Sunday, April 06, 2014

Gone but not forgotten

Blimey. Yesterday marked the twentieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. I may no longer be the complete fanboy of yore, but in honour of the man whose band did more than any other to shape my musical tastes, here are six moments from the Nirvana canon always guaranteed to get the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end:

1. 'School', 0:01. The swell of feedback providing a platform for the central riff of an anthem for petulant, disaffected teenagers everywhere - their first, but not their last...

2. 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 0:01. The iconic riff that never fails to thrill, no matter how times I hear it. Cliched and corny as it might be, this is what really lit the blue touch paper for me.

3. 'Territorial Pissings', 2:13. The way Kurt's voice breaks down at just the point his words give way to screams.

4. 'Stay Away', 3:04. The total collapse of the song into a droning thrum. Dave Grohl's drumming is extraordinary.

5. 'Scentless Apprentice', 0:01. That thumping, utterly distinctive, Albini-recorded drumbeat.

6. 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night?', 4:40. One of the most unbearably pained and emotionally powerful moments in music, no arguments.

My friends Paul and Danny are paying tribute to Kurt in a rather different way this coming Friday: making their debut as Elvana, an Elvis impersonator-fronted Nirvana covers band. Gutted I can't be there - it's bound to be far more respectful than Courtney Love's proposed musical of his life...

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