Cultural Icons: Kurt Cobain

NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 25: HILVERSUM Photo of Kurt COBAIN and NIRVANA, Kurt Cobain recording in Hilversum Studios, playing Takamine acoustic guitar (Photo by Michel Linssen/Redferns)

It has been little over twenty-two years since the tragic suicide of Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. Yet for many he has remained a cultural icon and to some extent the de facto mascot of the punk-grunge era of the nineties. For many, including myself, it was the music that he and his fellow band members were remembered for and was the driving force that catapulted them to a now legendary level of fame. Nirvana left an extensive catalogue of music in which Cobain was immortalised, from the more verbally haunting Polly to one of my personal favourites; Heart Shaped Box. There are also many live albums as well which only serve to bolster their reputation- such as MTV’s Unplugged, which in my own personal opinion, produced one of their greatest performances, and which can be seen as their take on David Bowie’s Man Who Sold the World. In addition to his musical genius, Cobain also a talented poet and writer, and these influences can be seen in the music video to Heart Shaped Box. Heavily influenced by a punk-ideology, Cobain could be seen as the embodiment of counter-culture, despite being a part of a pop-culture revolution during the nineties. However, his attempt at trying to adhere to a counter-culture ethos while being a part of ‘the system’ could be said to be one of the many things that attributed to his decline into heroin addiction and intoxication. The figure of the tragic artist being torn apart by a craft that he loved served only to further reinforce his status within cultures worldwide for generations to come.