Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain. The name is iconic and tossed around among rockers everywhere. The lead singer, guitarist, and the main songwriter of the band Nirvana was one of the revolutionaries of the grunge rock era. His life in a way paralleled his music with its in-your-face, chaotic, and depressing aspects. Cobain was more often than not uncomfortable with the way his followers and the world saw him and his band’s music, and later struggled with a heroin addiction before he shot himself at age 27. He left a suicide note, on which, before his I love you’s he wrote: “…it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

It may sound cheesy to us in this day and age, but he died in 1994 and may as well have had the right to coin that phrase. To me, these words are a romantic notion that fits for someone who was artistic grunge junkie like Cobain. However, I don’t know if I agree with his words. On one hand, it’s often a fantasy in one’s youth to go out with a cause, and to be glorified for being great or influencing the world in some way. Many people idealize those who have gone out burning because they are such icons and are deemed worth following. By societal tendencies, these people are mimicked. On the other hand, the majority of the world strives to live until they are physically unable to do so, and this goal has seemed to work out for them. We all have difficulties in life, yet accept it because being alive is basically all that we have to stand for.

But the beauty of it is that everyone is different. Maybe in another time Cobain would have lived a long and happy life with his wife and child. No matter how someone thinks they should go about ending, or preserving life, I think we can all appreciate our ability to make the choice.

3 thoughts on “Kurt Cobain

  1. Taylor Manalo

    This is a fascinating set of “last words” to explore, and I believe that it is really all up to personal views of life and death when interpreting what these final words mean. For me, I saw “fading away” as leaving life unsatisfied. Even if you live your life to the end, not necessarily dying a heroic death, if you have lived every moment and are content with the way you are leaving the world, you are “burning out.” If you have been heroic in life, if you have made a difference, if you have never given up, you are “burning out.” You “fade away” when you let years pass by without fulfilling a purpose in them. To me, “fading out” is when you give up. I find this interesting because Cobain took his own life. It was his personal choice, and if death led to self-fulfillment, then he “burnt out” and left the world the way that he wanted to. But if he was quitting or taking the easy way out, in my opinion, he may have made his death significant, but he ultimately “faded out” of his life. I guess it is all up to how you view life and death, and as these are such personal ideas, there is no right or wrong way to view them.

  2. Erin Glocke

    I may see these final words a little differently than you. Instead of burning out meaning to kind of go out with a bang and to leave an impact on the world, I get more of a sense that it’s simply living life to the fullest. Whether or not you change lives, do something great or accomplish something huge, as long as you have lived every moment of your life as fully as possible, it is a successful life. The idea of fading out seems to me an idea of contempt, like you took life as it came and reached the end and just kind of slinked out. Burning out, like a candle, you have used up as much energy as possible and are leaving the world with no regrets.

  3. mje5181

    I share your hesitance in terms of agreeing with this quote. I hate to see someone go before their time. It brings thoughts of what could have been and the potential of the future’s prospects had that person not left. In sports, we see that a lot, these brilliantly shining stars just start to lose a bit of their talent and brightness and decide to retire, leaving only memories of success and dazzling. However, fans are crushed once they leave, wishing they could see that person continue to break records and set milestones. On the other side, you have those that give every last ounce of energy they have in them and while it is amazing to watch them reach certain feats, it’s almost depressing to see how the person we see now is nothing but a shell of what they used to be. Figured I’d bring a new perspective to the quote. Nice post!

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