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Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross

Source: It Books
Hardcover, 192 pages
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Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross is not a biography, but an an examination of Kurt Cobain’s impact as a musician and artist on the music industry, fashion, and yes on the national dialogue about suicide and addiction.  Cross and Cobain did have friends in common, and he has relied on first-hand accounts and statements made by Nirvana’s members and Courtney Love, his wife at the time of his death.  Cobain’s impact on music is clear from the times Nirvana’s albums made the “best of” lists of magazines, alongside the band’s videos.

“I would argue that no rock star since Kurt has had that same combination of talent, voice, lyric-writing skill, and charisma — another reason he is so significant, two decades after his death.  The rarity of that magic combo is also part of the reason Kurt’s impact still looms so large over music.” (page 11)

This slim volume easily makes the case for Cobain’s impact on music before the onslaught of per-song downloads, and his lasting impressions on the Hip-Hop genre.  Readers will get a true dose of how the music world influenced fashion and how in the case of Grunge, which Cobain never understood how it could be attached to him or his music, was harder to bring to high-fashion houses.  Given that flannel and cardigans in Cobain’s style, which was born out of his monetary troubles, were easily obtained for a few dollars at local thrift stores or even just Kmart, fans were not interested in buying $6,000 trench coats or other high-priced fashion items made to resemble those thrift store finds.

“Many rock stars have an impact on fashion, but Kurt’s influence has truly been a bizarre outgrowth of his fame, and one that will last (even if his music will undoubtedly be his greatest legacy.).  Kurt very much planned his musical career, writing out imaginary interviews with magazines in his journals long before he became famous.  But he never considered that if he became a star, his ripped-up jeans and flannel shirts might one day end up on the runway’s of New York fashion shows.” (page 65-6)

Cross touches upon the studies of suicide rates following Cobain’s death and how his death led to the inclusion of resources in reports on suicide to help those in need.  Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross is a book that focuses on the influence of a music talent on our culture without offering judgment on his personal choices in life.

About the Author:

Charles R. Cross is a Seattle-based journalist and author. He was the Editor of The Rocket in Seattle for fifteen years during the height of the Seattle music mania.

13th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.

  • I wasn’t a huge fan, but I can appreciate the impact he had. I guess it’s a good thing that his death brought suicide awareness to the forefront.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Review: Consequences by C.P. Odom

  • I’m surprised to see he influenced hip-hop. Sounds like an interesting book.
    bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog post ..Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

    • There is so much cross-over with his music, but in a way, hip-hop tends to use his name more in a name-dropping kind of way to make a point about death, suicide, or addiction. It’s really sad.

  • Ti

    Can’t say I was ever a fan, but it did seem that his death was particularly tragic, given his talent and his impact on the music scene. I never thought o his impact on fashion though, but I guess that makes sense. And yes, grunge is so easily obtainable from thrift stores… why would they ever think that designer grunge could make it?
    Ti´s last blog post ..Review: The Realm of Last Chances

    • Yes, I read the part of fashion designers trying to re-create the look found in thrift stores and simply thought: “What idiots!”

  • There is so much poetry in Nirvana’s lyrics. Heart-Shaped Box is a brilliant song. I find it fascinating that Cobain had almost no formal education. It’s such a shame that he died less than 2 months after he turned 27.

    • He was too young. I’m older than he was when he died, and I cannot imagine life being so short.