All In All Is All We Are.
Looking back at the many years that have befallen the human race, each decade that has come by has brought a new sense of direction for the masses to follow. Although each era had its own style & perception, there is nothing that captivates me more than the feel of the 80’s & 90’s.
There’s something about the 80’s that had the rebels coming, & the absolute power the punk subculture withheld is no surprise that it’s still alive & breathing.
Punk rock was essentially brought about in the 1970’s & was the result of particular distaste & disgust of mainstream music that had sold out to music industries & the money that followed. Basically, it characterised rebellion, untamed & wild, out of control & aggressive – an intense force that had no particular direction.
This subculture spread throughout the 80’s & the 90’s & as someone who lives in 2011, I’m blessed that it still exists & withholds the same intensity that it did 4 decades ago, albeit in a slightly different form.
Punk rock signifies self reliance & independence. As Joe Strummer [Clash] summarised it, “Punk rock is meant to be our freedom. We’re meant to be able to do what we want to do.” There were no political or social barriers for the punks, their subculture was simply, revolt against the culture, something to shock the mainstream.
That being said, the punk rock scene was followed by a more mellowed down & laid back sub genre of Alternative rock known as ‘Grunge’. Basically, the most common characteristic between Grunge & Punk Rock was their similar attitude towards the society & their need for freedom that was easily heard in their music & lyrics. However, grunge was straightforward unlike punk’s ‘in your face’ attitude, and yet both genres & subcultures connected with the people like no other.
Since Grunge was around for less than a decade during the 90’s, there aren’t many bands or songs that can be recalled that far back, but one band that marked the entity of grunge was Nirvana. With the release of their album ‘Nevermind’ in late September 1991, & the release of songs like ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ spread the sound of grunge through the world. Grunge musicians were being recognized, but however, the overwhelming success became a little too much for many of them to handle because after all, grunge was nothing complex or deep; their lyrics & cords were a basic alignment of thoughts & feelings that could only be expressed solely through music. The lyrics were mildly depressing [“.. Neither side is sacred, no one wants to win; Feeling so sedated, think I’ll just give in ..” – ‘Verse Chorus Verse’ by Nirvana] or simply talked about the inability to express uniqueness because of the repression within society. [ “.. What else should I be? All apologies. What else could I say? Everyone is gay. What else could I write? I don’t have the right ..” – ‘All Apologies’ by Nirvana].
Focusing on just Nirvana alone [if I hypothetically claim that they could’ve been the only true grunge rockers that came around], their musical style like mentioned earlier, was not deep at all. Their songs went from being clear cut to distorted, vocals could move from being slow & meaningful to being just random incoherent screaming about nothingness. The lyrics also didn’t have any specific poetry in motion. Though they had a few themes in & out, the attitude with which they were presented changed randomly. In his own words, Cobain said, “I’m such a nihilistic jerk half the time and other times I’m so vulnerable and sincere [. . . The songs are] like a mixture of both of them.”
With the mid-90’s approaching, Kurt Cobain started being called ‘The voice of the generation’ which he kept denying mainly because of the pressure that it caused. Finally in 1994, Kurt Cobain suicided & thus taking Grunge down with him.
Simply, even though Grunge is now dead & Punk Rock has taken a whole new direction from it’s ancestral roots, their legacy still lives on. It’s music that can’t be described in words, only that which can be understood when you feel connected to what you hear & what you want to hear. It’s about interpreting in your own way, without changing the feel of it because the theme’s already been put down for you. When put in Kurt Cobain’s immortal words;
“Punk is musical freedom”, wrote singer Kurt Cobain. “It’s saying, doing, and playing what you want.”
**All of this is my own point of view, my own perception of what I’ve written about.