Kurt Cobain committed suicide 17 years ago today, and while he was alive he often made himself out as a martyr in the struggle for the soul of 90s counterculture—a hapless guy who innocently signed a record contract and accidentally let the squares take over punk rock. But Cobain was a pop guy at heart, and regardless of what he wanted the cool kids to believe, Nevermind didn’t become massively popular in spite of itself. If you don’t want to make a huge, professional-sounding record, you don’t let Andy Wallace mix it.
That said, Cobain also seemed to delight in gaming the entertainment-industrial complex, exploiting the major labels’ hunger for young “alternative” meat in order to get his favorite, most unmarketable bands signed to ridiculous record deals. And he was good enough as an A&R guy that he probably could have pursued it as a second career if he wanted.
Case in point: the Raincoats. His passion for their old records, combined with his status as Geffen’s golden child after Nevermind, led to a series of reissues on DGC. His advocacy—and an offer to open a Nirvana tour—inspired the group to re-form after a decade’s hiatus. And not only to re-form, but to record a very excellent album, Looking in the Shadows, that stands up next to their classic material. In fact it contains one of my favorite Raincoats songs, “Don’t Be Mean.”
Anyway. What I’m trying to do with this post is to share the song and its video. Watch after the jump: