April 8th marked 20 years since the passing of Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain. The passage of time has shown once again that life is cyclical. Things once old and dated return and are given new life. Accordingly, some elements of life in the 90’s are showing a resurgence. We see this shift reflected in the return of Grunge as a fashion statement and a reignited conversation regarding the impact of the music of Nirvana. These signs indicate that the music and artistry of Nirvana and the influence of their collective grungy style and the aloof persona of their lead singer are once again relevant in pop culture.
In anticipation of the anniversary of Cobain’s passing, Seattle police reviewed the files on the reported suicide in preparation for potential questions from the media. Seattle police spokesperson Renee Witt advised that other than rolls of undeveloped film from the scene, no new evidence has been discovered with regard to Cobain’s death.
The “refuse to grow” up media stereotype plagued the Generation X crowd in the 90’s. With street chic attire like combat boots and baby doll dresses for the ladies or the layered look of flannel and white T’s for the guys, the so-called Grunge Look took on a fashion presence all it’s own. Observance of current pop culture notes the relevancy of Nirvana’s impact on the music of today as well as the Grunge fashion sense the band influenced.
Rumblings of the return of Grunge fashion began in the fall of 2013. Designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs featured revived Boho Chic interpretations in their fall collections. Young pop stars like One Direction front man Harry Styles have been given the Nirvana wardrobe treatment. As young stars like Styles are frequently photographed in ripped jeans and flannel with a white T-shirt, then featured in entertainment publications, the fashion style takes on a new relevance, thus inspiring wannabe tweens and teens to mimic these fashion choices.
Nirvana has garnered revived attention in it’s own right having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday. Talks about a Nirvana movie or Cobain bio pic have swirled the entertainment industry for years. Although it is reported that director Oren Moverman known for The Messenger, an Iraq war drama, is in talks with Universal, nothing definitive has been announced.
Music industry insiders have speculated that with current times mirroring those that gave birth to the aggressive, angst filled sound, we may see the genre make a comeback. Add to the equation the return of some 90’s bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains or Soundgarden dusting off their old hits, the conversation grows. Nevertheless, most of these acts are not releasing new material. In examining the music young people are listening to today speculation on the rebirth of an authentic Grunge sound that would be well received is described as unlikely, nevertheless people are talking.
An enduring challenge is the way Cobain and band mates were described in the Hall of Fame inductee bio. Giving onus to the premise that Nirvana has in fact maintained its grungy relevance all these years and will not soon be forgotten.
By T. Lawson