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“What in Kurt Cobain’s name is going on?” you may ask. No legacy is safe, no boundary left un-pushed. To paraphrase Jadakiss from ten years ago, dead rock stars get better promotion. Like Elvis before him and Tupac after him, Kurt Cobain and his pioneering band Nirvana have reached iconic, mythical status following the troubled singers 1994 suicide.
In 1991 Smells Like Teen Spirit was released, hair metal was kicked in the bozack, grunge became a household name (and profitable genre) and every teen was rocking flannel shirts and torn jeans. Now in 2011, the era of the meat dress, two boundary pushers of a different kind are expressing their love for the angsty anthem through their own soulful interpretation.
The duo of Jack Davey and Brook D’Leau, known as J*DaVeY, have chopped and screwed Nirvana’s snarly hit into a slow burning groove. The duo, while pinned down in the R&B and soul genre upon debuting in the mid-2000s, have always been hard to categorise. Davey, an apparent free spirit with a mohawk, was quickly put into the Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae realm by critics.
The ambiguous nature of their sound continues. Smells Like Teen Spirit bristles with the breathy layered vocals of singer Davey, while producer D’Leau brings in the extra muscle with suitably melancholy synth and fuzzy guitar. Cobain’s somewhat incomprehensible social commentary is a little more clear on this go-around, while lacking the bite.
Smells Like Teen Spirit was the battle cry of the disenfranchised Generation X. J*DaVeY are looking to turn it into the soundtrack of the social network set. Ironically it may very well wind up the victim of it’s own audience. Here one day and forgotten the next. The immediate impact of the original Teen Spirit was apparent, it’s legacy however may have not be so imaginable upon release. Gold star for effort, kudos for a reminder of the resonance of the original. Time will tell with this rendition.
write by Randolph