Music Video of the Day: Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991, dir. Samuel Bayer)


If you haven’t seen it, then watch it. This music video premiering in September of 1991 was the 90s equivalent of The Beatles going on Ed Sullivan.

I’ve been a fan of Nirvana for a long time now, but I have never been a fan of this music video. According to Wikipedia, director Samuel Bayer figures he was hired because he would make a “not corporate” music video seeing as it was the first one he was hired to do and he felt his test reel was lousy. Also according to Wikipedia, the extras doing their thing wasn’t staged. They got pissed off sitting around all day, so Cobain and Bayer let them act out their frustration and filmed it. The janitor was played by Tony De La Rosa. The last shot of the close-up on Kurt’s face was his idea along with a few other edits he did for the final version that was shown on MTV. I’m glad he did seeing as I can’t think of anything more visually iconic about Nirvana than Kurt’s face screaming in close-up.

I like to imagine Nirvana performing at a high school like how it must have looked when Dead Kennedys performed at my old high school in 1982. Or, how it would have looked had they shown up in Frederick Wiseman’s documentary High School (1968).

High School (1968, dir. Frederick Wiseman)

High School (1968, dir. Frederick Wiseman)

There’s other information out there about the music video, but the important thing to know going into watching this is context. This was a major break visually and audibly from what was going on prior to the release of the album Nevermind.

Enjoy!

One response to “Music Video of the Day: Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991, dir. Samuel Bayer)

  1. Pingback: Music Video of the Day: Only Happy When It Rains (1995, dir by Samuel Bayer) | Through the Shattered Lens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.