Cast your mind back to the early ’90s for a moment, and there’s one band whose name will undoubtedly define that era; Nirvana.
A group of Seattle grunge rockers, the history and influence of Nirvana is well-known, with their raucous alt-rock breaking into the mainstream in the early ’90s, turning music on its head completely.
Undoubtedly, the crowning achievement of their time together was 1991’s Nevermind. The band’s second album, Nevermind was a cultural phenomenon, famously displacing Michael Jackson atop the US charts, and going on sell millions of copies.
Bolstered by singles like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Come As You Are’, the record’s impact is impossible to ignore, with countless artists calling it an important influence on their work.
But think for a second, and just imagine how wild hearing this record would have been at the time? Sure, for plenty of music fans, they’ve grown up with the album, but for those around at the time, the album was like nothing they had ever heard before.
The songs permeated the culture, becoming staples of modern rock radio, a constant feature on the setlists of garage bands everywhere, and for one music-lover, the focal point of one of the world’s strangest tribute albums ever.
Check out ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana:
A few years ago, one YouTube user uploaded a rather strange video to the site. Running for 40 minutes, the video featured a vocal cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind, sung in a capella by a young boy ostensibly called Tom Clark.
In the video’s description, the uploader provided us with a bit of backstory.
“Early to mid nineties. I am in 7th grade. Art class,” they wrote. “You know how you really get to know the other 3 or 5 people at your table. You become friends.”
“Well, this young gent and I had a passion for a little underground band-then known as Nirvana.”
“At some point I lent this lad a random mixtape I had lying around,” he continued. “It probably had bad rock music on it. He lost the tape..”
“To repay me…FOR SOME REASON HE THOUGHT THAT HE WOULD MAKE ME A TAPE OF HIMSELF SINGING THE ENTIRE ALBUM NEVERMIND BY NIRVANA – a cappella STYLE!!!”
As the uploader explains, the album was “recorded in a karoake [sic] machine,” features “puberty-filled voice cracking and occasional incorrect lyrics,” and it’s just as wild as you could expect.
Of course, it’s not quite all recorded in a cappella style, with occasional input from the original recordings, namely helping to provide the guitar solos or intros that our humble vocalist didn’t believe he could replicate.
While it is often hard to listen to, many of those who have stumbled upon this video online have touted it as a stunning example of outsider music, akin to something recorded by the likes of The Shaggs, Daniel Johnston, and Jandek.
Meanwhile, one YouTuber commenter even goes as far as to say that “I suspect Kurt Cobain would have loved this.” Considering Cobain’s love of acts such as The Shaggs, it’s not a far stretch to say that this could have easily made his famous list of 50 favourite albums.
While some casual commenters have noted that this Tom Clark needs to be found, others seem quite happy about leaving his musical “talents” behind on this unassuming relic from the ’90s.
Whatever the case, Tom Clark’s version of Nevermind is undoubtedly one of the strangest, most divisive, and jarring things you’ll listen to all day. If you can make it through the entirety of the record, you deserve a medal or something.