No one has ever considered Nirvana the sunny song-of-the-summer kind of band. They were the brooding voice of an angsty generation—musicians who captured the pain and confusion of youth in the '90s. And "Smells Like Teen Spirit" became the anthem of an era of counter-culture teens horrified with the materialism of late 20th century popular culture.
Joel Rose. Kurt Cobain in the studio with Nirvana in late This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action.
Load up on guns, bring your friends It's fun to lose and to pretend She's over bored and self assured Oh no, I know a dirty word Hello, hello, hello, how low? With the lights out, it's less dangerous Here we are now, entertain us I feel stupid and contagious Here we are now, entertain us A mulatto An albino A mosquito My libido Yeah, hey, yay I'm worse at what I do best And for this gift I feel blessed Our little group has always been And always will until the end Hello, hello, hello, how low? With the lights out, it's less dangerous Here we are now, entertain us I feel stupid and contagious Here we are now, entertain us A mulatto An albino A mosquito My libido Yeah, hey, yay And I forget just why I taste Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile I found it hard, it's hard to find Oh well, whatever, never mind Hello, hello, hello, how low? With the lights out, it's less dangerous Here we are now, entertain us I feel stupid and contagious Here we are now, entertain us A mulatto An albino A mosquito My libido A denial!
We celebrate 28 years since the release of Nirvana's single by looking into its iconic accompanying angst-ridden video. This week sees rock hit another milestone, with Nirvana celebrating a whopping 28 years of their Smells Like Teen Spirit single. Released on 10 September as the lead single and opening track from the band's Nevermind album, Smells Like Teen Spirit was a defiant call to arms, which put grunge on the map and catapulted Nirvana into the mainstream.
Guy Raz. In the early s, Seattle stood at the center of a new rock 'n' roll genre called grunge. The music was loud, pared down, and largely unrestrained.
For starters, the author of the song Nirvana's lead singer Kurt Cobain did not know what the term "teen spirit" meant when he used it as the title; he thought it was an arcane anti-establishment motto, when in fact it was the name of a mildly popular deodorant aimed at young females. In this sense, the song resembles the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds: the public at the time, quite naturally, thought the song was about LSD, the public's favorite drug, while John Lennon always insisted that it was actually an innocent tune inspired by one of his son Julian's drawings. The fact that the dreamy song alludes to such phantasmagoric entities as "newspaper taxis" and "plasticine porters with looking-glass ties" has led many observers to believe that Lennon was not being on the level here. Smells Like Teen Spirit is generally conceded to be one of the most epochal songs in the history of rock'n'roll.
But did you know these facts about the video itself? Amy Finnerty, a rookie MTV staffer who'd only recently joined the music programming department, campaigned for the channel to premiere the video. Two days before the shoot, the band handed out flyers asking fans to appear in the video, while the LA radio station KXLU also made an on-air casting call-out for extras.
It is the opening track and lead single from the band's second album, Nevermindreleased on DGC Records. The unexpected success propelled Nevermind to the top of the charts at the start ofan event often marked as the point where grunge entered the mainstream. The song was dubbed an "anthem for apathetic kids" of Generation X  but the band grew uncomfortable with the attention it brought them. In the years since Kurt Cobain 's death, listeners and critics have continued to praise "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as one of the greatest songs in the history of rock music.