Friday, March 26, 2004

RIP Kurt Cobain

With the tenth anniversary of the great lyricist and composer’s death fast approaching, the usual swag of anniversary events have already begun. I’m not ready to see this one at the moment, coz crying in public is just so-o-o embarrassing (especially when at one of Melbourne’s most pretentious cafes).

There was also a good doco on “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on SBS the other night. Personally, give me “Lithium” over “Teen Spirit”, any day.

But that’s all right, too – some take the Meseglise Way, others the Guermantes.

Update 27 March 2004

Last night I was thinking about the lyrics to “Lithium” – specifically whether one could call it a song of religious ecstasy (which, if it was, would probably make it the first one of any note written in English for hundreds of years). By “religious” I don’t mean to connote any specific deity or even anything necessarily theistic (although the song does mention god/God). As for “ecstasy” – believe it or not, kiddies, this word once had a quite salubrious meaning, before it became the street name for MDMA in the mid-80s. And despite “Lithium”, of course, being literally about a drug high, I’m still clinging on to the older meaning of “ecstasy” here.

Today, the Herald-Sun ran its tenth anniversary story, and couldn’t help but give it a nasty, tabloid tweak:

Greasy hair, torn flannelette shirts and a no-care attitude were all the rage. Everything was society's fault and no one wanted to be a part of it any more. "Load up on guns and bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend," opening lines of Smells Like Teen Spirit, became the mantra of the new wave of introspection.

Err, Patrick O'Neil, you’re almost certainly too young to remember this, but as “youth reporter”, you should really have done your homework. Popular music does came have a definitive "Load up on guns”-and-fuck-society type track, but it came almost a full decade before “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – whose lyrics you grievously misconstrue, in any case. The lyrics of Pink Floyd’s “The Final Cut” (1983) are a bleak, but fitting-enough tribute to the first four years of our current age, that of Reagan/Thatcher fundamentalism:

If you negotiate the minefield in the drive
And beat the dogs and cheat the cold electronic eyes
And if you make it past the shotgun in the hall,
Dial the combination, open the priesthole
And if I'm in I'll tell you what's behind the wall.

There's a kid who had a big hallucination
Making love to girls in magazines.
He wonders if you're sleeping with your new found faith.
Could anybody love him
Or is it just a crazy dream?

And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?

Now that’s what I call an anthem of a generation.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?