Jason’s Jukebox: Nirvana

Nirvana was the band that really put Seattle on the map.  They started the grunge movement.  But for me, they are what really got me interested in alternative music.  What happened was I had learned that Nevermind was their second CD. I was curious about their first, but the local top 40 station only played “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”  A classmate suggested I give the local alternative station a try and I’ve enjoyed the genre ever since.

Band Members:

Kurt Cobain–lead vocals, guitar (committed suicide)

Dave Grohl–drums (currently fronts the Foofighters and plays drums for Them Crooked Vultures. Check them out)

Krist Novoselic–bass guitar


  • Bleach–for me, this is the CD I like the least.  It’s not that I hate it, I don’t. It just doesn’t sound as good as the others.  The sound is too raw and just doesn’t have the professional feel of the others. It does, however, have a couple good tunes, one of which is “About a Girl”.
  • Nevermind–The most famous CD and their major label debut.  I still think this is their best work.  It’s the band at their best and every song just works. My favorite song is “Come As You Are”, with “Something in the Way” at close second.
  • Incesticide–This is the band’s B-side collection, a mishmash of songs that were recorded before or during Nevermind. It’s not a studio CD, but I count it anyway. The sound is a cross between Bleach’s raw, unfocused approach and Nevermind’s more polished sound.  There’s even some covers of Devo and other artists. My favorite tracks are “Dive” and “Aero Zeppelin”.
  • In Utero–The final CD and the only one I don’t own, mostly because my mom wasn’t willing to let me own a CD with a cover like the one it had.  (then again, look at Nevermind’s cover. Yeah). From what I’ve heard, I enjoy it.
  • Unplugged–for me, this was the swan song.  The acoustic sound is a different take for the band, but I like it. It’s almost a return to Bleach, though not as unpolished. Like Incesticide, this includes covers, and this time they’re covering David Bowie and one of their biggest influences, Meat Puppets. My favorite song happens to be a cover, David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World”.

Nirvana is currently in the Rock Hall of Fame. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’m happy because I like the band a lot. But my reservation is that I feel that there are other acts that they were influenced by that haven’t been recognized yet, like Sonic Youth and The Pixies. So why not induct them first?

Nirvana did not last very long, but their impact is still felt. They helped alternative music become a recognized genre. Yes, there were other acts that attempted this, like REM. But I feel that Nirvana had the better package and just happened to be at the right place at the right time.  New Wave was gone. Hair Metal was beginning to become irrelevant. Rock needed something new, and Nirvana filled that void. And I am grateful.





Film Freak: Wreck-It Ralph

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(NOTE: do not read this review if you don’t wish to be spoiled.)

I’m not as much of a gamer as I used to be.  One of the reasons is that I find it more time-consuming and I just don’t have the luxury I used to have.  I’m really more of an “old-school” gamer.  Old school games really had that pick up and play feel that you just don’t see in today’s variety.  Wreck-It Ralph is truly a celebration of classic games.  There’s so many cameos–Sonic the Hedgehog, M. Bison, even Q-bert (my favorite puzzle game!) makes an appearance.

The story focuses on Ralph, the villain of Fix-It Felix Jr. The point of the game is that Ralph is destroying a building as Felix, the hero, is repairing it. Despite their roles, Felix and Ralph get along.  However, the residents of the building despise Ralph.  It is their disdain which makes Ralph wish he could find some way to be as respected as Felix.  His idea is to win a medal, which happens when you beat a level.  He decides that the only way to do this is to “go turbo”–enter the other games instead of the ones you’re supposed to be in.  This is actually forbidden, but he is desperate for respect. Felix pursues him throughout the movie as well.

It is then that he meets Vanelope Cruz, a character in a racing game called Sugar Rush (think Candy Crush Saga meets Super Mario Kart) . Vanelope is a glitch in the game who wants to be an actual character, however the other characters won’t let her race because they fear should she win, the game would short-circuit.

What I like best about the movie is that its moral is that there are no pre-determined roles. Ralph learns through Cruz that he has potential to be a hero. He learns that he doesn’t have to be evil.

I also like what it says about Vanelope.  At the end of the movie, Vanelope is given the opportunity to be an actual character and erase her status as a glitch.  But through Ralph, she has learned to accept herself for who she is. This is a great lesson to teach children. Each of us is born with a glitch. And sometimes, that glitch can be a strength. I certainly see my autism as an example of a glitch with a strength.

Even if you don’t like video games, I’m sure you can appreciate this movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, what’s stopping you?