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Eating the Dog Food

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  • March 2004
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Hard as it may be to believe, it has been twelve years since Nirvana's release of Nevermind, the album that most people who still could be referred to as Generation X-ers consider the seminal alternative rock LP of all time. Nirvana's crunching guitars and mangled lyrical stylings may not have the lasting artistic influence of, say, Bach, but for many people the band's widespread commercial and critical success marked a key turning point in radio rock n' roll. The slickly produced, monotonous and insipid music that ruled the 1991 airwaves was finally getting some real competition from bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and others. It was okay to mosh. But where has that passion, that feeling gone to again?

Where it began (enter Nirvana)
Although the late 80's were sprinkled with great guitar rock bands like the Pixies and Husker Du, these bands were little known on a global level. Popular music was concerned more with image and superficial entertainment as what it has grown to again today. This, of course, left the music cold and lacking of any truly emotional qualities. Even the hip-hop and rap of the day was of the light beer, dance hall, diluted to 1% of its strength variety. This atmosphere festered and bred a more apathetic music listener. This tendency also had other disastrous side effects like the decline of live music on a local level as well as many other detrimental by-products, but that's a whole other story. Anyway, the point is pop music was breeding a whole generation of music listeners who were void of passion, and as a result many believed rock music to be dead. Enter Nirvana.

"The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, 'Is there a meaning to music?' My answer would be, 'Yes.' And 'Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be, 'No.'"

- Aaron Copland

Nirvana's sound so brimmed over with passion and intensity that it at first appalled its listeners. Their music...