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Monday, March 15, 2004
Back in my teenage years, I used to make catalogues--mini-ones, mind you, and only in my head--of songs that made me want to jump around the room, and then when I felt like jumping around the room and possibly busting my closet door (sorry, Ma) I would put these on. For a long time, oddly, it was Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart." I discovered the Crue, and all other metal bands, a good number of years after the fact[1], and from the cassettes at the public library more often than not, but there was a period there where Dr. Feelgood[2] ruled my life. I specifically remember making a cassette with "Kickstart" repeated like ten times, which I would then play through my indescribably crappy $5 garage-sale boombox while I was doing homework on Mesopotamia to get myself "psyched up."

Then, of course, I moved on. I remember "March of the Pigs" occupying a space on the list for a long time, and I'm pretty sure some tracks off the Use Your Illusions did, too--"You Could Be Mine," "Civil War," possibly the rockout section of "November Rain." And possibly some Queen. (And very slightly possibly TMBG and Violent Femmes.) Other than that, I'm drawing a weird blank.

Except for Nirvana.

Which I have on now, actually. The greatest hits album, as it happens, which I hadn't given much respect to previous to this, but right now it's fucking blowing me away. I've had an insanely busy day here, and I was listening to Loveless but it was just making me kind of listless and spacy. I put on Nirvana, though, and I just plowed the fuck through like 20 invoices. I'm seriously getting that thrash-around-the-room feeling, again, but it's not so very good this time since I'm pissed off at my job and my co-workers and if I do start thrashing around and tearing shit up, that's going to solve my current problems but create a whole set of new ones. I don't want to feel destructive, but I do.

It's weird that we now have recreational drugs that also effectively function as work aids. Crank, for instance, is a specifically working-class drug because it's also used to help get you through your incredibly boring, repetitive, 8 or 9 or 10 hour shifts doing manual labor. Plus, it's cheap. But that's an also: it's primarily a recreational drug. Why would you want to take something that you'd take at work? How can that be fun? I know it is, but it seems to make no sense. Same with Ritalin, but of course that's pretty much crank anyway.

And so here I am with my Nirvana, helping me get my goddamn work done at this goddamn record label[4] that wouldn't sign a Nirvana right now to save their goddamn worthless lives, surrounded by rich assholes talking finance and me doing the grunt work for it, not caring, trying not to think about it too much, listening to the music. Working the job so I can afford to do my own music on the side. Listening to Nirvana when I want to motivate myself to work or to make music, or just to drown out the annoying fuckers who surround me. Why is this music functional? Does the function ruin the pleasure? Is there pleasure in the function?

But godfuckingdamnit, this is such. a. good. album. Such good music. There's still that kick when "Sliver" or "Smells Like Teen Spirit" comes on, to say nothing of "You Know You're Right," which remains goddamn creepy. It's incredible. It's incredible music. People seem to sort of have this blind spot to Nirvana right now, and sure, I know there's cool 30-year-olds in New York right now who weren't listening to Michael Jackson and hair metal in 1992, so Nevermind wasn't as big a deal for them, but come on guys, even if you were down with the REM and the British post-punk and the rave, I honestly don't see how Nirvana wasn't a kick in the teeth. Maybe this is just my warped perspective, but it seems weird that this is constantly pitched as revelatory because it was a paradigm shift. That wasn't the point. The point was that Nirvana was a fucking great band, and everyone somehow agreed. It was the fact that they didn't seem to be looking for this, the idea that the listeners were pulling them into the spotlight rather than the musicians themselves shoving into view, that gave them that extra kick to listeners of a certain stripe, a kick different than what you'd get from the similarly great-and-widely-loved Outkast or Prince, I think, but the main kick is the music, the amazing music.

Well, anyway. Back to work. Rehearsal tonight. Thrashing around the room later, or not at all. I'm just hanging on to see where it all ends up...

[1] Except, possibly, Warrant's "Cherry Pie," although I may be misremembering. I got some Tesla albums as new releases, but didn't come to it until "Five Man Acoustical Jam," of course. I also did some Extreme on-time, but only secondhand.
[2] Yeah, and I even liked the crappy post-glory days stuff, to demonstrate my lameness. I don't think Klosterman even talks about this in Fargo Rock City.[3]
[3] But it's still a great fucking album.
[4] Founded, interestingly enough, partially on money made off of Nirvana, but that's a whole other story.