25
Oct 00

Maybe I’ve been nostalgically primed:

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Maybe I’ve been nostalgically primed: I’m home for the holidays (well, the World Series days, anyway) and the only person up this late, just like I was that night that I first heard the riff segue out of “Son of Mustang Ford”‘s end, or because it’s late October, right when it’s starting to get dark, right where the season was eight years back (was it that long ago?) when I was waiting to get picked up from work and my eyes first flicked over the MTV playlist reprint that namedropped Nirvana, or maybe it’s because the block of time on MuchMusic playing in the background is peppered by more ads for Enuff Z’Nuff and White Lion-laden compilations than any ad block during the Headbanger’s Ball era, but hearing the opening ten notes of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” out of any sort of blue still, after all this time, gives me chills; even though I’m expecting the huge explosion ten seconds into the song (and cognizant of the implosions that followed after the song had blown up again and again), the song still has that air of unhinged promise about it, a rare quality in so much of the music I hear today—as far as this year goes, there are parts of the Le Tigre record that I think almost grab onto it and squeeze tightly, and other albums since ’92 have had their moments here and there (“Now You Know” from the Afghan Whigs is the one that springs to mind right away, and there’s one part on that Guns N’ Roses track from last year (!) that also inspires that same internal tug), but “Smells Like Teen Spirit” remains at the top of this particular heap—and not only that, it hasn’t become stale to these ears at all, even with its constant generational incantations and the whole unfortunate episode of “alternative” and the post-suicide Morrisonization of K. Cobain.

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