5.22.2003

I just want to say how thankful I am that Nirvana existed when it did. The band literally changed my life, as I suppose is easy to do for a thirteen-year-old, when everything seems so damn important. Before Nirvana, I had been listening to Paula Abdul and Amy Grant - my first concert was an Amy Grant concert in Missoula, where instead of an opening act, a guy came on to talk to the audience about the importance of abstinence and how God wanted us to not have sex until marriage. So, anyway, my dad gave me Nirvana's Nevermind album for Christmas (I think he was horrified by the Amy Grant concert), and I discovered Sonic Youth about the same time, and the world was ever after different. I didn't realize Nirvana had hit mainstream because we didn't have mainstream music in my rural Montana town. There was definitely no radio station that would ever play anything like that (still isn't except for the new university station) and we didn't have MTV, so I was not following a trend and most kids had never heard of them. I didn't buy SPIN magazine, although I remember I did watch them on Saturday Night Live, I didn't see the Nevermind video until at least a year later. To me, the important part was the music - the lyrics and the music spoke to me like nothing before. It said it was OK to disagree with society, something that I hadn't really considered, being at the age where you really want to be like everyone else. It was OK to feel the way I felt about a lot of the crap in life and in school. Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth taught me that women could actually scream and be loud and vocal and say how they felt, instead of sitting quiety in the background. And then of course, much later, Pearl Jam's Vitalogy album and Tori Amos's Boys for Pele taught me about being a little bit naughty. I hope that kids today have something like that, some music that can help them establish who they are and what they believe in, and break down some of those beliefs that "popularity" and mainstream American ideals is everything. I know that, while there are bands today that I like, none right now really speak to me quite the same way, but I'm sure some of them are fulfilling that same function for thirteen-year-olds. And at least I can still listen to Nevermind on the bus on the way to work and feel that somehow, I am rebelling against the stifling office job, the bills, the fact that I'm getting fucking old and haven't done everything I wanted to do by this point, and I feel somehow that I'm not alone.

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