Smells like 20 years

Hannah Jones

April 8 marked the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. Cobain was the lead singer of Nirvana, a band that found fame in the early ‘90s. Magazine racks are filled with tributes to the man that helped define grunge.

In ‘94, Cobain was found dead in his home in Seattle by electrician Gary Smith.

When discussing the scene he’d just witnessed, Smith said, “I noticed something on the floor and I thought it was a mannequin.” Smith then realized that sprawled across the floor was not a mannequin, but Cobain.

While many conspiracies have arisen concerning his death, such as Courtney Love hiring a hitman, his autopsy reports his death as a suicide.

Cobain is now a part of the “27 club,” a group consisting of famous stars who have died at the young age of 27, mainly due to drug or alcohol abuse. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison are all members.

When Wendy Cobain, the singer’s mother, discovered the news of her son’s death, she said, “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.”

His death seemed particularly eerie after the band’s MTV Unplugged concert in Nov. of ‘93, just five months before the infamous day in April. The Unplugged concert was arranged like a funeral, with star lily flowers and candles, creating a haunting scene.

Nirvana played only one hit song, “Come As You Are” (much to the dismay of MTV), but the band went out with a bang.

The singer’s death spooked many listeners, and that feeling still stands today. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became the possibly overplayed anthem for disaffected youth, accompanied with a music video themed as a pep rally from Hell.

Despite the 23-year-old “Nevermind” and the 21-year-old “In Utero” albums’ age, the lyrics that Cobain screeches are just as relatable now as they were two decades ago.

Lyrics such as “teenage angst has paid off well” and “covered in insecurity” are from the lesser known songs, but are just as relevant as “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

That is why, 20 years later, odes are still being made to Kurt Cobain. Consider this an ode to the, as Alan Di Perna puts it, “band who sold the world.”


Check it out: Artist Jason Lazarus asked “Who first introduced you to the band Nirvana?” and received these photos and anecdotes, allowing you to transport back into the ’90s.