Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Nirvana v. Pearl Jam

Legal Fiction has a great post about Nirvana and Pearl Jam. If you ever felt like Nirvana appealed to your gut feelings while Pearl Jam's songs appealed to your brain the post may explain why.
Nirvana started with an emotion – pain, anger, angst, sadness – and worried less about concepts. Many of their lyrics were essentially nonsense. Pearl Jam (even though Vedder could sound angry) started with a concept and tried to squeeze emotion out of it. In the end, even though Nirvana’s lyrics didn’t make much sense, they resonated more deeply with people because they were a more direct expression of emotion.
I disagree that Nirvana's lyrics were "nonsense", though. I think it's more accurate to say they were stream of consciousness. Listening to them as a teenager, they reminded me of the stream of consciousness literature we were studying in school at the time.


Canowine said...

Yeah! I agree about the stream of consciousness...the very early REM stuff was like that, too. The songs didn't make a lot of sense when you applied your brain power to them, but you always understood their urgency.

RC666 said...

DOn't be throwing REM in the same conversation with Nirvana. I do agree about it in some part, growing up and actually reading Nirvana's lyrics. But it is like poetry.
"Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet
Cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath
Broken hymen of your highness I'm left black
Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back"
Poetry. Plus Pearl Jam didn't have near the same following nor effect on the people.

Canowine said...

Maybe you don't remember...Cobain was an REM fan. Near the end, Kurt felt at times that he didn't have any really good ideas, that his stuff was getting stale, Nirvana was getting old, and he sought Stipe for inspiration. Stipe and Cobain became good friends, and the respect that Kurt had for REM and Stipe's songwriting led her to give Kurt's Fender Jaguar guitar to REM on their Monster tour. The only song they played with the guitar was "Let Me In," with Mike Mills on the Jaguar and Stipe singing, and that was it. The song was written for Kurt.

This is from an article in Select, at this site: MTV has released details from a statement by Courtney that said Kurt had "grown weary of career pressures and was unhappy with Nirvana" and revealed that in the last month of his life he’d become friends with Michael Stipe, and was keen to collaborate with him. This is the only evidence Kurt was even thinking of a future at all: inside sources suggest the Rome show would always have been the last-ever Nirvana show, and that Kurt had passed the point of no return just as the band had.

And from NME, the publisher of CMJ and NME:

Feb 1994: Kurt Cobain's lifeless body is found at his home in Seattle, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Kurt and Stipe had spoken about making music together shortly before, and Cobain attempted to call Stipe days before his suicide. The traumatic event will later inspire 'Star 69' (the American dialling code for calling the number that last called you) and 'Let Me In', off the forthcoming 'Monster' LP - two testaments to the terrible cost of the dislocation and disaffection of modern life.