Kurt Cobain | Teen Ink

Kurt Cobain

June 21, 2019
By kindaamanda BRONZE, Rio Linda, California
kindaamanda BRONZE, Rio Linda, California
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"you can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming" - pablo neruda


The decision to model one's life around a specific idea or person is very easy to do subconsciously without realizing you are connecting their ideas and beliefs, but when trying to actively mirror their attitude, it can be much more difficult to achieve. Getting inspired by someone is easy to do, as it happens daily, but to try and actively fix their beliefs into your life may come unnaturally and require adjustment and persistence to keep up with those beliefs no matter the circumstances. The longer someone or something has actively been an influence to you, the easier it is for you to incorporate their ways into your owns. As someone whose parents are Catholics, the figure of Jesus Christ has worked it's way into my life to devise a symbol of hope and prosperity, though I, myself am not Catholic. However, the influences that you choose to take in on your own accord are often the strongest and chances are have the most meaning.


Throughout the turbulent years of teenagehood, teens often seek out to find a person and idolize a figure that " just gets them". When I hit a point in my life when I became lost and tried growing up too fast, I knew I needed an idol that could decipher my emotions and rearrange them in a way that would make sense for me to listen to them. Several weeks of "soul-searching" led me back to Kurt Donald Cobain, lead singer of grunge band Nirvana, and martyr to many a lost souls. The way Kurt Cobain managed to appeal to an entire generation of teenagers in the early 1990's and today while still remaining humble and centered, inspired many people.His actions and his behavior resonated with me to try and remained humble about myself, but to also say what you mean when you need to say it.


Though being what might be considered a "teen idol", Cobain did not fall victim to ego inflation. With his down-to-earth attitude,as he spoke in radio and television interviews, he spoke in such a tone that I felt like I was listening to one of my family members speak. With his rough and cigarette-damaged voice, he seemed to be sort of an anti-hero of an idol; a man who was homeless as a teen that composed music that was loud and abrasive, and that dealt with topics considered too controversial to be mainstream, such as the song "Rape Me", an anti-rape song. Cobain culminated the essence of the teenage spirit and brought it to the mainstream in a way that was seen as revolutionary. Prior, the anger and frustration of teenagers was limited to various subgenres of rock and metal, and grunge was not quite yet born, limited mostly to underground bands in Seattle, Washington. Kurt pioneered the grunge and rock movement by bringing this type underground energy to a more mainstream audience with the breakout hit of 1991, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The song manages to encapsulate a raw energy I cannot even begin to describe. The manic and raw energy paired with Cobain's guttural vocals with a message of a teenage revolution struck a chord in people that reverberated around the nation and lead him to have the title of a pioneering rock figure at only age 25.

One of the things that appealed to me most about Cobain was the thing we was famous for: his voice. Kurt Cobain spoke out about things that other rock musicians at the time wouldn't talk about. Speaking so openly about homophobia and racism in the hardcore scene rubbed some people the wrong way.To quote simply, "If you're a sexist, racist, homophobe, or basically an ******, don't buy this CD. I don't care if you like me, I hate you." Written in several journal entries, Cobain expressed ideas that were boldly stated: "I like the comfort in knowing that women are the only future in rock and roll", and "the Afro-American invented rock and roll yet has only been rewarded or awarded for their accomplishments when conforming to the white mans standards." The manner in which Cobain presented himself is something to be desired from a male idol. He wore dresses on stage which counter-offset the predominantly hardcore male culture at the time, challenging hypermasculinity. At awards shows, Cobain rarely wore suits, often choosing to forgo them for comfortably faded jeans and worn-out converse sneakers. The humbleness and ways in which he exerted his normalcy and distaste for the Hollywood life really humanized him and made him appeal to people nationally and globally.

The reason I idolized Kurt Cobain was because of what he epitomized: the icon of a cultural movement who understood his place and never went too far out of it, but spoke out because he knew that as a lead singer of popular band this would be his platform to do so. The outright humanness of Cobain is somewhat shocking to see in someone that was so popular. Normally, if you imagine a celebrity, you imagine the superficiality that goes with them by association. With Kurt Cobain, I feel that you only get him in his rawest form, unadulterated from stardom and Hollywood. Although stress and drug habits did cause him to take his own life in 1994, he left a lasting legacy of humility, genuineness, and rawness behind. To quote the man himself, "I'd rather be hated for what I am, than loved for who I am not."



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