About why the grunge musician is so loved in Russia and why «it’s better to be dead than steep»
When I was a schoolboy, Kurt Cobain seemed to me very grown up, almost old. And tired. He saw me, as well as many, a prophet, a messiah — and in his line-blades I was looking for revelations. Now I understand that the words «messiah», «prophet» to Kurt, are least applicable. He despised such concepts. But the revelation in his songs was. I am even more confident in this now, when for 23 years he is not with us and I have experienced him for four years. He no longer seems a wise prophet, but he is seen as a frightened child thrown into a bent world. And his voice, tearing through the jungles of false prosperity, is still praying: Gramma, take me home …
Like 20 years ago, he is a stranger. I’m a stranger. We are strangers. Those who grew up on his songs. Those who immersed themselves in nirvana. And many left with him. 1994-1997 — a time when teenagers left after themselves the same words: «It is better to burn out than to die out.» And burned. No musician took as many souls as Kurt Cobain took with him.
Our country is an existential abyss, like the one in which Kurt himself peered.
Otherwise, it could not be. His music, his life became a poetic apology for death. He came to the ruins of the world to become the last star to illuminate them. And fade away.
Russia is an existential abyss, like the one Kurt was staring at, and we shared the icy insanity reflected in his gaze. The country, stuck between the vast darkness and endless snow, needed, above all, in the description. And a man with a guitar from a tiny Aberdeen, a town of fish, brothels and truckers, expressed our depressed Russian soul better than our great minds.
The one who could, survived this diagnosis. To become a fish thrown ashore. Now is their time. Time absorbed the eschatology of Kurt Cobain, who said that there is nothing but love, but it is a fire that burns to the ground. He sang from the cramped cramp of the womb, and his neurotic pain will forever remain a reminder that the truth is not tolerated without anesthesia.
In The Devil’s Advocate, Milton (also known as Lucifer) says: «The twentieth century was my age. I gave you everything. » Indeed, the century of the greatest wars, greatest discoveries and greatest consumption. The world has expanded, mankind has grown. Everything became allowed, and God died. But the dead God took people with him — he killed them with satiety.
Cobain changed the whole approach to music. He did not just make the underground mass, but demonstrated that the rock hero is the same as everyone else, and even worse.
And then came Kurt. From the depths of the country, where success was dragged to the throne instead of a dead God, and happiness was locked on a pink «Cadillac». Kurt crawled into this world-supermarket and in a week when Smells like teen spirit sentenced what was before, throwing Michael Jackson in the decay, subdued the dream, so that soon in disappointment, in anger, throw her out.
Between She loves you in 1963 and Nevermind of 1991 passed only 28 years. Exactly so many lived rock and roll. It contained the melodicity of the Beatles, the rebellion of the Rolling Stones, the pressure of Led Zeppelin, the psychedelic of Pink Floyd, the paranoia of Black Sabbath, the heroic Queen, the glamor of Guns’n’Roses — and ended on a crazy kid in a Freddy Krueger sweater. Cobain changed the whole approach to music. He did not just make the underground mass, but demonstrated that the rock hero is the same as everyone else, and even worse. Axl Rose with their swollen succumbed suites remained in the past. Kurt turned the life of a rock star into an aquarium and drowned in it himself.
But piranhas of success clung to him dead even stronger than in the living. Ripped to pieces. Because they loved. Because used. Aesthetics of Kurt partly became a reaction to Reagan’s false, mercantile-propaganda policy, but it is sold in an even deceitful era.
With Kurt’s genius, only his charm could be compared. You could no longer be yourself, having heard the melodic genius in its lightness and simplicity — on the acoustics of the last concert it is most obvious, — tinted by the voice of a madman, singing as if he were dying and rising again.
So the reverse side of beauty looked that does not save, so the pathology of strength was asserted. Kurt himself collected pathologies, seeing how, deforming, the beautiful becomes ugly, but still survives, which means it has even more power. His fire broke the darkness, and then devoured the beholder. And this passion for destruction, for destroying the world around and inside himself, was manifested in Kurt not only on the stage, when he thrashed the apparatus and beat his head on the column, but also in everyday life, where heroin, depression, detachment devoured the last bits of happiness lost after the parents’ divorce.
The world broke the nine-year-old angel, but the world itself broke up with him — an ancient genie emerged from the crack, revealing the dark side of power. Kurt became the conductor, who let through the energy of the primordial chaos. The one that was the source of life and its main enemy. Kurt was filled with an infernal magma, which can not be recreated. That’s why all the covers on Nirvana sound so pitiful. Recently, 1200 musicians played Teen spirit at the same time, but they did not have a hundredth part of Kurt’s energy.
Kurt was the first who said: there really is no future, because there is not one for which it is worth creating this future.
It was thanks to her that he got what all those who wanted to be on top of rock’n’roll dreamed about. But it is this attribute — Kurt hated most. «Better be dead than cool.» Jagger said that he started playing rock ‘n’ roll, because he led to success. Cobain hated the success in music. What thousands of musicians were amused by, on the contrary, annoyed him, like a cold tooth that fell on a sick tooth. He rejected it, vomited it, like an organism that does not take poison.
No future! — Sang the Sex Pistols, although they themselves alkali of the future, cast in the clinking of coins. Kurt was the first who said: there really is no future, because there is not one for which it is worth creating this future. The past was a mistake, a wrapper from an inedible candy. The present, where everything was permissible, lost its living principle. It ossified in its own narcissism, lost its way in the endless simulacra and copies of itself.
Fake stars are for fake captives of darkness. Kurt brought down on them all his fury of contempt. He showed that the only light is a fire, which, like Thich Quang Dyk, burns himself to defend himself so. And if you do not sacrifice yourself, then others will crucify you. Optional hatred — love, too, will come down.
When on Unplugged into New York Kurt performed his last song, Where did you sleep last night ?, and he was asked to sing more, he replied: «No, I can not surpass myself anymore.» He understood everything. He burst into the darkness and uttered the last revelation. But no one could surpass him. There is no life beyond the end of the world and there is no beginning. The agony can not be repeated.