Kurt, Dave and Krist; otherwise known as Nirvana, easily the best grunge band ever. Trying to sum up the essence of Nirvana in just a few hundred words is extremely difficult, as they’re one of those effortlessly classic, timeless bands who really shook up the rock music industry and changed what music is to people; not just what music is, but what it means, and how it feels.
Kurt hit the nail on the head of embodying pain and regret and anger through music, turning to the heavy intensity of grunge music as his outlet for his pain and depression and addiction. As you grow up and get older, experiencing new things and discovering new things about life (like love, and heartbreak, and addiction), that’s when Nirvana really hit you in that special way, and when you can properly get their music.
Few bands have left the same impact on rock music that Nirvana did, and that’s what sets them apart from any other group from that time. The band shaped American music in the 90s, establishing a bitter, gritty Seattle grunge scene, focusing on the core of rock music; full of passion, pain, and that authentic punk DIY ethic.
Quietly reserved and almost humbled by their success, Nirvana are one of the most relatable groups ever to have existed I think. Never blinded by their immense fame and success, Nirvana were that band that outsiders could relate to, the band that stuck to their roots and didn’t give a shit what people thought.
Not only did they make grunge rock music more popular (and I guess in that sense, commercial), but they created a legacy of underground DIY grunge, shining a light on the dirty rock scene in the USA.
What I love so much about Nirvana too is their values of tolerance and acceptance, with Kurt being actively and aggressively pro minority rights, women’s rights and gay rights. They were a big middle finger to the music industry, and shattered the music scene with their ‘no shit’ anti-establishment message.
Whilst the band are most known for their classic hits like Lithium, Come As You Are and Smells Like Teen Spirit, the tracks which have always hit me the hardest, and the ones I’ve resonated the most with have been those weird little B-sides and rare hidden demo tracks.
When it comes to the core of the current rock scene, and what DIY grunge music actually is, Nirvana are at the very heart of this.
Top 20 Nirvana tracks you should know:
- You Know You’re Right
- Paper Cuts
- Milk It
- Love Buzz
- I Hate Myself And Want To Die
- Big Cheese
- Something In The Way
- Pennyroyal Tea
- Rape Me
- In Bloom
- Where Did You Sleep Last Night
- Heart-Shaped Box