Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana) – day 7
For those of you around my age, there will always be pivotal moments in musical history which you will remember exactly where you were when they occurred: The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, the murder of John Lennon, the launch of MTV, and the first time you heard Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. It was during that last moment that you knew music was about to change forever.
The sound was angry and confrontational, and we could not get enough. This moment in music history opened a floodgate of sound that changed the game. It defined the anguish of that generation completely, from banned lyrics to parental labels to formats of radio stations. No one really knew which end was up anymore. I actually remember listening to Casey Kasem who, for all intents and purposes was a dinosaur by this time, and he had no idea how to even categorize this band or this song. MTV played the video to death. Culture kids could not get enough. Style went from polo shirts and golf sweaters to sleeveless flannel hoodies literally overnight.
But where it counts is in the sound. Eerie, cryptic, unsettling. Lyrics you could hear but didn’t quite understand. Mosquitos and libidos. Here we are now, entertain us.
This song and the movement of grunge that followed were do defining for me as someone who already identified as different and outside the norm. To see and be part of such a musical and cultural shift was something I won’t ever forget. Like the news of John Lennon being killed outside his Manhattan apartment by an unassuming stranger, the other moment in music history that I’ll never forget, and both were brutal and unforgiving.
Here we are now, entertain us.