Monday, July 14, 2008

Number 480 - Nirvana

Number 480


"Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam"
Kurt Cobain 20.02.67 to 05.04.94
No album/CD is more gut wrenching than Nirvana's "Unplugged" from 1993. You could tell from just hearing the album, if not from seeing the concert on DVD, that something was wrong in Cobain's world.
Even the play list for the "Unplugged" album was eerily crafted as if for a wake, hell, the stage for "Unplugged" was only missing a coffin with someone in it.
I guess, what ever thoughts that were going through Kurt Cobain's head at the time of "Unplugged" makings are best summed up by this paragraph and so if I may quote ......."Cobain suggested that the stage be decorated with stargazer lilies, black candles, and a crystal chandelier. Cobain's request prompted the show's producer to ask him, "You mean like a funeral?", to which the singer replied .. yes" . It sort of makes you wonder, if God was real, [I'm agnostic - not atheist] did Kurt become a sunbeam after all?
Accoustically plugged
If In Utero is a suicide note, MTV Unplugged in New York is a message from beyond the grave, a summation of Kurt Cobain's talents and pain so fascinating, it's hard to listen to repeatedly. Is it the choice of material or the spare surroundings that make it so effective? Well, it's certainly a combination of both, how the version of the Vaselines' "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam" or the three covers of Meat Puppets II songs mean as much as "All Apologies" or "Something in the Way." This, in many senses, isn't just an abnormal Nirvana record, capturing them in their sincerest desire to be R.E.M. circa Automatic for the People, it's the Nirvana record that nobody, especially Kurt, wanted revealed.
Worldwide hit
It's a nakedly emotional record, unintentionally so, as the subtext means more than the main themes of how Nirvana wanted to prove its worth and diversity, showcasing the depth of their songwriting. As it turns out, it accomplishes its goals rather too well; this is a band, and songwriter, on the verge of discovering a new sound and style. Then, there's the subtexts, as Kurt's hurt and suicidal impulses bubble to the surface even as he's trying to suppress them. Few records are as unblinkingly bare and naked as this, especially albums recorded by their peers. No other band could have offered covers of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" and the folk standard "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" on the same record, turning in chilling performances of both -- performances that reveal as much as their original songs. ~ [Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide]
The Performance for "Unplugged"
Nirvana had been in negotiations with MTV to appear on its acoustic-based show MTV Unplugged for some time. It was while touring with the Meat Puppets that frontman Kurt Cobain finally accepted. The band wanted to do something different than a typical MTV Unplugged episode for its performance. According to Dave Grohl, "We'd seen the other Unpluggeds and didn't like many of them, because most bands would treat them like rock shows -- play their hits like it was Madison Square Garden, except with acoustic guitars." The group looked at Mark Lanegan's 1990 album The Winding Sheet as a source of inspiration. Among the ideas the band members came up with included covering David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" and inviting members of the Meat Puppets to join them on stage. Still, the prospect of performing an entirely acoustic show made Cobain nervous.
Plugged in
The band dedicated two days to rehearsals. The rehearsal sessions were tense and difficult, with the band running into problems performing various songs. During the sessions, Cobain disagreed with MTV as to how the performance should be presented. Producer Alex Coletti recollected that the network was unhappy with the band's choice of the Meat Puppets as guests ("They wanted to hear the 'right' names-Eddie Vedder or Tori Amos or God knows who", Coletti recalled) and the dearth of hit Nirvana songs on the set list. Upset, the day before filming was set to take place Cobain refused to play. However, he appeared at the studio the following afternoon. Cobain was suffering from drug withdrawal and nervousness at the time; one observer said, "There was no joking, no smiles, no fun coming from him . . . Therefore, everyone was more than a little worried about his performance.
Nirvana taped its performance for MTV Unplugged on November 18, 1993, at Sony Studios in New York City. Despite the show's premise, Cobain insisted on running his acoustic guitar through his amplifier and effects pedals. Coletti built a fake box in front of the amplifier to disguise it as a monitor wedge. Coletti said, "It was Kurt's security blanket. He was used to hearing this guitar through his Fender. He wanted those effects. You can hear it on 'The Man Who Sold The World.' It's an acoustic guitar, but he's obviously going through an amp." Unlike many artists who appeared on the show, Nirvana filmed its entire performance in a single take. The band's fourteen-song set list included six cover versions. The group shied away from playing its better-known songs; the only hit the band performed was its 1992 single "Come as You Are". Ten songs in, Cris and Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets joined the band onstage to perform three of their group's songs with Nirvana. The set ended with a performance of the song "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" by blues musician Lead Belly. After the band finished, Cobain argued with the show's producers, who wanted an encore. Cobain refused because felt he could not top the performance of that song. ~[Source:Wikipedia]
For R.E.M see Number 597 & Number 712
For David Bowie see Number 495 & Number 634
For Foo Fighters see Number 535
For more Foo Fighters visit MM Vol 1 #012
For Hole see Number 507
For more Hole visit MM Vol 1#030
For Eddie Vedder see Number 505
For more Eddie Vedder visit MM Vol 1 #116
What does Rolling Stone think of Nirvana?
Nirvana is widely credited with bringing the sound and spirit of late-'70s punk rock to a mainstream pop audience. In 1991 the Seattle-based trio took the angry, nihilistic message of the Sex Pistols' landmark 1977 single "Anarchy in the U.K." to #6 (#1 Modern Rock) with its own sarcastic blueprint for frustration, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Nirvana's reign was tragically cut short slightly more than two years later, on April 5, 1994, when leader Kurt Cobain took his own life following at least one earlier suicide attempt and severe bouts with drug addiction, a chronic stomach ailment, and depression. He was 27. ~ [source:from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001) ]
For Sex Pistols see Number 500
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '480th Song of all Time' was "Into The Mystic" by Van Morrison. Van Morrison has appeared in The Definitive 1000 @ Number 987
Other songs with reference to Nirvana #495, #499, #505, #506, #507, #535, #554, #559, #561, #585, #640, #650, #653, #656, #677, #680, #751, #765, #770, #795, #811, #845, #864, #880, #904, #949, #975, #984
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (not this one buddy) the Album ranked at 311
This song has a crowbarred rating of 76.1 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z




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