Remembering Kurt Cobain

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At the least, Kurt Cobain was the leader of music’s ‘grunge’ movement. 
At the most, he was the voice of 
a generation.

 

In April 1994, the Nirvana front man committed suicide, an act that left millions mourning and his peers to carry on the torch he had lit and held aloft 
in the years prior to this.
 

While calling Cobain’s death “probably the worst thing that has happened to me in my life,” friend and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl had also prepared himself for the possibility. “Sometimes you just can’t save someone from themselves,” Grohl noted. “In some ways, you kind of prepare yourself emotionally for that to be a reality.”
 

The ‘voice of a generation’ label – expounded by his fans to anyone who would listen, and many more who wouldn’t – was ironic, given Cobain, by his own admission, placed lyrics a distant second to melody. “People always want to read into it. I was just using pieces of poetry, just garbage, just stuff that would spew out of me at the time,” Cobain said in 1993. 
“A lot of times when I write lyrics it’s at the last second because I’m really lazy. And then I find myself having to come up with explanations.”
 

Cobain called John Lennon his idol, and identified Neil Young as ‘the Godfather of Grunge’. But sometimes lyrics did matter to Cobain. In his suicide note, he quoted Young’s ‘Hey Hey, My My’, writing, “it’s better to burn out than to fade away”.
 

In the days before his death, Cobain was discussing 
a collaboration with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe – also the godfather to Cobain’s daughter, Frances. “In an attempt to pull him out of the headspace that he was in, in Seattle, in his house all alone,” explains Stipe, “I created a project that he had to fly to Georgia to work on with me, and we had a deadline.
 

“It was really just an attempt to pull him out, 
and it didn’t work. Sadly.”



SOUND garage

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Massive Attack
Heligoland
Seven years after releasing their fourth album, ‘100th Window’, Massive Attack returns with an effort that calls on their reggae, hip-hop, and soul roots. The trend of session musicians and guest vocalists continues, but this time founding member DJ Grant Marshall returns to join Robert
 Del Naja in their sweeping, experimental collaborations widely described as ‘trippy’. If unfamiliar with their catalogue, listen first to ‘Flat of the Blade’, ‘Paradise Circus’, and ‘Saturday Come Slow’.

 
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Kazem Al-Saher
Al Rasm Bel Kalimat
The ‘Emperor of Arab Music’, Al-Saher has pretty much done it all. He has sold more than 
50 million albums, charting hits ranging from sweeping ballads to politically-tinged work, pop hits to classic pieces. His latest here, translated as 'Drawing With Words', uses the words of 10 Arab poets as the foreground to Al-Saher’s traditional, sweeping orchestral arrangements that have defined his work for more than 20 years.

 
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Corinne Bailey Rae
The Sea
Starting with an all-girl rock band, Rae has achieved fame 
as a soulful solo artist armed with a guitar and a Billie Holliday-esque vibe. Her eponymous debut album in 2006 topped the charts, but momentum was crushed by 
the death of her husband. 
After a two-year hiatus, Rae returns here with a wealth of fragile arrangements that ache as she picks up the pieces, but also glisten with the promise 
of what’s to come.

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