“Light my candles in a daze cause I’ve found god.”

Nirvana’s Lithium is a cry for help — that you can dance to; a guitar-smashing, vocal-screeching, bass-thumping, drum-rumbling alt-rock classic that liberates our rage just long enough for us to forget our pain.

“I like it, I’m not gonna crack
I miss you, I’m not gonna crack
I love you, I’m not gonna crack
I killed you, I’m not gonna crack”

Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, rock group frontman, Gen-X touchstone, cultural zeitgeist made flesh, did crack. Fast, loud, slow, quiet, his pain just enough and his lost too deep.

Cobain’s adult life was shockingly brief but we are left with the richness of his music, music that still burns decades later. Nirvana’s songs, as few as there are, are like the flowing colors in a Van Gogh painting, so real, so true, so capable of removing you from the real and transposing you instead inside the artist’s vision, a vision both glorious and bright, pained and brutish, that’s so complete, so brought to life, that you actually believe you can touch the colors, feel them, know them.

Like friends, but in our head.

I think I could have convinced Kurt Cobain not to kill himself.


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