Earlier this month we crossed a milestone of sorts. You’ve officially reached old when a defining (albeit possibly shallow) moment in history passes it 20th Anniversary. For those of a certain age, that moment was a Tuesday in an otherwise unremarkable spring that caused a cultural wave to come crashing down around a generation that was still struggling not just to define itself but determine if it even cared enough to try.
In many ways the death of a tow-haired heroin addict that was more punk than his post-metal contemporaries was the wake-up call, the loss of innocence, the spank on the ass that birthed them into adulthood. People have argued Cobain’s legacy since Kurt Loder first delivered the news of the musician’s demise. As a member of that generation labeled X, I understand both sides and their claims that he was either overrated or under appreciated. Each side, however, must acknowledge that something changed April 5th, 1994.
It serves as a mark on the wall by which we can measure the day our world became very very real and the rosy shades of youth were knocked away with the recoil of a shotgun blast. If you’re too old to understand the context of that day, want to relive a period of your youth, or are too young to understand what the hell I’m talking about…well, I offer you this reading list that might provide you a bit of insight, respite, or just a simple distraction this weekend. A journey, Quentin Tarantino style, starting at the end…because nearly everyone knows the ending but very few recall where it all started and even fewer still know why it mattered.