MTV Unplugged in New York – Nirvanna


Four hours deep in a pathetic display of self-indulgent pity. You know those days when you wake up pissed at someone, only to find out a few hours later that you’re the jackass responsible for all the dismay? Anyway, I was staring out the window, when out of nowhere FedEx suddenly appears at my door. Two things are important: 1. it’s only about 11am at this point and FedEx routinely comes to my house after 2pm, and 2. I opened the box and low-and-behold, Nirvana is here to save the day.

When has Nirvana ever saved my day? The answer is never. In my early teens, I was a punk. Not the cool CBGB kind, in case you were dumb enough to think I had any level of swagger or cynical understanding of modern influence. No, I was punk, like many you all knew, who grew up in a society that spoiled anyone capable of dribbling a basketball; who could recite Israel’s pledge of allegiance by heart; and who enjoyed nothing more than hunting out my dad’s weed stash (he eventually stopped moving it around after he realized my unfathomed determination to impress, and get stoned). Nirvana wasn’t a band I played because I wanted to get in touch with my feelings, not even close. Shit. Smells Like Teen Spirit is what you played to justify and obnoxiously provoke your in-pubescent certitudes. Nirvana was going through puberty, just like me, that was all it was; it was our bond, and it seemed to be working just fine.

But Unplugged shifted all of that for me, even into my twenties and thirties. And here it is, the full circle, glowing under MTV’s perfectly designed lights. This recording is where this rock band’s emotion is realized, respected and reflected. Again, this is my take on it. And I knew on this day, Nirvana was going to make me feel something different. I cancelled my afternoon.

This album played perfectly. I felt it in my bones and it shifted my perspective on life, in that window anyway, and cleansed my soul. I sang one song out loud, the last track on side B: Where Did You Sleep Last Night. The emotion in Kurt’s voice was perfect the entire album. He pours his life into that microphone. My living room filled with talent, with off-the-charts soundstage, with purity, with complication, and with a shitload of heart. Thank you record submitter. I’ve played this album a dozen times since receiving it last month, seeking out that memorized emotion. And when I have a guest over, I tend to end our jam session with this record, intently staring at  my guest to see if they get even a dose of what I felt on this day. The time  I’ll aptly title “the day Nirvana saved me.”