Nirvana’s “Nevermind” Turns 30


Ja’Qaylin Harrison, Staff Writer

Sep 24 makes 30 years since legendary rock group Nirvana released their seminal album, “Nevermind,” and the air still “smells like teen spirit.”

1991, for the most part, was the year of grunge. Many were trading in their brightly colored leg warmers, spandex and Levi 501s for a style that originated on the other side of the sun. Grunge for many was an expression of those emotions that we try, and ultimately fail, to store away in the back of our minds. 

After the release of their debut studio album “Bleach” in 1989, the group underwent a metamorphosis. Rather than piggyback off of the gloomy bass lines used by popular acts such as Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, the group chose a more personal, yet optimistic tone.  

The album, contrary to popular belief, wasn’t an instant hit. For roughly three months, its popularity simmered before coming to a boil on January 11, 1992, ending the long-held reign of Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” on the Billboard 200. 

Filled with references to the trials and tribulations of lead singer Kurt Cobain, the album caters to the demise of its young listeners. 

While listening to the album in my living room, I found myself in an almost zombie-like state. Is this what makes an album great?

“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the album’s opener, is our first glimpse into the conscience of Nirvana. The song itself smells like freedom and rebellion. 

After debuting at number one on the Alternative Song Charts, the song would become a pop culture anthem. 

The album’s second single “Come As You Are” beckons listeners to do just as the title asks. Be yourself, whatever that may be. We’re here for a good time, not a long time. Am I right? 

And last, but not least, my personal favorite: “Lithium.” Rooted in themes of alienation, self-hatred and depression, “Lithium” takes a melancholic look at teenage estrangement. If you ask me, this is what “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star could’ve been had it had a faster tempo.

Maybe I just like sad songs. I don’t know. 

All in all, this album is one for the books. With over 30 million albums sold, “Nevermind” has something for everyone, even the most uncouth rock listener like me.