You’ve heard the hit single. You’ve heard the advertising jingle. So now you’re no doubt wondering whether Nirvana’s grunge-rock anthem, ”Smells Like Teen Spirit” — a power-chord commentary on the apathetic state of today’s youth — has anything to do with Mennen’s Teen Spirit, a line of antiperspirant/deodorants aimed at girls in the 90210 crowd.
It’s no sweat off our brow to tell you: Nirvana’s singer-lyricist Kurt Cobain was partying at home one night when a friend scrawled ”Kurt smells like Teen Spirit” across the wall (indoor grafitti being apparently popular among Seattle rock & roll scenesters). Cobain was immediately inspired to wax lyrical about kids who are easily sold anything though the song doesn’t mention anti-perspirant per se. ”Kurt was aware of the product, but beyond that the song has nothing to do with deodorant,” says a band spokesperson, who preferred not to be named.
Fans went wild for the tune, which helped make Nirvana’s Nevermind a surprise No. 1 album. Meanwhile, the folks at Mennen kept their cool, even after they learned of the song’s lyrics, and even though the clean-cut kids in the Teen Spirit TV commercial look as if they’d rather be gagged with a spoon than made to hang out with the unkempt, flannel-shirted guys of Nirvana. And Mennen won’t say if the single’s success has affected sales of Teen Spirit one way or the other.
Which brings us to the burning question most likely moistening your dress shields at this very moment: What, exactly, does Teen Spirit smell like? Well, the stuff comes in several scents (such as Romantic Rose, Ocean Surf, and Caribbean Cool), all strong enough to quell any teenage girl’s fears of B.O. But don’t take our word for it. Pop Nirvana’s hit into your personal stereo, head for the Teen Spirit display in your local drugstore, and use the product’s convenient scratch & sniff packaging to find out for yourself.