On Thursday, April 10, 2014, two days after the 20th anniversary of the death of their former frontman Kurt Cobain, Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After the ceremony, the remaining members performed a reunion set, along with various vocalists who sang in tribute to Cobain, and in celebration of the band’s successes.
Guest performers included Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth), Joan Jett, J. Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr.), and Annie Clark (St. Vincent). One of the more memorable, as well as controversial, moments of the night was New Zealand pop singer Lorde’s inclusion into the set for a rendition of the Nirvana’s song “All Apologies”.
In the days after the event, the Internet has caught fire in debate over Lorde’s inclusion in the tribute. While many support the decision to add the Nirvana-influenced youngster into the act, others feel as though the mainstream star dilutes Nirvana’s original grunge values.
Now, I was only two months into my own life when Kurt Cobain took his life, so I might be missing out on a bit of the nostalgic passion that drives the opinions of older Nirvana fans. But as a fan of both Lorde and Nirvana, it’s easy to see the similarities between Lorde’s lyrical content today, and Nirvana’s overall message in the 1990’s.
Lorde’s lyrics often express her undying love for all that is unpopular, which draws directly from the underground values held by Cobain himself. Lorde’s whole image is illustrative of the way that Nirvana has influenced not only Generation X, but also the children of that generation, and the yet-to-be-born children of those children.
If anything, the ideals of counter-culture pushed by Nirvana and Lorde are directly opposed to that of Nirvana (and general) “purists”. In fact, I can easily imagine Kurt Cobain’s ghost in heaven shaking his head at Earth’s horde of grumpy middle-aged Lorde haters. Actually, that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. It’s much easier than trying to imagine a grumpy 40-something Kurt Cobain whining on the Internet that a 17-year-old singer-songwriter is ruining his legacy with a tasteful cover. Much, much easier.
“All Apologies” – Nirvana (w/ Joan Jett, Annie Clark, Kim Gordon, and Lorde)