Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our little group has always been, and always will until the end.

Exactly twenty years ago, on September 24, 1991, Nirvana's second studio album Nevermind was released to the public. The Seattle-based grunge band was not widely known at the time, so Nevermind initially attracted very little notice; nonetheless, Nirvana and Nevermind would steadily grow in popularity over the last few months of 1991, largely thanks to the success of the album's lead single "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Nevermind went on to sell over 30 million copies, conferring celebrity on Nirvana and its lead singer Kurt Cobain and exercising a strong influence on popular music and popular culture at large.

The fact that all of this happened twenty years ago makes me feel somewhat old. Yesterday, I asked some of my students if they knew what significant album was released twenty years ago this weekend; no one was able to provide the correct answer, though one suggested an album by The Beatles - which made me realize that, for today's college students, Nirvana is just as much a part of history (and just as absent from living memory) as The Beatles. Naturally, coming to that realization made me feel older still.

To understand why many regard Nevermind as "the last album to drastically change the course of popular music," read this article by Tony Sclafani. To find out why some have gone further, declaring Nevermind "the most important rock album of all time," consult this piece by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd. AMDG.


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