May 16th, 2008 // 29 Comments

AP9602140239.jpgAlong with his Foghat purchase, Michael Stipe revealed in his Death & Taxes interview that he still has a hard time listening to Nirvana albums following Kurt Cobain’s suicide. “It was all written, it was all right there and it was so obvious where he was going, and then he didn’t make it. I still have trouble–I can’t listen to an entire Nirvana record.” Can you? I’m not suggesting that less than regular play shows a lack of appreciation, but I’m curious if others find themselves less than likely to put Nevermind or In Utero on for entertainment, due to the nature of Cobain’s passing or not. Has it been ages since you heard “On A Plain” or did “Heart Songs” inspire you to play the album with a baby on it who was naked on it?

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  1. shpanky

    Honestly, living in LA and listening to KROQ completely burned me out on Nirvana. They still constantly play Nirvana to this day and I just have no desire to listen to their records anymore.

  2. NeverEnough

    @shpanky: Agreed. I heard them so much back in the day that it killed any appreciation for them.

  3. janine

    I don’t really listen to the radio and a hadn’t heard them for a few years. Then i got Motorstorm, which reminded me of their existence. Pretty great.

  4. jfk1624

    Nirvana’s music is something that I can’t listen to mindlessly the way one listens to the radio. It isn’t even something I could listen to alone on a long drive. I feel somehow like it demands, nay, deserves my full attention. It is music that I choose to listen to specifically, as opposed to music that can just fill the silence in a room. I want to say that’s entirely the result of the quality of the music, but I feel the same way about Elliot Smith’s music, so maybe it is that you’re not merely listening to them recite words matched to stirring music–you’re ultimately listening to their last will and testament.

  5. FionaScrapple

    I got a nice mixdisc of the stuff that never made the radio. I like to pull it out now and then and it never fails to rock.

  6. tankboy

    It’s been a while, but any time I throw a Nirvana album on I’m still amazed by it.

  7. dippinkind

    i’ve been burt out on nevermind and in utero since probably before he died, but i still put on negative creep or a couple other of the early songs sometimes and continue to enjoy them just fine.

  8. How do I say this ... THROWDINI!

    @tankboy: Yeah, this is me too. Sometimes when I have my iPod on random, a song will come on, and I’ll think to myself, “god damn this kicks ass.” I think that if I still have this thought all these years later, its not because of the “cultural significance” or whatever of Nivana/Kurt, but because the music is, quite simply, great.

  9. mhale0

    I was a little burned on Nirvana too, not so much because of Cobain’s suicide but because of overexposure. Nowadays though, when I do hear one of their songs, I’m consistently impressed. Much more so than with songs by their contemporaries like Alice in Chains (did I really like them? Really?).

  10. jetblackturd

    It does hurt a bit when I listen to my Nirvana records. I was ten when Kurt died, and it was so utterly shocking to me at that age. So I still can’t really listen to Nevermind or In Utero that often. But the cool thing is, I just go off and listen to all the other millions of records I discovered through Nirvana. Nirvana, like REM, are one of those ‘gateway’ bands via whom you enter a whole other world of wonderful music. Everything from Sonic Youth to Dinosaur to Wipers to Beat Happening to Daniel Johnston, (who I just saw live on Tuesday in Belfast!), even Os Mutantes! I found it all through Nirvana. That band made me into who I am. An indie rock fan.

  11. LAKingsin2009

    But wasn’t the question whether one wouldn’t listen to Nirvana due to the fact that Cobain shot himself with a shotgun? In my case, the nature of an artist’s death has little to do with whether I listen or not. For one thing, think of how many artists you wouldn’t be able to listen to. And it isn’t just due to obvious suicides, I doubt the King’s death was pretty.

  12. Chris Molanphy

    Sheez, Stipe – by that rationale, I shouldn’t be able to listen to Plastic Ono Band, either.

    Short answer: no problem for me – Nevermind, Unplugged (a much eerier record, when you think about it), Smith’s Either/Or – all listenable. Michael’s gotta get a little less sensitive.

  13. NeverEnough

    I just listened to “Live Through This” for the first time in ages and was surprised at how fantastic it was. It’s difficult to think of a time when Courtney wasn’t the human embodiment of embarrassment.

  14. mishaps

    I have to say, I’m with @tankboy and @NeverEnough on this.

