Thursday, Sep. 22, 2011

'Smells Like Teen Spirit' (1991)

There are few couplets that encapsulate the adolescent existential condition as perfectly as "I feel stupid and contagious / Here we are now, entertain us." So it's fitting that the 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' video is staged as a high-school pep rally of the damned, with a rowdy audience enlisted from an L.A. Nirvana show, cheerleaders recruited from a local strip club and a lead singer who needed some form of authority to rebel against — so he chose his director, Samuel Bayer. "Kurt absolutely hated me by the end," Bayer says in Everybody Loves Our Town. But losing control of his client was the best thing that could have happened to Bayer's video. "Somebody came up to me and said, 'Kurt wants to invite the kids down to destroy the set,'" Bayer recalls. "It was this beautiful display of anarchy and destruction."