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Nirvana was an American rock band that was formed by singer / guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. In the composition of the band changed several drummers; the longest, with the group playing drummer Dave Grohl, who joined Cobain and Novoselic in 1990.
In 1989, Nirvana became part of the Seattle music scene, releasing on indie label Sub Pop debut album, Bleach. After signing with major label DGC Records. Nirvana has gained unexpected success with the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from its second album Nevermind, released in 1991. Subsequently, Nirvana entered the music mainstream, popularizada a subgenre of alternative rock called grunge. Kurt Cobain became in the eyes of the media is not just a musician and “the voice of a generation” and Nirvana became the flagship of the “generation X”. In 1993 he released his third and final Studio album, In Utero, songs which musically was very different from the previous works of the team.
A short, but bright history of the group is terminated in connection with the death of Kurt Cobain on 5 April 1994, but in subsequent years, the fame of the team only grew. In 2002 work in progress demo of the song “You Know You’re Right”, on which the group worked shortly before Cobain’s death, ranked first in the world charts. Since the release debut album records Nirvana has sold over 25 million copies in the US and over 50 million worldwide.
Kurt Cobain described the sound of Nirvana as “a Gang Of Four and Scratch Acid ripoff”. When Nirvana recorded Bleach, Cobain decided that they needed to meet the expectations of the Sub Pop in terms of the grunge sound; it suppressed his desire to write lighter songs.
Cobain sought to create a mixture of heavy and light sound. He said: “I wanted to be like Led Zeppelin playing extreme punk rock and do a slow pop songs”. When after recording Bleach Kurt heard the album Surfer Rosa Pixies of the group (released in 1988), I felt that it was exactly the sound he wanted to achieve but couldn’t, trying to play a more heavy grunge song. The Pixies ‘ subsequent popularity persuaded people of the need to follow his musical instincts.
Nirvana in their songs used abrupt transitions from slow, quiet sound to a loud. Shortly before his death, Cobain has said that the group is tired of the monotonous formula of writing music, but at the same time expressed the opinion that the band was hardly skillful enough to try anything else. The style of play Cobain on rhythm guitar, which was based on power chords, low riffs and sloppy right hand, contained the key components of the group’s songs. Cobain would often initially play a song’s verse riff in a clean tone, then double it with distorted guitars when he repeated the part. He rarely played the guitar solo that he was a light variation of the main melody of the song. His solos are mostly based on Blues and guitar sound upset.
Drumming, Grohl “took Nirvana’s sound to a new level of intensity”. Azerrad, the biographer of the group, writes that the “powerful play of Grohl have raised the level of the group to higher standards, both in visual terms and in music,” noting that “while Dave plays the drums very hard, it is quite musical — it is easy to determine what song he plays, even if nobody accompanies”.
During live performances, Cobain and Novoselic would always tune their guitars to E flat Stroy. Cobain once said, “We play so hard we don’t have time to tune our guitars”. The band had a habit of destroying its equipment after shows. Novoselic said he and Cobain created the “shtick” in order to quickly leave the scene. Cobain said that it all began as an expression of his negative emotions, appears from the fact that they are with Chad Channing making mistakes during concerts.
Writing songs and lyrics
The musical Foundation of each song, performance style and texts created Cobain. Usually, he composed melodies with acoustic guitar. He emphasized that Novoselic and Grohl “have a big role in deciding how long and how many parts it should be a song. Therefore, I do not like being considered the sole songwriter.” On the question of which part of the songs he would write first, Cobain responded, “I don’t know. I really don’t know. I guess I start with the verse and then go into the chorus.”
Cobain usually wrote lyrics for songs minutes before recording them. He said: “When I write a song the lyrics are for me the least important. In my song can go through two or three different themes, and the name may not mean anything”. In 1993, in an interview with Spin magazine, Cobain said he was “deeply care” about what is said in the words to the songs from the album Bleach, while the words to the songs from Nevermind were taken from his two years of poems, which he cut up and chose the most suitable lines. As for the last album In Utero, Cobain stated that the lyrics were “more focused on certain topics”.
Legacy and influence
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, music critic site Allmusic.com wrote that prior to Nirvana, “alternative music was not taken seriously by major record companies.” After the release of Nevermind “everything has changed, it is not clear for the worse or for the better.” The success of Nevermind not only popularized grunge, but also established “the cultural and commercial viability of alternative rock in General”. Other groups had hits before, but according to Erlewine, it is Nirvana “forever broke down the barriers” between the worlds of alternative rock and popular music. Erlewine also notes that Nirvana’s breakthrough “didn’t eliminate the underground”, and “opened it” for the audience. In 1992 John Pareles, a journalist for The New York Times reported that Nirvana’s breakthrough record companies became interested in groups that play alternative music. Representatives of the companies entered into transactions with them and tried to quickly reach the mainstream.
Erlewein argues that Nirvana’s breakthrough “popularized so-called Generation X and the culture of slackers”. Immediately after the death of Cobain on the Nirvana’s frontman as “the voice of a generation”, although he himself during his life he denied this label. Ten years after Cobain’s death Eric Olsen with the news channel MSNBC wrote: “Over the past decade, Cobain, a small, frail but handsome man in life, has become an abstract Generation X icon, which many see as the last real rock star Messiah and Martyr whose every utterance was pillaged and analysed”.
Many bands and performers have more than once claimed that Nirvana had a great influence on their work and their decision to start studying music. Among them, Limp Bizkit, Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars, Seether, Flyleaf, and others. Tim Ritchie, musical Director of Radio National, comparing the work of the Sex Pistols and Nirvana (thereby comparing the climax of the punk movement and the grunge movement, respectively), wrote that “the influence of Nirvana is much more Sex Pistols”, because Nirvana didn’t just affect musicians, it affected the mainstream in General. Craig Mathieson, author of two books about the rise of Australian indie scene in the 90-ies, wrote (as Erlewein) that the main merit of Nirvana is that she removed the barriers between corporate labels and indie music.