April 5, 1994 remains one of the darkest days in music history. The death of Kurt Cobain, another member of the infamous 27 Club, is a loss that many of us still feel deeply today. Much has been written about the Nirvana frontman in the twenty-seven years since that day. In fact, rarely in history has so much been written about such an ostensibly scarce work, since they only released three studio albums: bleach, never mind and in utero. And to this day, they still continue to generate news such as the lawsuit that the surviving members of the band received a few weeks ago for alleged child pornography, at the expense of the baby that appears naked on the cover of their most famous album.
Seattle’s grunge pioneers burned with unprecedented speed, following the dramatic trajectory of a Shakespearean tragedy and explosively reshaping the cultural landscape of pop and rock. And it was the unfortunate death of their leader that in a bizarre turn of events helped them become one of the best bands of all time. Why? Well, because they never had time to grow old, to release filler records, to become commercial… and their songs have remained, at the peak of the group, perfectly preserved like the mosquito in amber Jurassic Park.
Did they have years of greatness ahead of them, or would they have ended up dissolving like a sugar cube soon after? We will never know. We do know that people continue to think about Kurt’s suicide and incidentally accusing Courtney Love of being the Yoko Ono of the group; that Dave Grohl (a drummer, lo and behold) is still having a successful career with his Foo Fighters and that Krist Novoselic… well, the truth is that he hasn’t done anything worth googling either.
But none of that matters in this nostalgic happy corner where the songs of Kurt & co. they still sound as good and as loud as ever. If you, like us, have not stopped listening to Nirvana since they set the course for music in the 90s, you will surely enjoy this Top 20. Aren’t you already beginning to smell of teenage spirit?
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It makes a lot of sense that Nirvana’s first single was a cover. First of all, because Kurt Cobain was a true music obsessive, always looking for new sounds to be inspired by. And secondly because, as the band’s career has shown, they are the best cover group of all time. This cover of the 1969 song by the Dutch Shocking Blue is fun, catchy and with one of the best riffs that the group left us.
The high point of Nirvana’s debut album, bleach, is a surprisingly sweet, simple and sincere love song, with a melody inspired by The Beatles. The song refers to Tracy, Kurt’s then-girlfriend, and the phrase “I can’t see you every night for free” refers to him spending his nights at home watching television while he was an aspiring star of the rock.
The howl with which Kurt sings it and the metal riff that accompanied this song were particularly well appreciated live. “I’m a negative creep, a negative creep, a negative creep… and I’m stoooooned!!!!!” said (howled) the singer in one of the best songs of the band’s first album and the most grunge theme of its beginnings.
Territorial Pissings (1991)
This furious cry against machismo is frantic from the first verses taken from the get together of The Youngbloods to the chorus sung at the top of their voices. Nirvana used to use this theme to play on television performances instead of the single they were supposed to sing on that occasion, before destroying their instruments in the best style of The Who.
Something in the Way (1991)
Is this heartwarming song that Kurt practically sings in a whisper based on the singer’s own experiences living under a bridge during a bad time in his life? Maybe it’s just an urban legend. What is certain is that if you let this song play 13 minutes and 51 seconds after finishing, the secret song appeared Endless, Nameless and it blew your mind.
The Nirvana singer considered it “the most ridiculous pop song I’ve ever written.” But the autobiographical background of that child whom his parents leave at his grandparents’ house, eats ice cream, falls asleep and watches TV said the opposite. In the video clip of the song that you can see below, recorded in the garage of Kurt Cobain’s house in Seattle, the girl who appears in the video is his daughter, Frances Bean.
Considering the singer’s tragic end, the tendency to seek out the harrowing situations throughout Nirvana’s catalog is understandable. But many times the lyrics were full of humor with this theme about getting a job as a janitor at your old high school. As a curiosity, the entire song consists of only 15 words. I’m sure you can learn it.
Although it was written at the same time as songs like drain you either Lounge Actit makes sense that Aneurysm will stay out of never mind. In addition to having an introduction that is too long, it is the song that serves as a bridge between bleach Y never mind and for that reason it exists in the limbo between both discs. With lyrics that supposedly speak of Kurt Cobain’s addiction to heroin, critics considered it the last masterpiece of grunge.
Polly / (New Wave) Polly (1991)
One of the group’s darkest tracks is based on a true case in which serial rapist Gerald Friend tortured and sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl, who then outsmarted him and escaped by convincing him that she enjoyed it. Written from the haunting perspective of the assailant, both versions – one slow and one fast – convey the terrifying nature of the song and exemplify the depths Cobain was willing to explore.
“He’s the only one who likes all our nice songs and he likes to sing and he likes to shoot his gun but he doesn’t know what it means,” the band sang to the kind of fans they disliked the most. The women’s dresses they wore in the video clip that accompanied the song were also dedicated to them.
Kurt Cobain said of this song that it was equal to or better than Smells Like Teen Spirit and Dave Grohl compared it to Bohemian Rhapsody. Were they both exaggerating? Surely. But this distorted, twisted and at times psychedelic love song is one of his best compositions, which he concocted after his breakup with singer Tobi Vail.
This hauntingly surreal song named after the abortion herb came about by accident while Dave Grohl and Kurt were fiddling with a tape recorder. The singer assured that he had composed it in just half a minute. The song was to be the third single from in utero, but its release was canceled after Cobain’s suicide. The idea of recording a video clip was also cancelled, although we will always have the amazing solo version of the song in the MTV Unplugged.
dive was released as the B-side of Nirvana’s second single, sliverlater as part of the 1991 Sub Pop compilation, The Grunge Yearsand finally as the opening theme of his 1992 collection of rarities, Incesticide. It was one of his first successes when it came to fusing the force of heavy metal with pop and cryptic lyrics. “Pick me, pick me,” he pleads, before changing his mind and saying, “Hit me, hit me, yeah, I’m really good at hating.”
Think about it: if you had to go on stage to sing any song and give it your all for three minutes, which one would you choose? We bet on this rabid version of the pubk band Wipers that you may never have heard if you haven’t delved into the rarities of the band. Hit the link below and don’t be fooled by the slow start: you’re going to freak out.
With its strong title, snuff me makes a stellar appearance in one of the episodes of the third season of Succession. The interpretation of it has been discussed since some see in it a response to Polly, and others a reflection of the singer on the weight of fame. In any case, it remains one of the most audacious moments in the history of music.
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Top 20 Nirvana Songs
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