Standing back from ‘Nevermind’ might be hard but it’s worth looking past the swimming baby, the wet dollar bill and the memory of wearing Doc Martens in a muddy field in Reading as your best friend desperately looked for a shady covering to relieve themselves after they’d O.D’d on Snakebite whilst ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ blared over the speakers and remembering the tunes.
Nirvana’s songs still bite with the same passion and ache with the same ache as they did 20 or so years ago. So let’s take a look at the band’s best tracks.
10) ’Serve The Servants
“Teenage angst had paid off well/ Now I’m bored and old,” croaks Kurt on the opener of ‘In Utero’. This dispatch from the post-fame world is self-critical, cynical, sad and beautifully constructed.
A postcard from the edge of childhood despair. KC’s primal scream halfway through is raw and affecting. Who can’t relate to the unrelenting repeated phrase of the chorus “Grandma take me home”.
8) ‘Heart Shaped Box’
Unpicking the intricacies and passive aggressive tangle of the Kurt/Courtney relation was only half of it, as the band refined their quiet/loud dynamic to stunning effect.
7) ’Been A Son’
Thumping through childhood ‘abandonment issues’, this is a early, primal version of the style the band would late hone.
Fragile, brooding outsiders anthem, which mists over with thanks to Kera Schaley’s cello.
5) ‘Come As You Are’
The weirdly prescient lyric, the floaty guitar sound and just the general strangeness of this song, makes it a highlight from ‘Nevermind’.
4) ‘About A Girl’
It’s almost quaint now, KC starts the track sounding like he’s 12 years old as the band almost go jangle pop on this gorgeous early single.
A trippy lullaby to a mood stabilizing drug? Sure, why not. The vacant “Yeaaaaaaaah”’s of the chorus are astounding, especially considering the desperate fantasy lyrics of the verses.
2) ‘You Know You’re Right’
A from-beyond-the-grave shocker; every lyric pin pricks with its prescience while the music shudders with a freshness that, you imagine, should have long left the building after this point.
1) ’All Apologies’
A song full of desperate questions and no answers, the music is split into skeletal verses and a sizzling squall in the choruses. It still stands as the bands finest moment.