Montage Of Heck

(I’m writing something every day for #100days. This is post 1/100)

Last night I was jetlagged and woke at 330am. So I watched Montage of Heck. It didn’t put me back to sleep.

Review Score: 7.4/10

Not enough new material. Felt a little thin, especially the extended animations.

The most harrowing scene was a skeletal Kurt, covered in sores, trying to stay awake while holding baby Frances Bean as she has her haircut.

The amazing thing about the documentary was reliving Nirvana. What a comet. What a canon.

Some reflections:

  • I am significantly older now than Kurt was when he died.
  • I can’t shake the memory of what it felt like to hear Nirvana for the first time on a tape in my Dad’s yellow station wagon. That music created new synapses in my 12 year old brain.
  • Great songs have a foundational architecture that persists through any interpretation. This is why ‘Unplugged In New York’ works so well. The Montage of Heck soundtrack has xylophone-instrumental versions of Nirvana songs playing in the background of some animations and they are so good.
  • The first time I realised this foundational architecture thing was hearing Joss Stone cover the White Stripes.
  • ‘Unplugged In New York’ is completely under-rated. In context, it’s one of the best albums of last century.
  • When setting up, Kurt suggested that the stage be decorated with stargazer lilies, black candles, and a crystal chandelier. The show’s producer to ask him, “You mean like a funeral?”. He replied, “Exactly. Like a funeral.” Kurt died 4 months later.
  • I can’t stop thinking about the cost of genius. We all strive to be as great at something as Kurt was at music. But in the end, despite the genius, he was so unhappy that he took his own life. Every songwriter wants to write something that connects with people like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ but few consider what the cost might be.
  • The Wikipedia article on ‘Unplugged In New York’ is excellent.
  • I don’t think we’ll ever have another band with Nirvana’s trajectory. In the same way that there’ll never be another Michael Jordan.
  • Had to listen to Pearl Jam ‘Live On Two Legs’ today all the way through.
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