When Nirvana's iconic album Nevermind came out in 1991, it was revolutionary, but would the culture-shifting collection of songs hold as much weight if it came out today? According to its producer Butch Vig, probably not.
“I think it would be tough to repeat that zeitgeist moment,” Vig told NME in a recent interview. “If Nevermind came out this week, despite being a great record, it would not have the same cultural impact. It was perfect timing coming out when there was a shift in music and it felt like a revolution. I can see that happening again, but not in the same way.”
The Garbage drummer and producer went on to echo Dave Grohl's sentiment about Billie Eilish encompassing the same energy Nirvana did in its prime. “I saw something similar with Billie Eilish," Vig noted. "I’m friends with her and [brother, producer] Finneas and their mom was my daughter’s music teacher. They live down the street from us. Billie speaks for a whole generation of youth, much like Nirvana did with their zeitgeist moment.”
Unfortunately, the immediacy and accessibility of music these days poses a challenge to artists. “Everything is so instant that it’s hard to build up some mystique,” Vig noted. “When you really want something but can’t quite get your hands on it, that makes it all the more powerful. Everyone has access to everything these days. Maybe someone will come along with a band who sounds like Nirvana but a lyricist who writes like Bob Dylan and is into hip-hop and doesn’t have Instagram or Facebook."
“Maybe they’ll do a couple of shows and disappear," he added. "If they did, people would go mental because they’d want them all the more. If you know who that is, please call them because I want to produce them!”
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