Know when to let go: Love announces a Cobain musical is "very likely"

By MEGAN WEAL
On April 3, 2014

Let's think about Kurt Cobain.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of his still questioned death - his joining the 27 Club.

He was universally considered the ultimate personification of the bad-boy rebel.

His problem-riddled, drug-fueled life was heavily publicized as he and his band, Nirvana, catapulted to fame.

His face now appears on commercialized t-shirts worn idly by teenage girls, unaware of the struggle and pain etched into every photograph and corresponding remake.

Now, the story of his fragile and unstable life is being pitched to become a musical.

In 2012, Cobain's former wife, Courtney Love, shunned all rumored ideas of a musical to one side by stating that some things are best left alone. And I think Nirvana and Cobain fans across both sides of the hemisphere let out a huge sigh of relief - because it all just seems unjust.

I cannot think of any celebrity figure - music related or otherwise - who was so openly frustrated and tormented by the commercialization of the arts. He struggled with the seemingly neverending concept of the commodification of music.

Cobain and Nirvana were the emblem of not selling out.

With this context, the idea of a musical rendition of a tale of deep sorrow, battle and rebellion seems distastefully ironic. But unfortunately, the idea has resurfaced.

Earlier this week, Love told NME Magazine that a musical was "very likely."

Some will argue that musicals stemming from music legends will work. And I agree; "Let It Be," the musical based entirely around Beatles songs, was exceptionally crafted. The Queen-based rock-musical "We Will Rock You" has received praise in some of its highest forms. But all these musicals took the musicians' songs, not their stories.

Please don't think that I'm suggesting that the alternative should be a musical entwined by Nirvana songs. I don't quite think that the self-loathing lyrics and extreme expletives would consistently pack a theatre, no matter how exceptional those songs may be.

Cobain's story and struggle need to be left alone.

His overwhelming sea of fans confused and scared him in his life, so why should we encourage this in his death, purely for our own personal gain?

Not to mention that the glamorization of suicide is a dangerous thing to start playing with, and this is where my deepest cynicism lies.

To build a musical, a genre deeply attached to a stigma of happiness and joviality, around a dark and harrowing story seems to conflict a little too much.

Our generation, so immersed in the Internet, has seen a scarily consistent rise in suicide among young people. And I can't help but think that to depict such a problem through what is primarily a source of entertainment is extremely hazardous.

Awareness needs to be aroused from other avenues.

The only moment of comfort within all this information is that Love and Frances Bean (Love and Cobain's daughter) are insisting upon being heavily involved with the production of the musical - from the narrative to the songs.

Despite Love's involvement, it all still seems to be a selfish, strained activity that is succumbing to the cries of insistent Nirvana fans who are becoming unappreciative of the music that was left in Cobain's wake.

I sincerely hope that I'm proved wrong.

 

email: megan.weal@ubspectrum.com


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