Posted tagged ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’

“Kony 2012:” Our Generation’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit?” Or is that still around the corner?

2012/03/08

Yesterday afternoon, I watched a 30 minute video. You’ve probably heard of it. It was slick, pressed all necessary emotional buttons, focused on an important topic, and carried a clear message. Since it also utilized all the right social media innovations, it was clear the video was going to go viral. It even said it would. Participation in the video event was based simply upon sharing it. By nightfall, it seemed like everyone with a computer had watched and passed it along. By morning, debate had polarized over what its popularity showed about an entire generation.

I’m not going to add anything to that discussion here, but what I am going to bring up is the other thing that is clearly on everyone’s mind: the music industry.

(more…)

Here we are now. Entertain us: The politics of boredom

2011/03/15

Late 1991. A couple kids from an affluent family gets picked up by their parents from soccer practice and are chaffered to their safe suburban home. While the youths are waiting for dinner to be ready, they turn on MTV. But instead of MC Hammer dancing around in really baggy pants denying them even the chance to touch…this…they see something different but at the same time familiar: kids that are waiting for something to happen. Kids that are disaffected and bored. Kids just like them. And then there’s a guy with a guitar on the screen, not wearing Hammer pants or dressed like Gene Simmons or Vince Neil or even Axl Rose.  Hold on  a second – he’s just like them. And he’s screaming out the words, “here we are now, entertain us.”

It seemed like in an instant, these kids finally had a soundtrack for how they felt about their lives.

The beginning riff in the Nirvana video for their song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the exact moment that the politics of boredom hit the mainstream. They’d been around in the underground for ages before that though. Let’s go for a listen through history and see what that tells us.

copyright John Mostrom 2003

(more…)

24 September 1991 – the Release of Nevermind

2010/09/24

19 years ago today, a little album called Nevermind was released in the United States by a band called Nirvana.  Very very VERY quickly,  the album soared up the Billboard record charts and knocked Michael Jackson’s Thriller out of #1 position.

It was the watershed moment where punk hit the mainstream. The products of an underground network of musicians, venues, record labels and fans that had been building throughout the 1980s was suddenly moved from the periphery to the forefront of American culture. And the rest, as they say, is history (and an important part of my MA thesis, which I’ll get around to writing one of these days).