Unbelievably, I still meet people that believe music stopped progressing following the death of Kurt Cobain in April 1994.
Indeed, a short lull most certainly followed his death, but art will always progress in the face of death.
Whether or not a piece of art becomes a commercial successful is not only irrelevant, but a moronic concept. Those that breed commercial art, seek solely to pursue the death of self.
Throughout the spring of 1994, fans exhausted tears, onlookers lamented the wasted youth, while record industry nobles set in motion plans to sell the death for the time.
Cobain has since become something of a modern Elvis, complete with a bloated memory of how wonderful the early-90’s apparently were. What a shit legacy to have sold. That Cobain shot himself seventeen years ago this week is also a fact that simply makes me feel old.
In the background, another name lurked in the shadows. Following several years on the precipice of commercial success, the Beastie Boys released their fourth album, Ill Communication six weeks after Cobain’s death.
After the hit if their 1986 début album Licence to Ill, Beastie Boys became more experimental as they fused hip-hop elements (including heavy sampling) into an inbuilt hardcore punk ethic. The result were a pair of albums (Paul’s Boutique and Check Your Head) that were critically acclaimed, but not the hits that Capitol had anticipated.
When Ill Communication landed, it was headed by the superb singles “Sabotage” (with a video directed by Spike Jonze) and “Sure Shot”; both of which became successes outside of the hip-hop charts in the US, as they crossed over in rock and dance arenas.
That fact that track’s were ace also helped.
Meanwhile, Nirvana bassist Chris Novoselic went on to form the duo Sweet 75 and a few other low flying acts, while drummer Dave Grohl went on to form the stadium rock bores, the Foo Fighters.