I try not to go in for dour pessimism in my writing, but this weeks links are heavy on the doom-and-gloom. The one pleasant thing to come up today was the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind. (Although maybe it’s not all pleasant if, like me, you feel incredibly old contemplating that fact.) See Latoya Peterson, Amanda Marcotte, Spencer Ackerman and Matt Yglesias for extended coverage.
You probably have to be almost exactly my age to see this anniversary as a huge deal–any older and you’d have already known about the underground Nirvana came from, any younger and you wouldn’t realize how much music and culture seemed to change after Nevermind. Yglesias and Ackerman both say that Nevermind didn’t fundmentally shake up their understanding of music, but I can’t say the same. I didn’t have any older siblings to introduce me to punk rock, so I learned about it through Nirvana. There are very few moments in my life that I can vividly recall with a kind of “where were you when JFK was shot” specificity; one of them is the 9/11 attacks, and another one is the first time I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. I was 11 years old, sitting at my desk in my bedroom and doing my homework. I had the radio tuned to a Top 40 station (probably KDWB), because that’s what I listened to at the time. But when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came on I actually stopped what I was doing, turned around, and just sat there staring at the radio, listening to it. I had no idea what it was or where it had come from, but it was unlike anything I had ever heard before; I immediately decided that whatever it was, this was the kind of music I listened to from that point on.
From there, it was on to Fugazi, and then Minor Threat, and many more obscure finds from the bins at Extreme Noise Records. So this week’s roundup of doom and gloom will be accompanied by a carefully chosen gourmet pairing of apocalyptic hardcore and crust punk, which I might never have known about if not for Nevermind.
- We’re doomed, political dysfunction version. Musical accompaniment: Extreme Noise Terror, “Fucked Up System”:
- We’re doomed, wage stagnation version. Musical accompaniment: Assrash, “Kings of No Future”.
- We’re doomed, not even pretending to be a free country anymore version. Musical accompaniment: Doom, “Police Bastard”:
- We’re doomed, really really not even pretending to be a free country–hey, maybe that Mubarak guy was onto something! version. Musical accompaniment: Discharge, “Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing”.
- We’re doomed, not only is Obama clueless about the economy, he’s a worse feminist than Larry Summers version. Musical Accompaniment: Spitboy, “Isolation Burns”.
- We’re doomed, they killed Troy Davis edition. Musical accompaniment: Amebix, “Axeman”.
- We’re doomed, Euro crisis version. Musical accompaniment: Tragedy, “Beginning of the End”.
- We’re doomed, the FBI thinks counterrorism=Muslim-bashing version. Musical accompaniment: Destroy, “Burn this Racist System Down”.
- And to sum it all up: Code 13, “Doomed Society”.