January 6, 2018

Chips on Shoulders

There was something gritty and angry about the early 90s. And I am now far away enough from that time to look back on it with the hazy rose coloured glasses of nostalgia.


I have just graduated from high school and started a decade long experiment with community college education, a foray into the service industry and a lifestyle, that looking back now, can only be described as free. I did what I wanted, when I wanted and seldom let anything that resembles society dictate what I had to do. I collected checks, paid my own way, must have had a bank account, maybe paid taxes, but for the most part I slept in, stayed up late, and for lack of a better word “explored” life.

I was angry for many reasons and had a chip on my shoulder. Maybe several chips. And whether it was my attitude that influenced my musical choices or whether the music guided my attitude, the early nineties “grunge” sound was the soundtrack of my life. Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana and others were the perfect background noise for a person who stayed up late and crawled to some restaurant job in the early evening.

I am sure every generation looks back at their twenties and thinks it was the best, but I know that being eighteen in 1992 was perfect. I think of kids turning eighteen this year and feel sorry for them. At least in terms of music. Where is their angry, gritty, loud rock and roll? Imagine Dragons? Fall Out Boy? Not even close.

So it was humorous when I saw the clip below that turned the most recognizable grunge anthem into a neutered major chord, auto-tuned version of itself. One that sounds eerily like what passes for rock music today.

Nirvirna - Teen Sprite from Sleep Good on Vimeo.

Am I just an old man? Do you know of any bands today playing with the grit and angst and anger of the nineties? Or are we to believe that pop-punk is the best we can do.

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