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In a great tribute to the mediocrity currently being propagated by the Music Industry, rock fans are spreading an old garage track recorded by Nirvana just prior to Cobain’s suicide like wildfire over GNUtella. It’s further testimony to the milquetoast pseudogrunge coming from imitators like Creed, Nickelback and Default; all of whom are clearly derivative but none of whom really match up to the works of bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Mudhoney, et al.

I for one never thought Nirvana were terribly profound. I liked their music, I appreciated that they were talented, but like most artists I think that we have ascribed much greater meaning to their work than was really intended. “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous/here we are now imitators..” may not be the huge message of openness and a cry for honesty we think it is. It might just rhyme really well.

Anyway, that we have to keep digging up second-rate works by long-dead artists rather than finding new ones from new artists moving in new directions is proof that the choke hold that Big Music has on our culture is stifling the voice of artists.

More than likely, the “leak” of this song on GNUtella file sharing networks is just a cunning marketing ploy to call the Grunge Generation to arms in heading to the CD store to pay our penance. So even our attempts to usurp the grasp that the music industry has over what we hear and how we hear it, using Peer to Peer, have been co-opted.

That the vast majority of those funds will go to support a system that necessarily stifles, packages, and filters free expression is abhorrent. That the majority of what’s left over will go to Courtney Love, who has consistently exploited her now-dead husband to support the building of her own Gatsby-esque American Dream, is even more abhorrent.


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Sep. 28, 05:24 EDT Nirvana reborn with a powerful song Ben Rayner

The song “You Know You’re Right” is a powerful reminder of Kurt Cobain’s talent. It says a lot about how desperately rock ‘n’ roll yearns for another “revolution” akin to the grunge boom of the early 1990s when an eight-year-old track from a defunct band with a long-dead singer ranks as, quite possibly, the single most anticipated release of 2002.

Nirvana was that good, though. And while we were all, perhaps, jumping the gun just a bit by proclaiming it the band that defined a generation — and the late Kurt Cobain the voice of that generation — the ensuing years have proven Aberdeen, Washington’s most famous sons to be much, much more than a footnote in rock history.

The accolades for the band happened even before a single, infamous shotgun blast sent everything spinning out of control and cemented Nirvana’s legendary status in April of 1994.

The online leak this week of the unreleased Nirvana song “You Know You’re Right” comes after years of flaccid, but highly popular grunge pretending by “Seattle sound” acolytes like Creed, Puddle of Mudd and Alberta’s Nickelback.

Last year witnessed the publication of an extensive Cobain biography, Charles R. Cross’ Heavier Than Heaven, and the awarding of $4 million to Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, for the publication rights to her husband’s diaries. Cobain has been on the covers of both Spin and Rolling Stone during the past year. The band might be dead, but its legacy is everywhere.

Now, however, it appears that Nirvana might soon be everywhere again, too.

“You Know You’re Right” surfaced on the Internet last Saturday, just a day after Love announced on Howard Stern’s morning radio show that “lots and lots and lots of money” had settled her long, nasty legal dispute with surviving Nirvana members over who will administer the band’s posthumous business dealings. Love told Stern that a Nirvana retrospective would be in stores by the Christmas holidays.

There is, apparently, no shortage of unreleased Nirvana material to plunder. Guitarist Eric Erlandson, Love’s bandmate in Hole, told Spin in June he’d found a box containing 109 cassettes — demos and early mixes of Nirvana songs, live material from rehearsals and jams with friends, some home recordings of Cobain alone — in Cobain’s house shortly after the singer’s suicide.

“You Know You’re Right” is certainly a keeper. A ragged, discordant howl of pain — quite literally: Cobain repeatedly twists the word into a tortured, 10-second refrain — cut from the same battered cloth as 1993’s bristling In Utero album and riding a bassline that recalls fellow Seattle casualties Alice in Chains’ “Would,” the song was recorded three months before Cobain’s death, yet still sounds as vital and as immediate as anything making the rounds today. If there’s more where that came from, it’s probably worth raiding the vault.

Digging too deep into Nirvana and Cobain’s unreleased catalogue could, of course, sully the brilliant work produced during their abruptly truncated careers if quality control is superseded by the drive for profit and the market is flooded with substandard material.

The mercurial Love, long regarded by many as a careerist and an opportunist looking to cash in on her husband’s valuable repertoire, has already been accused by some observers of using her stake in the Nirvana songbook as a bargaining chip in her own lawsuit to free Hole from its recording contract with Geffen.

It’s tempting, too, to regard the conveniently timed arrival of “You Know You’re Right” on the Net as a shrewd, surreptitious attempt to stoke renewed interest in the band before the greatest-hits package lands in stores later this year. Still, it’s a great tune, an almost shockingly powerful reminder of how singular Cobain and Nirvana’s talent really was that takes but 3 1/2 minutes to destroy all the pale imitations that followed in Nevermind’s wake.

However it got there, sharing the song for free on the Internet is wholly in keeping with Cobain’s everyman ethic. You know the guy would have been down with Napster.