Video Review: Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Inside a high school gym, a young man taps his foot as he listens to Nirvana play during the pep rally. The cheerleaders, in their black uniforms, shake their pom-pons. Kurt plays the guitar by the basketball net. Smoke filters through the gym.

In the locker room, the janitor finds something in his bucket. The teenagers bob their heads as they sit in the bleachers. The janitor moves his mop back and forth as he dances. Kurt jumps towards the front row and they stand up, banging their heads. A young man flips over on the bleachers.

The students start to run into another as they mosh. A young man, propped up by the group of his classmates, waves a shirt underneath the basketball net. The young men hang onto to Dave. A young man in a striped shirt is lifted by his classmates. A young woman takes a guitar and holds it as he head bangs.

The janitor sweeps as the principal stands, wearing a dunce cap, tied up in rope.

Rating: 1/5

For the pep rally, the student council had asked the choir to perform. The choir was given a setlist of approved songs, mostly from the 50s, to sing. They had rehearsed for weeks and the cheerleaders practiced their routine to the medley.

In the hallways, the young men and women rolled their eyes. The cheerleaders groused that their choreography didn’t matter. Some of their parents had lost their jobs due to automation. College was no longer a guarantee. Meanwhile, other students mourned their siblings or parents who had fought in the Gulf War. Although the economy was booming, their state hadn’t seen the positive effects of it yet.

A few members of the student council had booked a hard rock band they heard at a local club. Kurt Cobain, like them, knew the cheery facade of adolescence was a facade. He broke through it. Before the rally, the student council members tied the principal up. They were threatened with detention. However, for three minutes, they were going to be heard.

Director: Samuel Bayer Year: 1991

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo’s love of pop culture began in 1999 with the message boards dedicated to shows on the CW (then WB). She graduated from Oakland University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. When she is not debating whether Dawson should’ve ended up with Joey, she looks at cute dog memes on social media.

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