“A denial!” – a listening experience, verbalized

April 10th: April Joan Jett nails “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with Nirvana at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I proceed to write about how it made me cry.

Weeks later: I revisit my blog after weeks of not posting anything.

I replay the video of Joan Jett and Nirvana’s performance at said ceremony.

I still get chills watching that video.

Then, I bring up iTunes and listen to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – the original recorded version from Nevermind.

I revel in the greatness that is the original song, disregarding with every ounce of my being any diminishing effects wrought by over-saturation of the song on radio and everywhere else.

The final chorus starts. I nudge the volume level – which is already high – a little higher.

The chorus resolves to the song’s finale – “A denial!…”

I slam my hands to my headphone-covered ears, as if I am trying to drive the song even more emphatically into my brain and my soul.

As a result, the highs are somewhat muted. Some of the lower mids are somewhat muted. I let up on the phones a bit, and – in doing so – reach as perfect a balance as I can muster with such an impromptu, primitive mixing endeavor (and such crappy headphones).

The mantra repeats.

“A denial!”

The guitar and bass move in concert.

The drums have effectively doubled their urgency. I live by the beat of the drums, while I ride the repeating vocal…

“A deniaaaalll!!….”

It can never be like the first time… or, for that matter, like hearing it the first time after Kurt died. But it is still a heavy, powerful song.

* * *

Thanks for reading this post by Russ at Dischordant Forms. Follow me on Twitter at @DischordantRuss. Comments are welcome!

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3 Comments on ““A denial!” – a listening experience, verbalized”

  1. walt walker says:

    I’d be curious to know what you thought of their MTV Unplugged show. That’s probably in my top 10 or so live performances I’ve seen.

    • Russ says:

      I could probably write a nice long post to answer this question. I’ll have to cast aside my (possibly irrational) fears of this blog appearing to be a grunge music blog at some point soon, in order to do that.

      As far as I’m concerned, Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York ranks as the pinnacle of Unplugged concerts. It is one of my favorite live performances, in part because it was so representative of Kurt Cobain’s philosophy, and in part because it was just a remarkably great show.

      Beyond that, I’ll have to think about this, and try to write a post about it. You’ve planted a seed in my brain, Walt, for better or for worse…

      • walt walker says:

        For better, I’d bet. I started a post about Nirvana awhile back, but it’s sitting unfinished in my drafts folder. I might go back to it some time when the mood strikes me again, but I don’t want to do it an injustice by forcing it through.


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