No one has ever considered Nirvana the sunny song-of-the-summer kind of band. They were the brooding voice of an angsty generation—musicians who captured the pain and confusion of youth in the '90s. And "Smells Like Teen Spirit" became the anthem of an era of counter-culture teens horrified with the materialism of late 20th century popular culture.
But while the track remains a favourite with all who hear it, in truth, Kurt Cobain never took it seriously from the start. But during those high-school years when I was playing guitar in my bedroom, I at least had the intuition that I had to write my own songs. The album and the Grunge movement largely coming out of Seattle arrived like a slap to the face, a big wake-up call, a gut-punch, and other violent similies, to irreversibly shake the music industry up.
You either had to be part of a fairly small subculture of music fans or a professional on the business side of the music industry to have heard of Nirvana before the autumn of In just a few short months, a group that was a complete nonentity to the mainstream music-buying public would become the most important rock band on earth. They heard it on alternative radio and then they rushed out like lemmings to buy it.
It is the opening track and lead single from the band's second album, Nevermindreleased on DGC Records. The unexpected success propelled Nevermind to the top of the charts at the start ofan event often marked as the point where grunge entered the mainstream. The song was dubbed an "anthem for apathetic kids" of Generation X  but the band grew uncomfortable with the attention it brought them. In the years since Kurt Cobain 's death, listeners and critics have continued to praise "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as one of the greatest songs in the history of rock music.
Joel Rose. Kurt Cobain in the studio with Nirvana in late This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action.
Kurt Cobain, the band's frontman, wasn't usually very talkative during gigs; he mostly left the witty banter between songs to bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl. On that night, however, Cobain couldn't help himself. The band was currently mulling over major label offers, and was ultimately two weeks away from signing with DGC, a Geffen record imprint.
For starters, the author of the song Nirvana's lead singer Kurt Cobain did not know what the term "teen spirit" meant when he used it as the title; he thought it was an arcane anti-establishment motto, when in fact it was the name of a mildly popular deodorant aimed at young females. In this sense, the song resembles the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds: the public at the time, quite naturally, thought the song was about LSD, the public's favorite drug, while John Lennon always insisted that it was actually an innocent tune inspired by one of his son Julian's drawings. The fact that the dreamy song alludes to such phantasmagoric entities as "newspaper taxis" and "plasticine porters with looking-glass ties" has led many observers to believe that Lennon was not being on the level here.
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So if you're a member of Generation X - that generation sandwiched in between the baby boomers and the millennials - there's a good chance you remember the first time you heard these chords. The song became an anthem for a generation that was ambivalent about traditional values and jaded with mainstream culture. It's April
I f you were around back in the late 80s or early 90s, you probably remember a popular line of deodorant named Teen Spirit; that is, unless your name was Kurt Cobain. As poetic as the name sounds, Smells Like Teen Spirit is a reference to Mennen's woman underarm product. The clinic, instead of providing abortions to expecting teenagers, was actually an pro-life center that encouraged girls to keep their babies, claiming they'd end up in hell otherwise.