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Nirvanas Smells like Teen Spirit collides with a full orchestra, and its hauntingly brilliant
Boring orchestra music no more: Smells like Teen Spirit gets a serious update in this video. I didnt think I was a fan of Nirvana, but Rob Gardners spin on things has changed all that. - photo by Emily Cummings

As the video starts, the string section quietly plucks out the familiar tune of Nirvanas Smells like Teen Spirit, building the suspense . . . and initial apprehension. The rock and roll grunge style of Nirvana doesnt seem to belong in the same sentence as cellos and violas. But thats the brilliance of it.

Rob Gardner has taken Nirvanas emotionally buzzed song and combined it with a full orchestra, redirecting the same electric style in a surprisingly new direction. Instead of raw drums and lead guitar, the rounded sound of a choir and full orchestra add a drama not originally found in the debuted version. Dont think that the lyrics arent lost in the mix of things, it's quite the opposite. The rich, haunting voice of McKenna Breinholt doesnt have Kurt Cobains edgy rasp but allows the poignant lyrics to linger atop the vibrating orchestra.

Things are initially kept quiet, but a slightly unnerving echo of hello hello hello how low slowly builds throughout the song. The piece continues to dramatize with each verse, until an explosive swell, with Breinholt singing, With the lights out, its less dangerous. Here we are now, entertain us. A vocal chorus mirrors the drama of the song, adding to the brilliant climax. Suddenly, things slow down again, fading into the same hauntingly suspenseful echo hello, hello, hello how low the piece began with, leaving the listening wanting to hear it all again.
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