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I FOUND VERY LITTLE TO agree with in Glenn Dixon’s review of the various posthumous Nirvana/Kurt Cobain products now on the market (Music, 1/6). Though I have enjoyed and been engaged by much of Nirvana’s music, I have yet to find myself “looking for a clue to the extraordinariness of the music.”
Dixon’s “Nirvana vs. R.E.M.” and “Cobain as the anti-Stipe” notions are unnecessary as well as unfounded, particularly considering Cobain and Stipe’s friendship. Besides, as far as recommendations from celebrities go, I’d rather explore the atmospheric treasures of Hugo Largo (whom Brian Eno champions) than any of the sludge the Melvins dredge up.
Having never “attempted a home version of Cobain’s fuzz-box-larynxed howl,” I don’t require any lozenges to comfortably say that I can’t imagine mistaking Tori Amos’ cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for a powerful memorial to anything but crass commercialism. However, at one point I thought I heard Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” waiting to emerge—or was that from a Lenny Kravitz record?
Anyway, does Dixon really believe that for all the post-hardcore bands, Cobain was the “only one to twist mundane traumas into such transcendent music”? If so, I’m sure fellow Washington City Paper writer Mark Jenkins could introduce him to a few new records.
If Dixon examines his own critical language, especially at points like his description of Cobain’s “appalling battle with smack,” he will probably find a lot in common with the “sentimental hacks at Rolling Stone who also insist on trying to view the “blast-scattered pulp” of a rock godhead they helped create.