Articles Tagged: Nirvana

Certain Songs #1354: Nirvana – “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For a Sunbeam (MTV Unplugged)”

Album: MTV Unplugged
Year: 1993

Coming full circle with Nirvana in a way: I opened these posts with one of their obscure covers, and I’m closing it with the greatest cover they ever did.

It goes without saying that even in 1993, the original Vaselines version of “Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam” was pretty fucking obscure. Hell, I’d bought The Way of The Vaselines in 1992, and I had totally missed it. So when it popped up as the third song on the MTV Unplugged broadcast, it was a beautiful surprise.

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Certain Songs #1353: Nirvana – “About a Girl (MTV Unplugged)”

Album: MTV Unplugged in New York
Year: 1993

Recorded in November of 1993, and airing a month later as a Christmas present, Nirvana’s appearance on MTV Unplugged encapsulated almost everything that made them a great band — only the noise was missing — and provided a tantalizing glimpse to the future as well.

Like all things Nirvana, it’s nearly impossible these days to look at it as a performance in and of itself without trying to dissect it for clues, but I’m convinced that it would still be remembered as a classic performance even if it hadn’t become a inadvertent self-provided eulogy.

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Originally scheduled to be the third single from In Utero, but withdrawn because, you know, suicide, “Pennyroyal Tea” is perhaps the song on In Utero that would have fit the most on Nevermind, both structurally and sonically.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