There won't be a new Nirvana, but Nevermind
September 3, 2011
Full Article: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/there-wont-be-a-new-nirvana-but-nevermind-20110902-1jq43.html
Two decades after the revolution sparked by Nirvana it is clear that phenomenon may never be seen again, writes Bernard Zuel.
THIS month marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Nevermind, the explosive second album from the American trio Nirvana that, in the words of John O'Donnell, the fan who a few years later would sign the "baby Nirvana", Silverchair, "brought the underground to the mainstream and made rock'n'roll dangerous, exciting and vital again".
Just how much music needed to be shaken up then can be seen by the Australian chart for 1991, whose top 10 albums reflected a homogenised, ultra-safe world where the only note of rebellion was in the faint echo of naughtiness captured in Madonna's Immaculate Collection.
Twenty years on with the Australian chart, notwithstanding the shock and awe of Lady Gaga, it is not exactly filled with noise or rebelliousness either, prominently featuring a teenage TV talent show winner and a couple of anonymous dance-pop artists. Has anything changed?
Looking for a youth rebellion may be missing the point, and missing the good stuff, according to Joel Connelly, a manager of local rock and hip-hop artists, including the winner of this year's Australian Music Prize, Cloud Control.
''To say we need another artist like Nirvana to shake things up is only half true,'' Connolly said, citing technology, specifically how music is consumed, as the revolution, not music.
''If you ask me, there is more important music being made today than ever before, especially in Australia. Genres are being stretched and re-created, ideas and boundaries are being challenged."
The truth of that may be in the appearance of the local artist Gotye at the top of the charts with his blend of folk pop and electronics, sharing space with traditional fare such as Adele, the mix of hip-hop and pop of Jay-Z and Kanye West, and high quality singer-songwriter Josh Pyke.
Dom Alessio, a prominent triple j announcer, says flatly: ''I don't think we need another Nirvana, and I don't think we can have another Nirvana as popular culture is too fragmented.
"When Nirvana came out it wasn't just that their music was different, but Nirvana reflected the feelings of a generation, that kind of post-excessive '80s-end of the Cold War - the promise of something great, which never really eventuated,'' Alessio said.
''But in 2011, if you want to find people who have similar ideas to you, you can follow them on Twitter, you can follow them on Tumblr, or whatever blogs you read, so it's very hard now for one particular artist to speak to all the fragments of culture."
And as for the next Nirvana, do not look near home, Alessio said.
''If anyone was going to be the next Nirvana, it would have to come from the Middle East or Asia. A section of the world where culture isn't as fragmented, where there is a giant upheaval happening at the moment and teenagers, the youth of countries like Libya and Egypt, are being freed of these oppressive regimes, but not exactly finding the freedom they have been promised.