Today you’d have been 51 years old.
I often wonder what you would think of the world today. The characters in power, the music, the rules and regulations. I wonder which stories you would be telling us through your lyrics. I wonder how you’d be feeling today.
A couple nights ago, I watched the Unplugged performance from start to finish for the third time. I found myself more vulnerable and emotionally affected by it than ever before. As you sat down hunched over the microphone wearing your favorite pair of jeans and a relaxed oversized sweater I noticed your uneasiness. You studied your surroundings, adjusted your chair and welcomed the audience saying “Good Evening”. At that point, the whole room felt small and there was something increasingly inoffensive and lovable about your presence. It was almost as if people were waiting for something to happen, waiting for something to come out of you. I guess that was always the problem, right? People expected too much from you. As your beautiful daughter Frances once said it, you sacrificed your life to your art because people demanded it of you.
People mentioned you were feeling anxious prior to the recording of Unplugged. Your stomach insisted on hurting, but there you were, onstage again. Your voice invaded the room as the lyrics to Come As You Are came out of your mouth. The death flowers and black candles surrounded you, just how you wanted. The room was full, but you were strategically placed on the edge of the stage, emotionally naked and somehow alone. Your voice echoed, maybe for the first time, without any outside interference or white noise. As you went through the songs, possibly the most riveting moment of your performance was when Where Did You Sleep Last Night started. It feels glorious and incredibly hard for me to watch you perform that song. As you ask your girl where will she go, you have already made up your mind. Where the cold wind blows is where you’re headed and we just wanted you to stay. Where Did You Sleep Last Night highlights your ability to build up the tension of the song in a soft and shy manner, only to break over every single note with your magnetizing raw scream. A perfect chaos. I feel the tears streaming down my face and I can’t help but wonder: why couldn’t you stay?
You spoke to the outcasts of society so clearly and encouraged a whole generation of like-minded people to surface. To shine through their imperfections, pick up their guitars and pour their soul out for the world to see. I think of you as a symbol of strength rather than anything else, because you’re the one who mastered the art of carrying the weight of life on your butterfly shoulders.
Since your death the world has changed in many ways, but your legacy lives on. We carry the ultimate gift you left us: three triumphal studio albums, three live albums and twenty-one singles. We’ve always been proud of you Kurt. You gave so much of yourself, repeatedly stripping down your soul and wearing it on your sleeve. The pain you felt must’ve been incomprehensible for most of us and I am sorry for that. I am sorry.
It is 2018 and today it’s your birthday. I feel deeply grateful for being alive today and listening to your voice. I still can’t believe the level of control you had, twisting a single scream up and down, lacking any sort of warnings. A magnificent frail glitch, that comes and goes, leaving unnoticed. You abruptly left us too. But you were wrong Kurt, it is absolutely not better to burn out than to fade away. Boddah knew that.
Happy Birthday “Kurdt” Cobain. Thank you for your music, for your sincerity and for your empathy. My children will know your name and your voice will never be silenced.