NIRVANA was a grunge band and maybe the most important band of the 90's. Even with their heavy and distorted sound, a lot of their songs team with pop fundamentals, enabling their work to be admired by millions of people, introducing many to the world of rock and roll. You can even argue that NIRVANA is the band separating classic and new rock as of today. No matter what you believe, we all can agree that NIRVANA was awesome and we were lucky to have them in this world while we did. Last week was the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death so let's commemorate his life by celebrating some of his greatest work.
NIRVANA has released three studio albums in their career plus a few integral albums: Bleach (1989), Nevermind (1991), and In Utero (1993).
10. "School" - album: Bleach ( LISTEN)
"You're in high school again"
Cobain said it himself that he put like zero effort in the lyrics for the Bleach album and when listening to this song it shows. Oh well, I love that riff.
9. "About A Girl" - album: Bleach (LISTEN)
"I'll take advantage while you hang me out to dry
This song sounds like it doesn't fit the Bleach album with its clean guitar and focus on the ride it jam glad it's there. I really like Cobain's vocal melody in this one.
8. "You Know You're Right" - album: Nirvana (LISTEN)
"I will move away from here. You won't be afraid of fear"
I love how the heavy sound here and especially how desperate Cobain's vocals sound. This was the last song the band recorded with Cobain before his death and is found on the "best-of" compilation album.
7. "Come As You Are" - album: Nevermind (LISTEN)
"And I swear that I don't have a gun"
I love the murkiness of the guitar in this one. Cobain thought this was going to be NIRVANA's big hit and wanted this to be the lead single off Nevermind but they were told they needed a lead-off single to build some buzz. Luckily, that other single became a hit on its own... (more on this later).
6. "Breed" - album: Nevermind (LISTEN)
"We could plant a house, we can build a tree. I don't even care, we could have all three.
This may be the band's highest-energy song filled with drum rolls and that awesome distorted bass riff. The odd wordplay of chorus is just super fun as well.
5. "Negative Creep" - album: Bleach (LISTEN)
"Daddy's little girl ain't a girl no more
This may be their sludgiest, grimiest song just trudging along on one note most of the time but it really works. The sound connects very well with the unpleasant lyrics especially the line above and it's funny when you inadvertently find yourself singing along to it in public.
4. "All Apologies" - album: MTV Unplugged: Nirvana (LISTEN)
"I wish I was like you: easily amused"
Although the original song could be found on In Utero the unplugged version really is superior. The cellos and the echoing acoustics of the room really sells this song for me.
3. "Milk It" - album: In Utero (LISTEN)
"I am my own parasite, I don't need a host to live"
When asked to make more radio-friendly songs, of course Cobain does the complete opposite and creates an album like In Utero filled with songs like "Milk It." Non-sensual lyrics over an intense and all-over-the-place riff but the crown jewel of the song is the anti-solo that just sounds like random notes being played. I know this song isn't for everyone but I absolutely love it.
2. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - album: Nevermind (LISTEN)
"I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now, entertain us"
And now with the complete opposite song, EVERYONE loves this song. Speaking of which, THIS is the song I mentioned during my "Come As You Are" where the label wanted a song to amp up the public. I'm sure they were happy with that decision since this is a song that everyone in the world has heard and loved.
1. "Heart-Shaped Box" - album: In Utero (LISTEN)
"She eyes me like a pisces when I am weak"
This song has one of my favourite riffs of all time and applying that to NIRVANA's classic quiet-verse, loud-chorus formula has created my favourite NIRVANA song.