Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kurt Cobain: About a Son

One certain thing about nearly every posthumous Kurt Cobain tribute is that he would have hated them. For a guy who didn't care much for himself or his own art, the recent sight of the horrendous statue memorializing him in the town he detested would probably have appalled him at least as much as Fred Durst's chest tattoo, or Cobain's private journals on display at every Barnes & Noble in America. At the bottom of it all, Cobain's opinion doesn't matter--he's not around to express it, and we shouldn't judge a About a Son on his standards any more than we should judge Raging Bull on how much Jake LaMotta agrees with it. Still, Cobain was possibly the most famously sensitive artist to ever strap on a guitar, and it's hard to not take that into consideration when reviewing the art he inspired.

Possibly the most respectful tribute to the man is Kurt Cobain: About a Son, a documentary made up of Cobain's interviews with Michael Azerrad for Azerrad's book Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Set to footage of Seattle and Aberdeen, with a mostly ambient soundtrack, About a Son goes the 2pac: Resurrection route by letting its deceased subject tell the story. As a narrator, Cobain doesn't offer much insight into his music, but he's also revealed to be the sweet, unassuming and even confident man you hoped he'd be when you first heard Nevermind. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would inspire more devotion than any other rock star of the '90s, but maybe that's part of how he did it.

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