On August 31, Universal will release a Nirvana best-of singles collection called Icon featuring 11 songs that were all hit singles. You may wonder the point behind such a release. I do, too. To me, there isn't one discernible reason to put something out like this except for the possibility of making some extra money. Seems like Courtney Love is doing anything she can these days to cash in on Kurt Cobain's musical legacy, including (gasp) approving another movie. (The first was Gus Van Zant's Last Days.) With the release of Icon, Universal is attempting to place Nirvana among the many questionable bands who release music simply because the artist has become a commodity. The benefactors of the Bob Marley Estate have done the same.
A band is never about the hit. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as well as the other 10 songs on this flimsy, get-rich-quick knickknack do not, and should not, stand alone. All of the songs found on Icon are great, they were indeed hits, but none deserve to be singled out. The opening track, "You Know You're Right," was the last song Nirvana ever recorded and it's included on any and every posthumous Nirvana release, only making it into the human psyche thanks to mainstream radio and TV bashing us over the head with it upon its release. The next four selections, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Come As You Are," "Lithium," and "In Bloom" are all drawn from Nirvana's second album, Nevermind. The amount of hype surrounding that album was so across-the-board overwhelming that it sent the band spiraling into the mainstream and onto to the cover of every magazine around the world. The album's other darker tracks like "Drain You" and "On A Plain" were conveniently forgotten as Nirvana became a household name. Things from that point on would never be the same.