I received an email from Spin.com linking to an article covering Dave Grohl's dedication at the Reading Festival to his Nirvana bandmates, and it got me thinking about my first experience with the music of Nirvana -- Nevermind. (They also included a link to last year's look back at the album which also inspired me to write this post.)
Music-wise, I was a late bloomer. I didn't love the radio in my early years. In fact, I never listened to much music unless it was in the car with my dad playing the local classic rock station. (Not that that was a BAD thing...) I was more about my Commodore 64 than music. Sure, in fourth and fifth grade, a friend got me into a bit of Def Leppard and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, but until then, most of my listening was the Who, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and "Weird Al" Yankovic. (Quite the grouping, eh?)
And then, it happened.
One day, while passing by the local pop station on my radio dial, I heard it. "Smells like Teen Spirit" blew my mind open. My jaw dropped, my eyes popped, and I was floored. The energy, the excitement, the raw
power. This was no Bel Biv Devoe. This was music that spoke to me. This was the new face of music.
My entire group of friends opened our minds to bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and so many more. We couldn't get enough. We went through every music magazine we could, getting all the info we could about these bands, examining every millimeter of the CD inserts. It was amazing. It still is. I still go looking occasionally for any tidbits I can learn about the guys from Nirvana, and any of the bands I discovered through them.
To this day, Nevermind still sits as a mandatory road trip CD, and it's a benchmark for me to compare other albums to. Nirvana still wiggles their way into my playlists when I'm trying a new set of headphones, and when I shuffle the whole music collection, tracks from Nevermind always seem to jump in and make me smile at just the right moments.