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ICONS ARE BETTER #5: KURT COBAIN

The Reluctant Icon.

One of the first cassette tapes I ever owned had two songs on it: one was by Kenickie (remember them?), the other was Smells Like Teen Spirit. I played it on an endless loop.

I grew up with the music of Nirvana and listening to the voice of Kurt Cobain. I still listen to them today.

Kurt Cobain was, and is still, an icon. There’s plenty of iconography that goes along with him, at least. Posters of him adorned millions of walls. He graced the cover of Rolling Stone. His face became the face of an entire movement. He became the man who was credited with changing the course of modern music.

The sad irony is that there were countless other bands on that grunge scene, many of which Cobain himself would say were better than Nirvana. It just so happened that his band was in the right place at the right time, and had the right kind of energy. Something about his music, and about him, spoke to people and connected with them in a way he could never have anticipated. This, in the age of an emergent MTV, catapulted him to fame.

It was ultimately the pressure to perform, to represent, to speak, to be an icon, that led to his decline into addiction and depression.

The face of a movement, the voice of a generation, an icon, yes. But, sadly, only reluctantly.

Ellie Beecroft – Planning Director at mcgarrybowen

Follow Ellie on Twitter @ms_beecy