By many accounts, Kurt Cobain really wanted to be the world’s most famous weirdo. He was ambitious until he became successful, and then, reflexively, publicly exhibited as many left-of-centre tendencies possible. Those of us who never knew him felt like we did because he cultivated an Everyman persona even though he was extraordinary at most things he put his energy into.
Brett Morgen, director of Cobain doc Montage Of Heck and overseer of this accompanying soundtrack, has been lovingly demystifying and over-humanizing Cobain over the past year, releasing intimate home videos, artwork and recordings that are both treasure and trash. It’s an odd exercise made all the more gauche by this utterly gorgeous, over-the-top deluxe edition box, which features a double-sided puzzle, a beautiful book, Morgen’s film, a CD, tape and much more.
And for what? Cobain tinkering starkly with song ideas, goofing around with lo-fi sound effects and cartoon voices, and telling silly stories into an erratically miked home recording set-up. The amoebic versions of Nirvana songs sound only unfinished and strange. If the goal was to render Cobain an artsy oddball more than a rock god with a Midas touch, then mission accomplished.
Top track: Do Re Mi (Medley)