McCartney Will Front Nirvana Tonight? (It’s Always About a Girl)

Maybe so.

If this happens, I guarantee “About A Girl.”   From your friends at Wikipedia:

According to the 1994 Nirvana biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana by Michael Azerrad, “About a Girl” was written after Kurt Cobainspent an entire afternoon listening to Meet The Beatles! repeatedly. At the time, Cobain was trying to conceal his pop songwriting instincts, and he was reluctant to include the song on Bleach for fear of alienating the band’s then-exclusively grunge fan base. In a 1993 Rolling Stone interview with David Fricke, he explained:

“Even to put “About a Girl” on Bleach was a risk. I was heavily into pop, I really liked R.E.M., and I was into all kinds of old ‘60s stuff. But there was a lot of pressure within that social scene, the underground — like the kind of thing you get in high school. And to put a jangly R.E.M. type of pop song on a grunge record, in that scene, was risky.” [1]

However, Bleach producer Jack Endino was excited about the song, and even saw it as a potential single. Years later, Butch Vig, who produced Nirvana’s 1991 breakthrough album Nevermind, would cite “About a Girl” as the first hint that there was more to Nirvana than grunge. “Everyone talks about Kurt’s love affair with… the whole punk scene, but he was also a huge Beatles fan, and the more time we spent together the more obvious their influence on his songwriting became,” Vig told the NME in 2004.

+++

Recorded in 1988.  25 years ago.  25 years before that, the Beatles released Please Please Me and With The Beatles.  That means if Dave Grohl were George Harrison, he’d already be past the “Set On You” era.  Time is crazy.

I hope this happens.  I really do.  DVR set to awesome.  Perhaps this is the space-time disturbance the Mayans foresaw.

Generation X.2

If you’re roughly my age, we may share some of these academic distinctions:

  • Last or close-to-last class of students to attend various Cold War or pre-war era schools before their sometimes dubious 90s and 00s renovations.  (Elementary school, high school, college)
  • Last or close-to-last class to take a typing elective with actual typewriters. (9th grade, but I didn’t really learn to type until I started using AIM the next year.) Possibly the last class to even be offered a typing elective.
  • Last class to run DOS in a computer applications class. (10th grade)
  • Last class to run DOS-based email and instant messaging on campus servers. (college)

Presumed shared cultural experiences:

  • Old enough to have been into late 80s/early 90s music the first time, young enough to have looked up to the people who made it.  Old enough to have been into mid-80s music the first time, young enough to have had no way of buying it yourself.
  • Were in elementary school, not high school, when Bad came out.
  • Were in junior high, not college, when Kurt Cobain died.
  • Were the last group of kids to make mixtapes.  While the older and younger ends of Generation X differ in significant ways, this is one thing we all did right along with you, John Cusack.
  • Saw your first Molly Ringwald movie on VHS (or TBS), not at a theatre.
  • Your first John Hughes movie was more likely Uncle Buck or Home Alone than Sweet Sixteen or The Breakfast Club

Political memories:

  • the Soviets were scary until the end of elementary school. There was a Berlin Wall.

If you were born between, say, 1977 and 1982, a lot of this might hold true for you.  Most  commentators put those years within the Generation X set, and when I was a kid, I  thought that was the coolest.  But when I think of Generation X these days, I think of 40- year-olds, people who were in college in the early 90s (yes, I think of Lisa Bonet, don’t  you?), who were teenagers in all those Brat Pack movies.  I don’t think of people who are  about to or have only recently turned 30.  I don’t think of people our age. [Ed. note: I wrote and posted this 4 years ago.  I’m almost 35 now. Time only goes faster.]

Granted, generational definitions are sort of meaningless and almost always vast: the Baby Boomers are said to have been born between the mid-40s and mid-60s. What does that even mean?  Still, I’m with everyone who calls people in their 80s and 90s now The Greatest Generation.  They’re a group of people who went through it all and still had energy left over in their 60s and 70s to help take care of us. They were united by the Depression, the living memory of one World War, the coming and hell of another, and in many cases, the added hardships and injustices of recent immigration.

“Come Undone” was my first Duran Duran single. You do the math.

What binds, say, the Boomers?  Not being their parents?  What binds Generation X?  Music? Movies? Pop culture references and ironic savvy?  Being the first generation to have two parents working outside of the home as a norm? Birth years, as they relate to generational labels, seem now like unruly sundry cohorts lumped together with too much ease.  In our case, perhaps Generation X contains everyone as old as Eddie Vedder down to everyone young enough to have bought Ten in middle school.  Said the other way, perhaps it contains us and everyone 10-13 years older than us that made the music, television, movies we still love and reference.

Even so, I’d like to suggest a parsing of our Generation.  1967-72: X.0. 72-77: X.1. 77-82: X.2 and so on. 82-85? Y.0.

I was talking with my friend Tim, who I’ve known since 1986 or so, about some of these things on Facebook a few days ago.  He had some interesting suggestions for a post about things we experienced that our kids never will. I’ll follow up with more on that in the next few days.  By the way, free knucklesandwiches to anyone who starts calling them Generation Z.  How about Generation More Awesome Than Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, and The Hulk Combined?