Grantland staff writer (and Pitchfork Media contributor) Steven Hyden wrote a piece entitled “The Loneliness of the Alt-Rock Anniversary.” The subline: “Twenty years later, why Counting Crows’ August and Everything After is as meaningful as Nirvana’s In Utero.”
I damn near threw up.
To lift the curtain behind the scenes, most of the time the author of a story do not write their own headlines or sublines. There are copy guys and editors who will write them. Most of the time headlines will sum up a story pretty well, but sometimes they don’t. And the author has no control over it.
But after a lot of exposition, eight graphs into the story we get the real stomach-churning meat of the piece. Hyden writes:
I was a huge fan of both records in ’93 — and still am in ’13 — and I know I’m not the only one. August and In Utero existed in essentially the same context — their videos were played during the same Alternative Nation segments on MTV, their singles were heard on the same radio stations, and many of the people who bought the Nirvana record also bought the Counting Crows record.
No. No no no no. No. No.
They might have existed in the same period of time, but they did no exist anywhere near the same context. Nirvana laid down the foundation for the marketplace in which Counting Crows were able to swoop in, pick up their shekels, nab their Friends girlfriend and live a nice quiet life while still putting out the Starbucks classics.
Here’s another bon mot in the ninth graph:
August was actually more popular than In Utero, eventually selling 7 million copies. The album’s big hit, “Mr. Jones,” is arguably better known than any Nirvana song with the exception of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Counting Crows epitomized everything that was disposable in the ’90s from Sha-La-Las of “Mr. Jones” to anything they have done afterwards.
I’m glad they made their money. Good for them. But to call their music anywhere in the zip code of Nirvana’s is utterly laughable.
As for Mr. Hyden, I inferred from the story he’s a year older than I am. I loved Nirvana and could not stand Counting Crows, the Wallflowers, Candlebox, Gin Blossoms and all of the other “alternative” bands of that era. I hated the shows Friends, Seinfeld and ER.
We came of age in the same era. So it just amazes me that he could justify what he’s trying to sell.
So here’s “Beeswax”