mostly Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, is evident in Blew and School, ignited as they are by unrelenting shocks of blues. Still, their masterpiece is the album most atypical song: About A Girl, a piece flung back into the 60's by garage rock accents and sweet folk rock sound. BLEACH opened the golden age of the Seattle sound. If doubts persist about the music’s originality, Cobain's anguish was no doubts sincere; he ranks as the first composer since Jim Morrison who succeedeed in the risky task of expressing sorrow through catchy tunes.

NEVERMIND, their next album, recorded by Cobain, Novoselic and a new drummer (ex-Scream Dave Grohl), was released in October 1991 and was to become one of the greatest hits of the year. Smells Like Teen Spirit, an epic, angry cry in the style of the Replacements, is the album's opening song which quickly rose to cult status, symbolizing the apathetic and caustic spirit of a generation. Treading in its wake, songs like Breed build a wall of noise (layers of guitar, samplings and vocals) according to a musical lexicon which has been reduced to minimum terms and maximum means in order to wed juvenile frustration and metaphysical yearning.

However, in this caldron of burning lava, some intense and weary ballads shine too - In Bloom (with one of his best guitar solos), Lithium and On A Plain which are the album's true heart. The autobiographical Come As You Are is plainer, but it conquered the audience all the same. It is only in the stormy raptures of Territorial Pissing and in the wild ferociousness of Stay Away that Nirvana recall their origins; Cobain is at his top as a singer, he can even transform the acoustic moaning of Polly or the moribund whisper of Something In The Way into magical and ominous atmospheres. His detached howl (a virtual oxymoron) is worthier than the songs he sings. Elements of the Sixties proudly surface in Lounge Act, revealing that, after all, this is the same good old bubblegum, now performed with the grace of a bulldozer, its main ancestor being the Los Angeles powerpop of the 70's.

The obvious commercial potential of the album (five million copies sold against the thirty thousand of their first album) did not cut off Cobain's hard-core fans from him: he still shined as a mythical, fiendish character and kept on asserting his belief in the punk creed.

The album was followed by several discographical speculations (singles, mini CDs,an album of unreleased and miscellaneous pieces), until their third real album, IN UTERO (Geffen), appeared in 1993.

It had been announced as a brutal and harsh work - yet another Seattle-style marketing scoop - as if Nirvana should refuse their modern pop star status. As a matter of fact the new album was absolutely in line with both their image and sound. But it also showed their leader's limits, as well as their limit as a group. 

Their idea of rock music can not be delivered in more than a couple of ways, so they are forced to repeat in Rape Me the substance of Teen Spirit and in Radio Friendly Unit Shifter the essence of Negative Creep. In Pennyroyal Tea, Heart-Shaped Box and Serve The Servants (with another poignant solo) an endless sequence of "grunge" surgery is performed upon the Beatles' somatic features.

 However, Cheap Trick had already tried that in an humbler way and, if nothing else, with self-irony. In a word, this is the weakest among Nirvana's records, the one in which the formula starts to falter. If NEVERMIND had been greeted as a generation's manifesto, IN UTERO is nothing else but Cobain's personal odyssey (in the meantime he had married Courtney Love, one of the Hole's); he needs to face his own post-teenage disorders but he has neither the mental skills nor the moral maturity to do it.

The result is the same as in the previous album: a dark and aimless feeling of impotence, forbereance, fatalism, that well summarizes the navel-quality of Cobain's music.

Gifted as they were with a superior melodic talent, Nirvana managed to become the undisputed rulers of the scene in a very short time, but their artistic skills may not deserve the ovations they received and they certainly owe quite a bit to the pioneers of grunge (Soundgarden and Mother Love Bone at the least).

Cobain committed suicide in April 1994. He was one of the few rock musicians who succeeded in packing amazingly deep sorrow in catchy songs. Rather than living his life, he simply lived the idea of it.But his persona was too weak and confused to turn that idea into a real life.

Thanks and Credits to : 
Piero Scaruffi
Cinzia Russi


Videolist "Over the Top"

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