Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nirvana - Nevermind

There are no superlatives I can throw at this album that have not already been thrown, so I'll just tell the story of this album as it relates to my life.

In the summer of 1992 my family was in Salt Lake City visiting my Grandma. Every year we would come and spend some time working on her house. I had the pleasure of cleaning out a room in which someone had thrown their pocket change on the floor at the end of every day for years on end. I collected quite a bit of money from the floor, and I decided I needed to buy some serious music. My older sister walked me down to the local record store and I bought Nevermind on cassette with change. I'm sure the guy at checkout was thrilled to count my dimes.

I had never heard Nirvana before purchasing this album. All I knew was that they were cool. My friends and I used to sit and talk about bands in terms of how cool they made you for listening to them. None of us had any money (we were 12 years old), and none of us owned our own music. When I bought Nevermind, I bought something that made me legitimately cool although I had no idea why at the time. I snuck a listen to the album on my sister's walkman and was almost terrified by how loud and angry it was. It didn't take me long to really love the album, though.

Fast forward a month or so and my parents started noticing changes in me. I was generally less happy. I was short-tempered. I walked around with a serious look on my face. What I thought I was doing was becoming cool in exactly the way that Kurt Cobain would. What my parents saw was early teenage rebellion. They didn't like it one bit. My Dad asked what I paid for my Nirvana tape. He paid me what I paid, confiscated my cassette, and smashed it.

Nevermind, more than any other album, is a symbol of rebellion for me. Of course I own it now as an adult and it doesn't make me walk around with a permanent scowl. Nevertheless, I can't listen to the album without remembering what it felt like to do something that my parents genuinely didn't like (up until my experience with Nirvana, I had been a pretty straight arrow). I honestly don't know how things would have turned out if I had bought something else with that change I found. Nevermind was the perfect album at the perfect time.

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