Just let me hear some of that rock and roll music
Any old way you choose it
It’s got a back beat, you can’t blues it
Any old time you use it
Gotta be rock ‘n’ roll music
If you wanna dance with me…
So said the Beatles, who spouted eternal truths. I know they were referring to the fifties, but for me it’s all about 90’s grunge with Nirvana in the front seat. Remember back in the day…
I was a teenager then in looks, age, and spirit–dirty hair, ragged clothes, not a care in the world. Unkempt meant cool. What, after all, was grunge? It didn’t boil down to things as simple as a poor appearance. It was a philosophy about life and music that suited a disenfranchised group on the edge of adulthood and all its alleged disappointments. It was rebellious, ingenious, threatening, and anti-social. In other words, it was awesome.
You couldn’t just stop washing and cutting your hair. It was deeper than that, which is while it still lingers in my soul. Thank God the toenail fungus I had isn’t still there. It was a mark of my social rejection and downtrodden lifestyle. In that regard, it was too much grunge!
Nirvana was the first great band I ever heard, and it may be the last. As fans, we know who we are. It hit you in the face as a kid and dug deep into your soul. Michael Jackson and Madonna couldn’t touch the feeling it evoked. Heavy metal was just sound—too polished and laden with eyeliner and sequins. It was all party music, nothing emotionally introspective like what was to come.
Reminiscing is great. I don’t have to reach too far back since for me the era is still part of my current reality. It was a landmark musical style that almost became too popular for its own good. I kind of like to be underground, not mainstream. I suppose it comes with the territory. The new and avant-garde are always pre-empted eventually by mass taste. It’s a good thing, however, as it keeps the music alive. No matter that it became inaccessible to some in the long run, too edgy and too abrasive.
The media spotlight was always on Kurt Cobain when he was alive, and still is in death. He was the exemplar of grunge critical success. It is like yesterday in my mind. Kids retain what truly impacts them forever. Now you can ironically call me old-fashioned since I hark back so far in the past. These were formative years for rock, which had much deeper roots, but nothing at this level of distortion and novel dynamics—and it came out of Seattle. Trends wax and wane no matter how important they are.
So the kid with the toenail fungus has a memory for that great alternative music in his younger years. He keeps it going and moving forward as the epitome of youth, aggression, non-theatrical authenticity, and raw emotion.