I had unjustified expectations from this book, and it didn't take long to realize how misplaced they were.
I'll start with the horrible. What annoyed mI had unjustified expectations from this book, and it didn't take long to realize how misplaced they were.
I'll start with the horrible. What annoyed me the most is how amateurishly it is written and how the author repeatedly inserts himself in the narrative. I mean, what the fuck: it is so pathetic, man. How one would do that and not see it is completely beyond me. I get it that he loves the album and the band. I get it that he loves its members, especially -- as I am duly informed -- the female ones, that the author finds beautiful and rad (he really said something like that)... I get it! After all you wouldn't write about something almost nobody has heard just for cash. So why going into such embarrassing remarks!? It's painful to read them!
Anyway, the book has some good parts. It gives a history of the band, talks about the origins of shoegaze and the related bands, and gives some cool trivia of the recording techniques used in Loveless, like the extensive use of sampling on drums, guitar feedback (played in layers with the sampler!), and even voice (Butcher's is sampled and played as a synth, e.g. in When You Sleep). Also the book revealed the lack of any actual effect units beside reverbs: it's all tremolo arm on the whole chords, Vox amplifiers, and reverse reverbs. So that part was cool and super-interesting, I guess. I just wish the book was more focused and carried out a real analysis (both artistic and technical) of this landmark recording, instead of being just a spastic write-up by a dorky fanboy....more
Well, as I expected I felt pretty dirty reading these diaries. Not as bad as watching the Montage of Heck garbage though: the hand-writing at least coWell, as I expected I felt pretty dirty reading these diaries. Not as bad as watching the Montage of Heck garbage though: the hand-writing at least connects you to a form of reality. 'Cause let's not forget that "Cobain was a master at jerking your chain".
In any case, this book is for die-hard fans only: it's a non-book with a young man's private notes, including a few letters to some of his friends, drawings, lyrics, plus one or two interesting reflections about drug usage.
Cobain's drive and dedication to create something meaningful permeate these notes. For me that's the main value of this thing: it can be inspiring. "Any band that wants to go anywhere should practice at least 5 times a week.” This quote was from a letter to a drummer they fired because he couldn't practice enough: so much for the slacker ethos. Even when he’s extremely high and rambling a lot, you can feel, almost smell that single focus, the north star that pulled him forward, up and down. The pen can blacken the paper or faint away, and some pages can be hard to read, but you can see the continuous machinations about the craft, the music, the visuals, the band. If the songs had not been enough, here you can understand how Nirvana was the quintessential punk band, more than any other rationalization.
Other things that come out are the contradictions. From “taking the greatest responsibility” of having a child to being addicted to drugs, to the blatant one on the first page:
"Don't read my diary when I'm away. Please read my diary And figure me out"
Someone (was it Kim Gordon? I'm not 100% sure) said that only Nirvana were able to use a cheesy guitar chorus effect and actually get away with it without sounding corny. That’s one way to describe the mystery and aura that always surrounded them. For as long as I’ve known them I’ve asked myself, “Why them?” Well, this is it; quite simply, the intensity and the conscious focus (beside the talent, of course) set them apart and allowed those songs to blast out. ...more