I just finished watching Celebrity Legacies, the Kurt Cobain episode. By my recollection, this was the second time I’ve seen it. It takes me back to a simpler time, before cell phones, before the internet, before everything meant to make our lives better but which often gets in the way. Nirvana was everywhere. The radio. The jukebox. The stereo. Everywhere. The early ’90s were an amazing time to be alive, and I’m so very happy I got to be a part of it.
If you were lucky enough to live in the ’90s, you surely remember those big CD cases that were kept in your vehicle. They held anywhere from 25-200 CDs. Most were leather binders that zipped closed. I had two of those huge 200-CD capacity binders and a smaller 25-capacity binder.
That’s right. I love music.
While I was riding around with a friend one night, she was on stereo duty and flipping through the pages of my binder in search of another CD to listen to. She saw Nirvana’s Nevermind and made a statement that I still think about. She said, “Everybody I know has this CD in their CD case.” You know what? She was right. I’d never thought about it before that night, but I started paying attention to everyone’s CD collection, and yes, everyone–whether they were grunge rockers or country fans, young or old–everyone had that CD. I assume most still do, though they might have traded in the physical CD for the digital version.
Nevermind is profound in many ways. But that’s looking back on it from the 2016 perspective, after seeing how it knocked the world on its ass. I can’t help but wonder if maybe the reason it touched all of us back then, in the moment, was not only because it was good music, but because we were aware even then that it was important. That it was changing things. That album pushed hair bands to the back of the line and brought forth a flannel-wearing grunge movement that would forever change the landscape of music. I think we knew that. I think that’s why we all wanted to have it, to own it, to hold it in our hands so we could be a part–however small–of that shift. Everybody wants to be a part of something bigger than us, some monumental movement, and I think that for us ’90s people that movement was Nevermind.