Saturday, November 22, 2008

63. Nirvana - MTV Unplugged

When Nevermind came out, I was one of those people who jumped on the Nirvana bandwagon. But I didn't ride it very long. I hated the hype surrounding them, I hated all the little kids in their flannel shirts, I hated that everyone seemed to be in love with two songs and basically ignored the awesome Drain You. And I hated - really, deeply hated - the idolization of Cobain.

It wasn't until MTV Unplugged that I fully appreciated Cobain. While a lot of the songs played that night weren't his, I was still taken aback by the pure honesty in his voice. You could hear everything; pain, wistfulness, sorrow. And I loved that the band did their lesser known songs, and that the covers they did were of bands mostly unknown to the kids who first sunk their teeth into Nevermind. The best word I could use to describe the whole performance is intense. You listen to it, and look at it and you see and hear perhaps what Nirvana might have been if Nevermind didn't blow up like that. They weren't meant to be a hit machine. They weren't meant to be pop idols. This was a band meant to say something, to mean something. It's in the way he sang those Meat Puppets songs, especially Plateau, but you can also hear it in Something in the Way and on On a Plain, and I can't fully describe it because it was a personal experience for me, but I listen to this album and I hear Cobain the superstar, Cobain the idol, stripped away and you're left with Cobain the person, and the band that Nirvana might have been if they didn't become "the voice of a generation" with Nevermind.

I became a bigger Nirvana fan after this, but it wasn't until recently, when I pulled this CD and Incesticide and In Utero and Bleach out again, that I actually fell in love with them. I think I needed the distance of years and the absence of flannel shirts to fully immerse myself in the band.

Favorite song: Oh Me
I Dream of Kurt Cobain


Ken said...

Similar thoughts. I was flannel before grunge... I really hated being trendy during those years.

One thing.. I think you meant to say Meat Puppets rather than Meatmen. But it would have been really cool to hear an unplugged version of Cripple Children Suck or One Down Three to go.

michele said...

I think I had Meatmen on my mind after listening to Crippled Children Suck last night (because of this post in which I mention it).

Correcting now.

Flowerdew Onehundred said...

I liked them before Nevermind, and I still like a lot of their songs today. It always pissed me off that the song I always heard on the radio was Come as You Are, which I think is one of the weakest tracks on Nevermind.

I love Drain You too.