Smells Like twenty years ago

18 08 2011

Nirvana’s Nevermind album turns 20 this September.  The rock magazines, like Spin, are already starting to do their retrospective on the album and its impact on _____ generation.

A few things really jump out at me during this run-up to the anniversary.  One, I hated “Smells Like Teen Spirit” when it first came out, and I’m still not a fan.   I turn it off, change the station or forward to another song if I hear it.  I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I find that song to be grossly overrated and downright annoying, despite the fact that it rocks.

Two, I love the album!  This might be underselling it a bit, but it’s one of the 10-ish best albums of the last 20 years.  I’m sure many people would say it’s the best.  Simply as a matter of personal preference, I like some other stuff better.  But I think it’s safe to call it amazing on some levels.  In my humble opinion, I think the hype around “Teen Spirit” drags the whole thing down for me.

Three, it’s Nirvana’s best album by miles.  That’s probably stating the obvious , but I do know some people that like Bleach and In Utero better.  Unplugged was massive, too.  I don’t care for those other albums, at least not now.  They were alright 15-20 years ago, but they no longer speak to me.  I can still crank Nevermind, though.

Four, Nevermind turning 20 makes me wonder, “Where did all the years go?”  Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came out four years before I was born.   That was the Baby Boomers’ Nevermind, if you will.   In 1987, there was all the “It was 20 years ago today…” magazine and newspaper articles, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s.  There was a lot of hype around that and a lot of retrospectives.   Being a teen at that time, I remember thinking, “Man, that album came out a long time ago! It’s old!”  Twenty years after Nevermind, my reaction is, “Man, that album couldn’t have come out 20 years ago, could it have?  It only seems like a few years ago…” The baby on that iconic cover, Spencer Elden, is now a grown man.

That’s simply a matter of aging and noticing that, while time rolls by at the same pace, the years feel shorter as they go.   I wonder if there is something in the Theory of Relativity that explains that phenomenon.  I know the math behind the felling.  When you’re 5, one year is 20% of your life.  When you’re 20, one year is 5% of your life.  I’m the ripe old age of 40, so one year is a mere 2 1/2 % of my life.  Twenty years ago ain’t what it used to be, I guess.





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