Grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain would have been 53 today.When the iconic musician died at the age of 27, Nirvana was labeled as the "flagship band" of Generation X. Cobain himself was hailed as the voice of a generation. The now Diamond-certified album Nevermind sent the previously relatively-obscure group into the stratosphere, and made them an international sensation. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and kickstarted a massive Grunge movement across the country. At its height, Nevermind was selling over 300,000 copies a week, and it's now one of the highest-selling albums of all time. "If there was a Rock Star 101 course, I would have liked to take it," Cobain told Rolling Stone at the height of his career. "It might have helped me." While Nevermind spawned one of the greatest rock songs of all time, it's important to remember on Cobain's birthday that he and his bandmates penned other amazing songs, songs that true Nirvana fans might even argue are better than the legendary "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Here are a few of Nirvana's other amazing songs in honor of Kurt Cobain's birthday.
All Apologies (MTV Unplugged Version)
Every true Nirvana fan knows that the band's MTV Unplugged session was one of the greatest moments in rock history. Every performance from that session showed that even with the electrics stripped away, Cobain and his band had natural raw energy that cut through the noise. "All Apologies" was already a standout on 1993's In Utero, but here, the raw emotion is palpable in Cobain's voice. "I wish I was like you," he calls out to his audience. "Easily amused." In hindsight, it's hard to hear "All Apologies" as anything other than a desperate cry for help.
"In Bloom" remains one of those songs that perfectly conveyed the core values of Nirvana. Originally penned as a hardcore punk rock track, Cobain softened up the single significantly before release. Cobain, despite his reputation among Boomers, was all about love and mutual respect, and strongly resented fans who used his music to justify ignorance. "He's the one, who likes all our pretty songs, and he likes to sing along, and he likes to shoot his gun," he says condescendingly of Nirvana fans. It's undisputed that Cobain had a complicated relationship with mainstream recognition, and he resented the way fans used his music to justify bad behavior. But it's equally as ironic, in hindsight, how many fans were spawned by this track, regardless of its message.
One of Cobain's personal favorites, "Drain You" was written on the spot at Sound City Studios during the early moments of recording Nevermind, and is allegedly about Courtney Love. "I love the lyrics, and I never get tired of playing it," Cobain told Rolling Stone. The lyrics are...romantic...I guess, but only in a way a rocker like Courtney Love would find endearing. "Chew my meat for you, pass it back and forth in a passionate kiss," he sings. "From my mouth to yours, I like you."
Come As You Are
Chances are, you can't even read the song title without singing along in your head. "Come As You Are" was a monumental song for Nirvana. Nevrmind's second single, the song dominated radio stations and secured their spot as one of the biggest bands on the planet. Once again, the MTV Unplugged is the superior version of the song.
Something In The Way
For a late-90's emo kid, "Something In The Way" was a very special song. It served as a call to action for many and offered empathy to those who felt like outsiders or loners. "'Something in the Way' tugged at a troubled psyche that was all too real," wrote NPR. With its minimalist song-writing and haunting chord progression, the Nevermind closer has since become a timeless anthem, reminding misunderstood teens everywhere that it's okay–actually, that it's super-duper cool–to be different and to rebel against the mainstream.
The chilling narration of this song follows a man who desperately turns to religion after the death of his girlfriend, and finds that a higher power comforts him as Lithium would. Cobain was very open about religion and often spoke on his understanding that some people need it in order to find purpose. "If it's going to save someone, it's OK," he told Rolling Stone. This song once again showed the general public who Cobain actually was, a man that knew what it was like to be lost and need guidance, and who unfortunately never found peace.