It was the summer of 2007, and I would soon be turning 17. Like so many others that age, I was depressed and felt powerless. I had been listening to music voraciously for the past 20-21 months. My taste was very eclectic and not limited to one genre like most teens. My two favorite bands were Radiohead and Rage Against The Machine, but I was also a huge fan of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Primus, Muse, Brand New, Coheed & Cambria, and Boys Night Out. My passion for listening to albums went beyond mere enjoyment. I felt lost inside my own body. I didn’t know who “I” was, so I searched for my identity in music.
It was during this period in my life I finally listened to Nevermind. I knew about the album since middle school, but the hipster in me hated popular things. High schoolers love few things more than Nirvana.
After spinning Nevermind for the first time, I wasn’t impressed. The songwriting was ridiculously simple. Certain tracks were so repetitive and catchy I had a hard time believing Cobain and not some label executive wrote them. I understood roughly 25% of the lyrics. I liked “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and that was it. So I took the album, threw it in a drawer, and forgot about it for a while.
I don’t remember exactly when, but sometime during my junior year I became obsessed with the song “Heart Shaped Box”. Because I was broke, instead of buying In Utero I decided to give Nevermind a second chance. Suddenly, I understood why so many teenagers loved this album and revered Cobain like a god. He was an incredibly beautiful man for starters, but it went beyond mere looks. He was a sloppy guitarist and vocalist, but made music anyway. No matter what problems life threw at him, he was apathetic. His development was arrested as a depressed teenager, so he understood the anger, pain, and confusion of growing up. Best of all, he wouldn't judge you. “Come as you are/As you were/As you always have been”.