It would be easy to dismiss Here We Are Now as just one final opportunity for Seattle writer and Kurt Cobain biographer Charles Cross to go back one last time to see if any money was left on the table. But in doing so, you’d miss out on one of the more thoughtful studies on the impact Cobain, and in many cases his scene mates in Olympia and Seattle, has had on everything from music to fashion.
The book, coming in at under 200 pages on the 20th anniversary of the musician’s death, reads more like a series of articles, with each focusing in on a different category that has been impacted by Cobain. Along with those already mentioned, Cross covers grunge and culture; the cities of Aberdeen and Seattle; and addiction and suicide. Though well-researched and thoughtful, Cross’s knack for writing on the topic as if he were penning yet another article on your favorite band makes those book so relatable. There are also some great examples of revisionist history scattered throughout the book, like Rolling Stone’s three-out-of-five star review of Nevermind that has over the years been changed to a four star review, without comment or explanation.
As an early champion of Nirvana through his role as editor of the local Seattle music weekly The Rocket, Cross weaves in plenty of personal anecdotes, and as the author of the definitive Cobain biography, Heavier than Heaven, he writes with an authority few others can top. His obvious bias for Cobain and the band does seem a bit heavy handed at times, but not enough to keep me from recommending this book to even the most casual fan of the band.