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Kurt Cobain - pretentious?


Silver Supporting Member
you’re a pill....
keep on stamping your feet, but please don’t hold your breath over this ... as if I cared if you cared that I cared whether you cared... and you keep going on about it. :dude

"They aren't good because I don't like them." —-> you’re not quoting me and that’s not my opinion, why would you say that? :bonk
... if you’re hearing voices please seek help don’t get triggered over Cobain/Nirvana. :idea
OK Boomer


Silver Supporting Member
What makes you say that?

Coincidentally, Bob Dylan really liked the song "Polly." After hearing Nirvana perform it he said it was his favorite song of the evening, and on Cobain as a songwriter he's quoted as having said "The kid has heart."
the sad thing is, this guy doesn’t know the meaning behind “Polly.” He thinks a song about a bird. It’s a song written about a girl who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. The song is from the kidnapper’s point of view. When you listen to the lyrics from that perspective, it’s a great song.
Loud....soft...loud ...soft. Any Nirvana/Pixies tune explained in 3 seconds. Corporate 90s alternative college radio. No thanks. Give me the Brainbombs, Flipper, early Swans, and This Heat.
It's Ted from Flippers birthday today !

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A lot of interesting perspectives in this thread, along with some “interesting” perspectives ...

Like it or not, Kurt Cobain was a brilliant songwriter and Nirvana was well placed to take that Husker Du/Pixies/Dinosaur Junior sound into the mainstream. And yes, he made mistakes because someone shoved a mic into his face and he said some things he probably shouldn’t - remember John Lennon and “The Beatles are bigger than Jesus”?

And as much as Kurt despised a lot of the music around him, he was all-in with bands he loved - just like any musician in their twenties. The Meat Puppets, Bob Mould, Melvins, Nick Drake, Sonic Youth and many other acts got a major boost thanks to Kurt giving them props.

I remember my older brother absolutely *hated* Nirvana, but one time I played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at an acoustic jam and afterwards he turned to me and said, “Holy ****, that’s a beautiful song! Who does that?”
He was floored when I told him it was Nirvana.


Silver Supporting Member
Sits back and wonders why we just can't enjoy the fracking music and the incredible sounds that humans can create and can instantly recognize as produced and made by any particular individual or collective of humans.



Never listened to them much, but I really liked them for annoying the chauvinistic, lame ass baby boomers....


Kurt Cobain famously would publicly criticize and even mock bands that he didn’t like, especially “cock rock” bands. The most notorious case was that of Guns N Roses, in part because that escalated to a personal feud with Axl Rose - and anything involving Axl is bound to be controversial (side note: “In Bloom” might as well have been written about Axl, who was a Nirvana fan and initially wanted to strike up a friendship with Kurt).

However, there were others. Famously, Kurt would profess his loathing of Pearl Jam’s music, even though to his credit he always went out of a way to stress that Eddie Vedder was a great guy. His claim, if I remember correctly, was that bands like Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains were “total commercial cock rock” who were “riding the wave of Seattle”, or something along those lines. The implication is that these bands weren’t “authentic” or were sell-outs of some sort.

Yet I do think Kurt protested too much; is there a more commercial, polished, radio-friendly album from that scene than Nevermind (especially when contrasted with Bleach)? I wonder if Kurt was secretly jealous of Pearl Jam’s massive success c.1992 - they were, after all, the only “grunge” act than could go toe-to-toe with Nirvana in popularity at that time...

Ultimately, it’s weird for me to read about or hear power-pop fans like Kurt Cobain complain about “arena rock”, as if he resented a massive number of people enjoying that music. Granted, Kurt seemingly resented a massive number of people enjoying his music; me thinks he was projecting a lot of his own insecurities regarding fame and artistic integrity on to the likes of Pearl Jam.

A talented but fatally troubled young man who has been gone 26 years and counting. Meanwhile, Foo Fighters have become and continue to be massive - I don’t I think I’ve ever heard Dave Grohl complain. And ironically, Pearl Jam consciously chose the anti-commercial path after becoming very big in a very short period of time - and right around Kurt’s death, too. Interesting...
I mean, you haven't really given a good reason for thinking he's pretentious. You've stated that he disliked certain bands. If that makes him pretentious, then we're all pretentious. If you like all music, there's something wrong with you, cause most music out there is garbage.

