Nevermind Teen Spirit

By Cayley Lavagna-Slater


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Nirvana is from Aberdeen, Washington and was started by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in 1987. The band went through a number of drummers for settling on Dave Grohl who joined in 1990 and ended up being their longest-lasting drummer.

Released on September 24 1991, Nevermind is the band’s second studio album. Despite the low expectations by both the record label and the band, the album was only meant to sell 250,000 copies; it was a huge success by the end of 1991 and reaching the top of the charts by 1992, stealing the top spot from Michael Jackson’s album dangerous on the Billboard album charts.

This album is host to most of Nirvana’s best songs, the most popular, and probably the most important, being Smells Like Teen Spirit as it catapulted the band into fame. The clean guitar intro is a beginner guitar player’s dream and Cobain’s mumbled lyrics and scuffed and caged voice becomes a ‘perfect flaw’ that is portrayed throughout the album. Come As You Are is another cult favourite with its good guitar line and with the lyrics; “And I swear I don’t have a gun” which is repeated throughout the bridge. These lyrics really speak to the angst-ridden teenagers who feel as if they are constantly being victimised. With its repeated shouting during the chorus and soft vocals in a number of verses; Lithium another hit amongst the fans. Cobain described this song as “one of those songs I actually did finish while trying to write it instead of taking pieces of my poetry and other things”. Something in the Way was just the right way to end off the album with Kurt’s monotonous, but attractively raw voice complimented by the beautiful twang of a cello in the background.

The success of Nevermind can also be attributed to the need for something new. By the end of the 80s people were so tired of the over-synthesised songs that they needed some ‘real’ music, which is exactly what Nirvana is.

Even though Nevermind isn’t a musically spectacular album, it served as an anthem for Generation X and Kurt Cobain served as the leader for this generation, bringing grunge back onto the alternative rock scene and giving the teenagers of Generation X a feeling of understanding. This album is rated number 17 on Rolling Stone’s top 500 greatest albums of all time, and although it is an acquired taste I recommend that everyone listen to this album and realise what a genius Kurt Cobain really was.


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