Given that I was a teenager in the 1990s, it probably wouldn’t surprise anybody to hear that Nirvana’s groundbreaking album Nevermind was the first proper album that I ever went out and bought by myself with my own money.
What may surprise you, is that this happened in 1998, seven years after the album was released and four years after the tragic suicide of Kurt Cobain.
But there’s a reason for that.
You see, growing up, we were’t exactly poor, but I certainly wasn’t given the kind of pocket money that would allow me to go out and buy rock ‘n’ roll records.
My First Album
Instead, most of my early forays into rock music came from the television, from listening to the music my Dad was listening to, or stuff people would just kindly give me.
Yet by 1998, I was working part-time hours, usually during the school holidays, at the same warehouse where my mum worked, and thus had a little cash in my back pocket.
I could finally start buying my own music, and did so with gusto.
Nirvana’s Nevermind was the first album I bought with m own money at aged 14, not from the cool local record store or even a dedicated music shop, but from the supermarket across the street from us.
So far, so not very rock ‘n’ roll, right?
But hey, I had the album, I had my stereo, and I took it upstairs to my bedroom to listen to it as loud as I could possibly get away with without pissing off my parents.
I don’t remember my exact first thoughts, but I do know they were something along the lines of “Holy @$%#!”
I mean, sure, I’d heard of this album before. It was one of the biggest things to happen to music in the 1990s, so how could I not?
But I’d never actually heard it, and when I put it on my stereo for the first time, it blew me away.
It sounded like nothing I had heard before.
Yes, I find myself saying that a lot in these early 52 Songs… entries, but you have to understand that as a teenager, this was entirely true.
I was still growing, I was still learning and discovering music, and discoveries like this were new and fresh to me in a way that music very often isn’t any more.
I loved it.
I loved Smells Like Teen Spirit, sure, who doesn’t? But whereas that was the game changer for me, it wasn’t until half way through the album that I found the song for me.
It was Territorial Pissings, two-and-a-half minutes of absolute bat shit crazy insanity, sonic mayhem in its purest form.
Holy @$%#! indeed.
I had heard loud, angry guitars before, I had heard screaming vocals before, but I had never heard such things so free of all restraint, as though the usual confines of songwriting had been burned to the ground with those few opening chords, making way for a rip-roaring tsunami of epic aggression and undiluted intensity.
This. Was. Awesome.
Forget Smells Like Teen Spirit, it was Territorial Pissings that was the true highlight of this album, an album which I still believe sounds absolutely flawless even today in 2017.
For a time, Nirvana became one of my favourite bamds, and though I don’t listen to them today half as much as I used to, I still have to give them, this album, and this song all the credit in the world.
It was this album that really piqued my interest in not just listening to music, but actually picking up an electric guitar and learning how to play it. It was also this album that would inspire some of the subjects and themes I would explore in my poetry.
In other words, Nirvana influenced much of my creativity, but I know that they wouldn’t have done so if I had not been so obsessed with them for a time, and I know that I would not have been so obsessed with them were it not for the pure bat shit crazy insanity of Territorial Pissings.
Territorial Pissings by Nirvana is the fourteenth song in my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below:
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen – The Hitman
- R.E.M – Drive
- Pink Floyd – The Wall
- The Eagles – Take it Easy
- Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes is Back
- Coal Chamber – Loco
- Type O Negative – Everything Dies
- Monster Magnet – Space Lord
- Live – The Dolphin’s Cry
- Metallica – The Memory Remains
- The Prodigy – Poison