You've stated he was possibly jealous of Pearl Jam's success. Even if it were true, that doesn't make him pretentious, and it's also pretty silly considering Nirvana was the most famous band in the world at the time.

Why can't he complain about arena rock? Arena rock sucks. Why does it matter how many people like it? Are you implying that disliking popular music makes someone pretentious? Or are you saying that if he dislikes a genre that is popular then he can't utilize elements in his music that can be labeled 'pop-influenced"? Can't say I agree with any of that.

I think you're associating "sell-out" with "pop." Kurt liked pop music and didn't hide it. He stated in several interviews that Nevermind was taking a pop route. "Sell-out" would instead refer to creating music that is not in line with your true tastes but that instead seeks to capitalize on the latest trend.

Also, I'd say that Nevermind is 'grungier' and more 'punk' (for lack of better words) than anything coming from Pearl Jam or Alice. We know they weren't happy with the production and thought it was too polished. But more importantly, it's easy to get tunnel-vision because of Kurt's melodic genius which makes it so catchy and, therefore, radio-friendly. Yet consider how many elements you would never find on a Pearl Jam or Alice album. A song like Something in the Way? Songs like Breed and Stay Away? How about the screaming? Can you find any screaming in Pearl Jam or Alice? Nope. And I don't just mean Territorial Pissings screaming, I'm talking about the vocal quality which is found in most songs, including Teen Spirit. I mean, comeon, Endless Nameless? Yeah it's a hidden track, but it's still on there.

John Quinn

Kurt Cobain famously would publicly criticize and even mock bands that he didn’t like, especially “cock rock” bands.
I'd like to add my 2 cents worth - Creative people often have flaw personalities. I think the two might be related - it may be that Mental Illness is what unlocks the muse.

Kurt Cobain was very flawed and contradictory - and he fueled his behavior with drugs like heroin - which IMO - drove him over the edge. With that in mind anything he said about anything like life, bands or people should be taken with a 5 lb rock of salt. Generally he was a mixed bag of alienation and loneliness - and he would often say things that were the Polar opposite of what he said he wanted. He definitely spent a lot of time trying to block his emotions - but music cracked him wide open- and I think the more famous he became the worse (in his mind) his lot was.


Silver Supporting Member
yr telling me a depressed twentysomething heroin addict with a debilitating GI disorder was grumpy sometimes?


Kurt was insecure, anxious, depressed and, based on some of his statements and actions, possibly didn't like himself.

Depressed and anxious people think things like "once I accomplish X, I'll be happy and things will be better." Anxious, depressed people then strive for X, making sacrifices and not enjoying any current aspect of their lives, only to find that, even if they obtain their goal, their success hasn't magically fixed their problems, particularly their mental illness.

I'm guessing that Kurt thought fame and success would be a magical cure-all for his mental health issues, and when they weren't, and when there was no next X goal to pursue myopically, his feelings of despair and hopelessness likely increased.

To mask and cope with his insecurities, Kurt often engaged in eccentric behavior and criticized others. This isn't a defense of him bashing other musicians, but he definitely wasn't pretentious (i.e., thinking that he was better than everyone else). If anything, I think, deep down, he thought that he wasn't good enough and that he never would be.

Significant substance abuse issues (coupled with the anxiety and depression, themselves) likely made it difficult for him to think clearly about these issues.

I think the real takeaway is that bona fide anxiety and depression are drastically different from feeling down because something in your life isn't going great. They're persistent diseases that require life-long management.


It was time for a change. Nirvana was a breath of fresh air. I still listen to it now and then. I had quoted so many posts in this thread but I’ll just let it go with a pic..

There is an Adam Neely video about how the music from your early teens strikes you harder than ever.
It was my case, I was exposed to Nirvana, Offspring, Metallica And Rage at 12, they keep a special place forever.

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