Archive | October, 2018

Certain Songs #1352: Nirvana – “All Apologies”

Album: In Utero
Year: 1993

“All Apologies” is my favorite Nirvana song.

“All Apologies” is the song that I most associate with Kurt Cobain blowing his brains out with a shotgun.

I’m not sure what it says about me that the Nirvana song that makes me the happiest is also the Nirvana song that makes me the saddest, but somewhere in the Leonard Cohen afterworld, I’m guessing that Kurt Cobain is nodding his head in recognition.

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Certain Songs #1351: Nirvana – “Pennyroyal Tea”

Album: In Utero
Year: 1993

Originally scheduled to be the third single from In Utero, but withdrawn because, you know, suicide, “Pennyroyal Tea” is perhaps the song on In Utero that would have fit the most on Nevermind, both structurally and sonically.

The irony, of course, it that “Pennyroyal Tea” was the one song where Kurt publicly said that he was dissatisfied with how Steve Albini’s mix came out, because he knew that it needed more of the sheen that glossed up the Nevermind singles.

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Certain Songs #1350: Nirvana – “Dumb”

Album: In Utero
Year: 1993

To say that the run-up to In Utero was tumultuous would be an insult to the concept of tumult. Nirvana was caught in between having to follow an massive and unexpected hit record with yet another hit record and the nagging feeling that having another hit record was the worst possible thing that could possibly happen.

So naturally, coming from the punk rock side of things, where any kind of success was frowned upon, they went with Steve Albini to record In Utero, knowing that the supersonic sheen that Butch Vig & Andy Wallace gave Nevermind would be nowhere to be found. In addition, Cobain wrote a bunch of songs that weren’t nearly as melodic, delving into the more abrasive side of his songwriting, and doubling down on his personal punk rock bona fides.

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Certain Songs #1349: Nirvana – “Something in the Way (BBC 1991)”

Album: Nevermind
Year: 1991

Nirvana was always going to be heavily bootlegged no matter what: there was just too much demand and too little supply. And naturally, the demand skyrocketed in the wake of Cobain’s suicide, and so we got MTV Unplugged and Live from the Muddy Banks of the Wishkiah, and eventually the With The Lights Out box set.

But, of course, there was a lot more stuff out there. Not so much studio recordings, but plenty of live shows, radio dates and other ephemera that got collected on bootlegs with titles as Outcesticide or A Season in Hell, as every single thing that Kurt Cobain had played on felt like it was interested to those of us who felt like he was a generational talent who took himself away too soon.

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Certain Songs #1348: Nirvana – “On a Plain”

Album: Nevermind
Year: 1991

While the back half of Nevermind didn’t have any commercially released singles, it still had a plethora of amazing songs, the amazingest being the penultimate track, “On a Plain,” which on a lesser album would have been the lead single, instead of stuck all in the back near the end.

And of course, as part of the juggernaut that Nevermind ended up becoming, “On a Plain” was released to radio stations as a promotional single, and getting a pretty decent amount of airplay in the process, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s right up there with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” or “Come as You Are” in terms of their greatest songs.

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