26 Nov

I’m amazed at how much a person can grow and change over time. This current theme, music of my birthdays, has shown me so much about the passage of time. For instance, look at 5 posts ago. That post was 1989 and I was just finding my way as music lover. Fast forward to today’s post- 1994. I’m like a totally different person. November 1994 was my 17th birthday. By this time, I’m finishing up high school, have already met the woman who would be the mother of my children, and have begun playing music. I wasn’t calling myself Niveous yet but I was beginning to songwrite much more and trying to find my sound. It was around this time that I made a big decision when it came to my music- i was going acoustic.

I may have had an electric guitar but there was something about acoustic guitars that I loved. Part of this decision certainly must have come from the time period as MTV Unplugged was still going strong. I was a fan of the show and enjoyed the stripped down reworkings of songs. 1993 had brought great episodes like Stone Temple Pilots (with Scott Weiland sitting a throne and belting out “Big Empty”) and 10,000 Maniacs (with their killer cover of “Because the Night”). Probably the most well known Unplugged was recorded in November 1993 and released around my birthday a year later: Nirvana Unplugged. For a burgeoning acoustic guitarist, this album was a goldmine. Not every Unplugged was a home run. Anytime I hear the Alice in Chains or the Eric Clapton episodes, I cringe. But the sounds of the Nirvana unplugged were amazing. Whether it be them howling their way through a Meat Puppets song or pouring emotion into an old Leadbelly tune; this album showed Nirvana’s depth in a way that their studio albums sometimes missed. And as a musician, I wanted to create moments like that. The arrangements weren’t complex but the performances were so powerful and they kept the audience entranced.

Picking one song from that album is tough. And much to my surprise, I have never picked a song from that album as a song of the day before. I think I’m going to go with the David Bowie cover. Back in 1993/94, I hadn’t heard the Bowie version yet, so to me this was Nirvana’s song and I thought it was exceptional. (It would probably be another year before I heard the Bowie version. Both have their own merit)

Song 1088: “The Man Who Sold The World” by Nirvana


One Response to “1088”

  1. valleyofsteel November 28, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Ern- interesting you chose this song, and also interesting to see why. I was just the opposite: I had my mom’s collection of old 45 records from a very young age, and “The Man Who Sold the World”/”Space Oddity” double a-side was always one of my favorites of the bunch. At age seven (approximately) I might have told you TMWSTW was my favorite song ever. So, when I heard the Nirvana cover, I initially was a bit turned off by it. I still think it hardly holds a candle to the original. But I do agree with your points about the Unplugged format. (And I do remember the STP one being one of the best). If I were to choose a song from this, I probably would have leaned more toward “Jesus Don’t Want Me for a Sunbeam” – all things considered, I think the emotion he poured into this one was very fitting and memorable.

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