Oct 04

SENSES OF SHAME – Smells Like Teen Spirit

I Hate Music8 comments • 1,390 views

SENSES OF SHAME – Smells Like Teen Spirit

In 1991 rock was at its lowest ever ebb. Forget the ironic reappraisal of hair metal: it stank. Little did I know things would soon get even worse. The title of “Smells like Teen Spirit” comes from some grafitti Kathleen Hanna wrote on Kurt Cobain’s wall: “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit” – that being a deodorant. My suspicion is that if Hanna felt Kurt’s use of deodorant merited a wall-sized headline the man’s personal hygiene was poor. Pictures of the straggly man-beast seem to back this up. The dreadful single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was in fact the first of many Cobain claims to have “cleaned up” – a phrase most critics have wrongly taken as referring to drugs, rather than bathwater. In its cryptic lyrics he confessed that his soap-dodging ways had gone so far as to leave him “contagious”. “I’m worst at what I do best” he caterwauls – that being “not washing”. Never has the old saying been more apt: he who smelt it, dealt it.


  1. 1
    LeboviciAB84 on 9 Jan 2007 #

    So, “rock was at its lowest ever ebb“, then it got “even worse“? Sometimes I think you should arrange all your least-favourite music into some kind of ranking, to stop you contradicting yourself. Because when logic and argument go out of the window, humour follows closely, to be replaced by bile. And bile attracts idiots.

    Bile also, at times, makes you sound a bit like Mark Lamarr.

  2. 2
    punctum on 9 Jan 2007 #

    Tanya’s way funnier than dreary old ’50s throwback Mark Lamarr!

  3. 3
    Admin on 9 Jan 2007 #

    I would never want to defend Tanya as a being of pure logic, however you have overlooked that what she’s saying here is:

    In 1991 rock was at its lowest ever ebb” and then it got “even worse”

    you missed out the date. so IN 1991 it was at its lowest ever ebb at that point, then sunk lower, is perfectly possible. i suppose it hangs on the past-tense status of “ever”

    The Mark Lamarr thing is too low a blow though.

  4. 4
    Aaron on 17 Jan 2007 #

    An excellent, balanced, objective review.

    I think it is an excellent approach to knock all music in this way.

    “…I hate music. All of it”? That makes for a single statement 1 page website. You must have a terribly unhappy life if you “hate” all music so much, as music is everywhere in many shapes & forms, from radio stations & bars, to the busy streets & the birds in your trees in the morning.

    Do you watch television on mute ald listen to ‘talk radio’ (but mute the jingles)? :)

    I have however looked at 2 pages on your site, so for that, you rule.

    Oh and if you ever find a genie in a lamp, be sure to use one of your wishes to donate your ability to hear music to a deaf person, as I’m sure they would cherish it more than you do.

    Kind regards.

  5. 5
    colby im 12 on 17 Mar 2007 #

    Nirvanas my favourite band and i have all their albums and whoever wrote that about them can suck my balls

  6. 6
    Grow up, then on 26 Sep 2007 #

    Colby, go die. Nirvana sucks. Kurt sucks. And no doubt, you’d love him to be the one sucking your balls.
    Nirvana is the most pathetic example of music there is. Kurt killed himself because he realized that.
    Maybe you should follow suit then, huh?

  7. 7
    Pete on 18 Apr 2011 #

    I will say this about Nirvana and Kurt Cobain. They must of been doing something right as Nirvana had the tallest bassist known to man. He’s something like 6 foot 7, how can you miss the guy, yet we did.

    For Kurt Cobain you can easily apply the same to Syd Barrett and Ian Curtis, the great what if? Conversely if Status Quo bit the dust just after Caroline and Paper Plane, Pearl Jam splitting having just recorded just Vs and Ten, hell even Cliff Richard going the way of Eddie Cochrane with just a handful of singles under his belt, of course we’d see them in a different light than we now do. After all that’s how legends are made.

  8. 8
    swanstep on 18 Apr 2011 #

    If you go a little broader than rock music, ‘legend-creation’ via early death is a little more hapzhazard. The early deaths of Keats and Mozart are indeed kind of fetishised, whereas, say, the early deaths of Schubert, Gershwin, Austen go relatively unremarked. Fans know about them but for some reason haven’t dwelt on them.

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