Smells Like Kurt’s Spirit

By Ivette Barajas

Fifty years ago today in gloomy Aberdeen, Washington, “Nirvana” singer Kurt Cobain was born to Wendy Elizabeth and Donald Leland Cobain. Through his lyrics that speak of angst and melancholy, Cobain touched the lives of millions who finally felt as though they had someone, something to relate to. Though Kurt sadly passed in 1994, his legacy lives on, constantly inspiring individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.

As someone born in the late 90’s, I didn’t quite get to ‘experience’ Nirvana as much as I would have hoped to. My parents on the other hand, thrived off of the edgy grunge aura Kurt gave off to his audience. At the peak of Nirvana’s success in 1993, my parents were in their late teens, the perfect age to vibe with the teenage angst theme relevant to Cobain’s lyrics. In ‘93, Cobain was 26, my mom was 18, “Nevermind” and “Bleach” had already come out, but with the successful release of “In Utero” she became completely enthralled by the rock culture that came along with Nirvana. Not only was the music relatable, Kurt had a stage presence like none other she had ever seen before. Nirvana concerts were known for the mosh pits, the crowd surfing, the destroying of instruments, etc. Sure, Nirvana didn’t come up with rock or grunge, but they sure as heck jump started the musical revolution of those genres. According to my mom, “It was just nice finally having an artist that didn’t care. Whenever Nirvana came on the radio, it was three minutes filled with headbanging and yelling. I loved every second of it.”

Although Nirvana’s lifespan was cut short after the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, the band’s success only went up from there. Their legacy continues in the lives of many. Despite not being alive during Nirvana’s run, I constantly find myself wishing I could turn back the time just to see them live once. Walking through school in between classes with my headphones in, blasting “Lithium” or their cover of “The Man Who Sold the World” will have to do for now. I owe much of my understanding of the world and part of my sanity to Kurt, who remains a mentor in my life. Through him, I have learned to remain indifferent towards the opinion others have on me, but, to also be empathetic towards others. If someone doesn’t like my hairstyle, my shoes, or the music I choose to listen to, that’s fine; people don’t have to agree with everything I do or my interests. Also, it is through Kurt that I learned it is okay to have troubles; we all have things we must deal with, and that is also fine. Had he not passed at age 27 in 1994, he would have been 50 today. Happy Birthday, Kurt.


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