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Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered
E.F. Schumacher

Journals

Journals - Kurt Cobain Kurt apparently never wanted to see his journals to be published. Then again the man was a walking contradiction. Be that as it may, "Journals" offer an insight to Kurt's world.

( Besides, an asshole who shoots himself in the head, leaving behind a daughter and a wife, not to mention band members and other friends, has no moral rights to make any demands as far as I'm concerned. )

Still, it's assuring to know that like most lyricists/poets Kurt honed his lyrics too. In 99 cases out of 100, they all do. Many artists (especially when they are young) find it extremely hard if entirely impossible to "kill their darlings".

Kurt had a tendency to make numerous alternative versions of his songs - lyrics-wise. Why? Because he took his writing seriously.

I mean J-F-C, the man even made it his business to see one his favorite living authors (Burroughs) while on a tour, possible high as fuck, not because he had anything worthwhile to say to the man, but because he wanted to see him. Pay homage. Do what fans the world over do at the present of their gods: gawk at them and generally stupidify themselves to a level of pure and utter retardedness.

Burroughs later recalled that he mostly kept wondering what this guy was moaning about - that he seemed to have no reason to be mad/sad at all. I say: touché.

Another case: after having performed MTV's Unplugged in New York (while externally expressing uncomfortability, rejection and even hostility against performing at all), Kurt, after being congratulated for the show in the backstage, allegedly responded, smilingly: "Yeah, I was f*cking good - wasn't I?"

It's the stuff of the legends how "geniuses" seem to put little or no effort at all to perform their magick. Silly fans (which rarely even exclude other band members) and other "myth builders" always assume - incorrectly - that when they see a lyricist scribbling notes at the "last minute", it must mean s/he wrote it down there and then.

I'm never buying that explanation (other than in cases where the lyrics in question truly show no higher merit), and since I can't be proven wrong anyways, I'm calling bullshit here as well.

People like to quote Cobain as having said that music always comes first, and lyrics second. Just as they love refuting other people's interpretation of songs saying: "That's not what it means, Kurt said it was just about his pet turtle (see: "Sappy")!" After which they beg people to stop overanalyzing things because it's probably in every way imaginable filthy, insulting and just plain wrong. Then they ask you to leave Kcurdt's music alone and his spirit in peace so he can finally do whatever it is that they do with the angels in Heaven.

At least this is my experience how these tirades tend to go, YMMV.

I challenge you, dear reader, to find another successful - or even semi-successful - singer-songwriter who operates in pop/rock music genre who wouldn't in effect agree with this Cobain's "original" notion.

That's simply the nature of the whole game, my dear confused friend. If you had ever taken the time to try and write a pop/rock song that you could honestly expect someone else than just you to enjoy too, you'd know all this already. My educated guess is that most of the people who are taken for a ride are the same people who have no personal experiences of what it is to write a piece of pop/rock music (that is lyrics driven).

As a sidenote, one of the reasons why we tend to have more and more electronic music is probably because people a) can no longer be bothered to actually learn to play an instrument (if you can't simply spin it, scratch it or push buttons), and because they b) no longer even see the point of writing lyrics at all because they don't even bother to pretend like they had something to say - let alone something that's worth saying.

Sure, there are artists who categorically refuse to touch their original lyrics, but in 99 cases out of 100, we don't know about them. They exist, just not on the airwaves.

Anybody who writes half-decent lyrics/poems, knows it's more of a on-going process than a case of sitting down and putting pen on paper.

Of course it can be done. It's just a rare oddity that it would actually bear much fruit.

In case you have trouble reading between the lines, I'll be more blunt: Cobain was a great lyricist. He was witty, funny, poignant, endearing and cryptic - often in the same song.

Yes, I miss Kurt's energy, charisma and knack for writing catchy songs. I fail to see who could replace the man in the contemporary pop/rock music scene. Jarvis Cocker was incredible in "Different Class" (1995), Thom Yorke in "OK Computer" (1997) and Beck in "Mutations" (1998), but pray, tell me what has come since?

Nada, as far as I'm aware.