Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Album and the Story of Kurt Cobain


Gabrielle Beers, Intro Reporter

 Many people know Kurt Cobain because of his iconic and influential rock music, which was produced in the 1980’s-90’s. Cobain was born on February 20, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington. At 14, he bought his first guitar, with which he experimented various styles of music.

By his early 20’s, Cobain formed the band Nirvana; he was known as lead vocalist and guitarist. Their first album, Bleach, released in 1989, received a reasonable amount of attention, leading to the band going on tour in the US and an international concert in England. His band’s most famous album, Nevermind, released in the fall of 1991, contains multiple well-known songs like: Come As You Are and Smells Like Teen Spirit. This album shocked the industry and immediately turned popular culture on its head.

After their second album, which was unsuccessful, the band decided to switch label companies and added Dave Grohl as their permanent drummer. This is when Nevermind released, and they started receiving more attention from the media and the industry. The Nevermind album earned its first nomination at the 34th Grammy Awards for ‘Best Alternative Music Album’. 

Ranging from repression to sexism and religion, the Nevermind album tells many stories in unique ways. The whole song, On a Plain, featured in the Nevermind album, really stands out to me. This song states “love myself better than you,” relating to Cobain’s drug addiction and how in the end, people would do anything it takes to fix themselves no matter what.

Another song in this album that stands out is Lithium. This song is a study on mental health and introduces Cobain during a psychotic break. A lot of Cobain’s music relates to the real world and mental illness. Cobain did a great job of expressing highs and lows through his music.

Some tracks, like Smells Like Teen Spirit, are overplayed. In fact, even Kurt himself didn’t like this song because it shined light on a past relationship he wanted to forget. He eventually said, “‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ isn’t superior to any other songs that I have produced.”

Many people who bullied or ignored Cobain in high school came to his concerts to see him perform. Cobain saw this as disingenuous and said, “I literally want to throw my guitar down and walk away. I can’t pretend to have a good time playing it.”

This album really shows Kurt’s style and how he portrays messages through his songs, songs intended to be easily understood but in a clever and artistic way.