In episode 47 of the Podcast for Social Research’s “Practical Criticism” series, Ajay Singh Chaudhary plays Nirvana for Rebecca Ariel Porte. They talk pop avant-gardes, Kurt Cobain’s voice, exhausted croons, experiments in sound, experiments in masculinity, depression and melancholy, Burton’s anatomy of melancholy, developing variation, word play, disillusion and disaffection, and Nirvana’s Gen X musical legacy in the sonic avant-garde and depressive realism of the (largely feminine and queer) singer-songer writers of today. Songs include: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”; “The Priest They Called Him” by Kurt Cobian and William S. Burroughs; “Pennyroyal Tea”; “All Apologies” and Mitski’s “Your Best American Girl.”
P.S. Our (Millennial) editor Cora would like to note that Mitski is indeed a proper Millennial, not Gen Z as indicated in the episode.
PPS. Omitted further thoughts on the class nature of Nirvana hopefully forthcoming. You can read Ajay on generational and class politics in “OK, OK, Boomer: The Critical Theory of Contemporary Angst.”
Practical Criticism is a weekly series of the Podcast for Social Research. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of the podcast.