    Then again, I didn’t know Cobain personally, and Stipe did. That’s just a whole different ballgame, when it’s someone you knew and (presumably) liked who’s gone.

  15. Chris N.

    I, too, continue to be burned out on Nirvana. That said, I can still enjoy cranking ‘In Utero’ from time to time.

  16. disinterested 3rd party

    After listening to interviews with Butch Vig, the thing that bothers me about Nevermind is how dashed off most of it was. He would only do one of two takes on vocals etc.
    The songs are great, but a little more craft would have probably made them even better.

    The comparison for me is Elvis. I learned in Peter Guralnick’s excellent biography of Elvis, that he recorded his albums in a couple of days, a week max. Even after he rebounded in the late 60′s, he just couldn’t be bothered to work on a song for more than a day.

    I guess I feel that they both had so much talent that was just carelessly used.

  17. Nicolars

    @disinterested 3rd party: On the contrary, I think both would probably be less interesting if they had done more takes. Bands and/or artists who spend a long time in the studio usually produce albums that are lacking in some way, a lot of time the work is too studied or forced.

  18. essdog

    @jfk1624: I feel the same way about Elliott Smith…maybe a little more so than Nirvana. Probably because more time has passed since KC died. I can listen to Bleach and not reflect much on his death. In Utero, not so much. Oh, and Alice in Chains albums require my full attention and are not something I revisit without some major consideration. Seriously depressing, man.

  19. Kurt's Krap

    Ah Nirvana, the 90′s answer to the Knack. Catchy melodies and riffs, forgettable (or in this case unintelligible) lyrics and being in the right place at the right time. Had Cobain lived they would be probably about as relevant as the Knack 15 years on as well.

  20. Clevertrousers

    I found it hard to listen to a Nirvana album all the way through while Cobain was still alive.

  21. Clevertrousers

    @jetblackturd: Good point – I remember seeing REM at the Beacon in NYC as a teenager in the ’80s (Fables tour) and half their set was covers of old garage psych – it was like Nuggets came to life. Peter Buck turned me on to so much music when I was a kid… and then along came “Orange Crush” and I couldn’t stand to listen to REM anymore. But seriously, they are one of the all time great coverbands ever. I would just as happily see them play a full set of covers as I would see them perform all of Murmur…

  22. agolden

    Wow, 90′s answer to the Knack? Really?, Really?
    I guess i must have missed that 1979 was a watershed year in which “My Sharona” kicked off an entire new music movement that changed the industry and ended what had been the prevailing genre flavor of the time.

    I’m not here to say Cobain is god or anything but really guys, WTF have any of us accomplished in comparison.

  23. Halfwit

    @agolden: The guy created an account called “Kurt’s Krap” and, if I’m correct, his avatar is a picture of Saddam Hussein (update: nope, just some old homeless guy). I think we can agree that his opinion is irrelevant.

    @essdog: I feel the same way. I wasn’t really a big fan of Nirvana at the time of Kurt’s death, but Elliott Smith’s death really struck a chord with me. I still listen to his music, but most of his songs can just destroy me if I think about them too much.

  24. Kurt's Krap

    Um, the avatar is Rip Torn. Considering his recent DUI’s he may end up homeless.

    But anyways, yeah…if anything the hair bands killed themselves with absurdity in excess.

    It’s not like Cobain set out to change music. Not really an accomplishment, just a band lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

    At least we got a decent Weird Al parody out of it.

  25. disinterested 3rd party

    @Nicolars: I can agree with that to a degree. Moreso with Cobain than Elvis. However, Elvis’ entire post Army catalog was recorded in the same amount of cumulative hours that Arcade Fire spent on their last album.

  26. punkybunky

    I saw The Knack a few years ago. They rocked pretty well for old guys. Did a pretty decent cover of The Doors’ “Break On Through” as well.

    But back on topic, Nirvana is one of those bands I will never “get.” Grating vocals & dirging songs, not my thing.

  27. Chris N.

    During his first RCA sessions, Elvis would regularly insist on doing many, many takes, long after everyone else in the studio was convinced they’d gotten it. “Heartbreak Hotel” is something like the 27th take, and it’s hard to argue it wasn’t worth it.

  28. disinterested 3rd party

    @Chris N.: True. It was the later post army druggy years where he lost focus. And it wasn’t as if he didn’t spend a lot of time in the studio. He just didn’t get a lot done.

  29. Chris N.

    Hey, those fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches weren’t going to eat themselves!

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