Fronted by Kurt Cobain, Nirvana came out of Seattle and helped shape the fabric of alternative rock by introducing the new sub-genre of grunge. But it wasn’t until the band’s second album, “Nevermind,” that Nirvana gained enormous popularity and entered the mainstream with the help of singles like “Come as You Are,” “In Bloom,” “Lithium,” and of course “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Ultimately the album sold 10 million copies in the United States and 26 million worldwide.
“Nevermind” starts with a bang with the hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Combining Cobain’s famous scratchy vocals and addictive guitar line, the song was the quintessential teen anthem of the ?s and remains one of their most well-known. It was even crowned the number-one song of the ?s by VH1.
As the album continues, the songs become darker. However, just as you begin to feel that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the only bullet in Nirvana’s rock arsenal, “Territorial Pissings” appears as if to tell the listener “Pay attention!” Cobain’s vocals become rougher and scratchier until he lets out a final squeal.
Now that’s dedication to your work.
The songs continue to grow even darker, and the last track, “Something in the Way,” is no exception. This dark, gritty track perfectly concludes the flawless album.
Nirvana released one more CD before Cobain’s untimely death. Instead of replacing him, the band members quietly left the spotlight to pursue other interests. Notoriously, Nirvana’s drummer, Dave Grohl, went on to front the Foo Fighters and is still making music.
Why does this album continue to resonate with me, and so many others? Is it because of the teen anthem “Smell Like Teen Spirit”? Cobain being one of the greatest vocalists of all time? Actually, neither. “Nevermind” grabs me because I can see the images and messages it seeks to convey. In life, there’s music you listen to but may not fully understand its significance, and then there’s music that stands on its own; that’s Nirvana.
Many things can be said about Nirvana and the legacy they left, but one thing remains certain. Nirvana was and still is one of the greatest bands of the 20th century.