The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Cobain’s Journal Published

“Don’t read my diary when I’m gone. Ok, I’m going to work now. When you wake up this morning, please read my diary, look through my things and figure me out.”

When the eager and curious reader flips the hardcover, this is the first entry that they will lay eyes on and is their first insight into the world of Kurt Cobain.

It has been almost eight years since the mastermind of Nirvana and notorious lead singer Kurt Cobain killed himself in his Seattle home a mere three years after the band burst onto the scene, revolutionizing music as we have come to know it. Nirvana provided an outlet for the lost and a diversion from the dance-pop and early hip-hop that dominated the mainstream in the early 90s. The unforgettable anthems of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Lithium” and “In Bloom” from the band’s breakout album Nevermind helped to spawn an entire new generation of flannel shirt totting, angst ridden teens. “Nirvana means freedom,” explained Cobain.

Journals throws us headfirst into the mind of Cobain, the pain, the rise to success and the brilliance straight from the pen held by the man himself.

Cobain filled dozens of notebooks containing lyrics, drawings and writings about his plans for Nirvana and his thoughts about fame, the state of music and the people that bought and sold him and his music. More than 20 of these notebooks survived the rocky paths he traveled in life and had been tightly concealed in a safe -that is until his death.

For the avid Nirvana fan, this book could easily become a bible. Cobain’s entries are words of inspiration, passages raising questions about the society we live in and how anyone could possibly be satisfied with oppressive, hate-driven values that have come to dictate our lives. Cobain does not ramble. His streams of consciousness flows like poetry and when done reading an entry, you feel that you want to contribute more to life rather than let it pass you by.

It is easy to gather after completing the more than 250 entries that Cobain was one of the most well-rounded and brilliant men of his time. Perhaps that was his problem-he knew too much about everything, so he saw how much better things should be. In one of his passages, Cobain wrote, “I purposely keep myself na√Øve and away from earthly information, because it’s the only way to avoid a jaded attitude.”

There are two ways to review the release of his journals. On one hand, there is a moral dilemma. The book published his deepest thoughts and personal feelings. Some may feel that they are violating him with each entry they meticulously read. Journals contains many letters that Cobain wrote, but for some reason he never sent, that are there for the world to read.

If you look at it from another perspective, however, Journals is a tribute piece. For skeptics who thought that the “god-like” status that Nirvana and Cobain hold would not have existed if Cobain had not shot himself are proven otherwise. For those who thought that Cobain has been exuberantly overrated, Journals will shatter those thoughts and put them in the garbage where they belong.

Entries are scribbled on hotel note pads, old receipts and pieces of loose-leaf paper with cigarette burns on them, proving that the man always had something to say and wanted to record it at a further date. Cobain’s concepts for Nirvana’s videos, cartoons depicting a “typical” American family and actual pages that songs such as “Rape Me” and “Dumb” were transcribed on are rarities that can only be viewed through Journals.

Everything is unedited and authentic, leaving nothing to the imagination and coinciding with Cobain’s anti-censorship views.

Riverhead Books did a fine job of compiling and putting the entries into such an order that the book flows nicely in chronological order. Each page extricates feelings that everyone has come across in one point or another, making it easy for the reader to relate and sympathize with Cobain. “I don’t need to be inspired any longer, just supported,” the lonely singer wrote.

Overall, Kurt Cobain’s Journals is an essential and enlightening read. That, along with Nirvana’s recently released self-titled greatest hits CD, would make a superb gift for someone this holiday season. Kurt Cobain has become a legend and every legend has a story. Journals is Cobain’s epic.

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