So, just when does a dead rock star officially pass over into the realm of exploited legend? Answer: When a book can be published that merely presents color copies of his private notebooks, and it is part of a massive "re-awareness" campaign on behalf of his former bandmates, his psychotic widow, his struggling record label and his publishing company to ensure that Nobody Ever Forgets How Important Kurt Cobain Was.

And folks, it is official: Kurt Cobain, that anti-establishment, uncomfortable in his own skin, indie-rock champion is now an in excelsis member of the 27 Club, and his corpse can now be fucked repeatedly until just the bones are left for the licking. Pile the body up next to Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, and the others, and watch the buzzards gather, picking off the best bits first "(MTV Unplugged in New York," "From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah"), leaving just the offal for the latecomers ("You Know You're Right," whatever the hell crap turns up on the box set). It is all done in the name of "reverence" and "importance," but when the scribblings of a Melvins fan become a registered property of "The End of Music, LLC," it is pretty clear that it is all about the "profit."

There is nothing in Journals that exposes anything remotely unforeseen about Cobain's innermosts. Newsflash: He was a restless punk kid who was bullied by dickhead jocks; he took his music and the music of bands he loved very seriously; he was incredibly image-conscious when it came to being image-conscious; he wanted to be punk but couldn't anymore because he was too rich; he did heroin and was in denial about his addiction; he was married to a dominating, careerist, drug-addled shrew. Big. Fucking. Deal. I could have learned that in a fanzine review of In Utero.

With nothing to reveal, a reading of Journals leaves (or should leave) an inescapable ickiness on your fingers. As a reader, all you are doing is prying into the private, embarrassing ramblings of a stupid guy who played guitar and wrote some amazing songs. His creative process isn't revealed (although his overwhelming concern with getting his band signed is), nor are any true poetic gems contained within. This is the equivalent of reading your dead girlfriend's diary and finding out she didn't cheat on you, she really liked you, the sex was pretty good, and you are a dick for wondering otherwise.

Welcome to sainthood, Kurt. You would have loved it.

By Kurt Cobain
Riverhead Books
$29.95, 304 pages
ISBN: 1573222321

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