20 years ago today I took my SAT, which I scored a 28 on by the way. Oh wait, you mean something else culturally significant happened on April 8 1994? Yeah, that's right, I remember now...
Although I'm the perfect age and social class to have been the epitome of "Generation X", the whole grunge thing never really meant shit to me. I loved Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, but they had more in common with Black Sabbath than they did Mudhoney. It took almost a decade before I learned to to appreciate Pearl Jam. While most of my peers were worshipping at the alter of Seattle, I was still convinvced W.A.S.P. would make a comeback and just discovering The Ramones and The Clash.
Nirvana was everything I hated about the early 90's. It's somehow even more uncool to say that now than it was then. I understand and can appreciate what they accomplished, but most of their music is still just as terrible to my ears as it was then. The passage of time hasn't changed that at all.
There will no doubt be lots of tributes and rememberances today, but almost all of them will completely miss the point.
Who cares that he was in Nirvana. Who cares about his music. What matters is that a tortured soul with millions of dollars and millions of adoring fans still couldn't find a reason to keep going. Couldn't find enough hope to stay alive for his infant daughter. That's the true tragedy. Kurt Cobain's death didn't signify the end of anything in my mind. Other than leaving a child fatherless, which is so much more incredibly sad than any speculation about what he would've done musically. However it's no more tragic than the tens of thousands of people who've done the same since. Feeling completely hopeless and no longer having the will to live is a sickness that can effect grunge icons and normal folks equally.
Instead of spending $10 to download a Nirvana album, give it to a mental health fund. Hell, just call someone you haven't talked to in awhile. Make somene smile. Tell someone you love them. Those are all better tributes to Kurt Cobain than anything Spin or Rolling Stone will do.