In Everett True’s incredible book called simply Nirvana: The Biography, he writes about how The Ramones have been co-opted by the mainstream. And he’s right, everyone wears a Ramones shirt now a days. I, myself, saw this past weekend an affluent, Beverly Hills divorcee sporting a Ramones t-shirt the other day, and I would bet she couldn’t even name a member of the band. True’s point is that no one in the rock establishment wears a Nirvana shirt. They have been dismissed and overlooked by everyone except by the kids. The teenagers are the only ones who sport Nirvana shirts because in True’s words, “the kids understand.”
Unfortunately, the movie About A Son and its soundtrack may not be for the kids. They may not get it. The sad thing is that many might not see this amazing film that only shows one picture of Cobain at the end. This movie and this soundtrack is not an MTV rockumentary about the rise and fall of Nirvana. All you have to do is click on YouTube or watch classic VH-1 or MTV to watch Cobain smash guitars on stage and see clips from all of their videos. About A Son is not that sort of film.
Think of About A Son as Imagine: John Lennon meets Koyaanisqatsi. The Imagine movie had John Lennon narration throughout. But unlike Lennon’s docu-film which shows performance footage throughout his life, Son is has more a Koyaanisqatsi picturesque feel. Koyaanisqatsi means life out of balance and the film showed images of cities and natural landscapes of America. Cobainâ€™s narration and the beautiful shots of every day American life makes this film more than a visual tone poem, and while listening to the soundtrack you will hear that About A Son, is a discovery inside the mindset and life of a creative artist who was a working class hero, just like you and I.
The soundtrack CD mixes Cobain’s narration with bands that Kurt admired and original music composed by Death Cab for Cutie singer/lyricist Benjamin Gibbard. Listening to this CD, one gets the feeling this is the type of soundtrack that Cobain would have loved. He probably wouldn’t have enjoyed listening to voice in between most of the tracks but the selection for the bands would have been to his liking. Everyone from The Melvins, The Butthole Surfers, Iggy Pop, R.E.M. and Bowie are included on this soundtrack. This is the perfect Under The Influence-like mix CD that speaks the all of the artists whose words and music inspired the voice of our generation.
Some of Cobain’s favorite songs are on here, including “Man Who Sold The World” by David Bowie and “Son of a Gun” by The Vaselines in their original incarnations before Kurt and Nirvana famously covered them during their magnificent career. After listening to the final strands of Gibbard’s hauntingly beautiful cover of Beat Happening’s “Indian Summer,” you will be compelled to see this amazing film. I know I will be there. This soundtrack is more than homage to Kurt Cobain. Listening to the disc makes me want to go unfold and put on my Nirvana t-shirt, proudly, as a tribute to the one we knew and loved and the unfinished legacy he left behind.
Nirvana – Incesticide
Various Artists – Hype!
Various Artists – God’s Favorite Dog