Smells Like Teen Nostalgia

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The nicest dude in rock and roll: Dave Grohl fronts the Foo Fighters. Elisa Moro/Flickr

Kurt Cobain was already a few years dead by the time kids in my grade really came around to Nirvana. The one boy I knew who caught on early had older siblings and showed up to school one day wearing an oversize Nevermind t-shirt, only to be marched off by the teacher to the lost and found to pick out a sweater to cover up the now-iconic floating baby. (Anyone wearing Bart Simpson—”Don’t have a cow, man!”—or Beavis and Butthead faced a similar fate.)

The night I first listened to In Utero start to finish I was riding shotgun with a friend who’d just gotten her license, both of us screaming along with the windows rolled down. It was an early blush of freedom and a revelatory musical experience, a moment that I expect countless teenagers across the country experienced in their own ways.

Poppier and lacking the raw ferosity of Nirvana but still angsty in its own right, the Foo Fighters came onto the scene with songs like “Everlong” and “Learn to Fly” that will forever be linked to memories of basement parties, football games, and other American high school clichés. But Nirvana always reminds me of those celebratory and sometimes soul-searching suburban joyrides.

So I was especially excited when the opening scenes of Sound City, Dave Grohl’s filmmaking debut, featured a time-lapse of someone driving aimlessly along a California freeway while Grohl reminisces in a voice-over about what it’s like to be a teenager.

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Smells Like Teen Nostalgia

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