Thursday, 13 September 2007



Anyone that tells you that they do not like this song is lying. Lying to themselves and lying to their generation to the point of betrayal. Sure the song has been played to death and has caused the listener to experience a sense of overkill but likewise a listen today coming out of the blue from some dodgy FM radio station still has the potential and power to invigorate and thrill, remind a person in their thirties of how in the early nineties all felt as if our world was being won, that our point was being made and acknowledged and with it our parents and elders felt fear.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a once in a lifetime song. The song that represents a whole generation, time and mindset. It was always a great song but the timing (by fortune and fluke) could not have been more perfect. At a time when things were horrible and the emerging breed had to express it, the grimness and power of this song coupled with the images of the video were ripe to spearhead an onslaught. And Nevermind backed this up, displaying that the band was in it for the long game.

I have to concede I hated this song when it first appeared on MTV. Initially I misunderstood the calmness and apparent angst of the band in the face of such dank turmoil. I actually thought Kurt Cobain was arrogant when he looked into the camera with such disdain. I knew he hated me but I didn’t quite realise, what it was that I had done to him. In the end it was nothing.

Anyone says that they don’t like this song is a fucking liar. The song spreads the board and appeals to everyone, which at the end of the day is a major part/element of its undoing. In the same way that an angry small town punk in some buttfuck town was swallowing this song whole, at the same time a jock at his school who was making his life misery would also be pumping the song from his stereo. In my own experience wearing a snot green cardigan to school because I thought it was like Kurt’s there were complete arseholes at the same time into the record (although in England we did have the house/rave tunes for the “cool” kids). That said I have heard of football discos (AFC Wimbledon) where the DJ has dropped this tune and prompted a mass “bundle” by wannabe hooligans. As I said, across the spectrum.

Listening to the song now it awesome immediately. The first few chops of the song build a kind of anticipation so few modern acts have even captured in their entire career before the drums kick in the explosive cacophony of the most devastating riff of our era. As the song heads to the apparent Pixies bassline Kurt begins exhuming his mind with the kind of words only a touched individual might conjure. For a song of seemingly such lyrical nonsense to capture the minds of people and actually resemble some kind of singalong is ultimately a feat beyond feat.

The structure of the song is, dare I say, quite generic. Fast slow fast. Loud quiet loud. What more do you really need from a rock song though? The pay off is there. The dynamics are there. All in all with such a stinging assortment of sounds and players on hand you need no more in order to lose your shit.

There is nothing than can done or said to ruin this song and its legacy. And certainly over the years people sure have tried.

We never had it so good.

Thesaurus moment: gigantic.


No comments: