FT5: Forgotten Nirvana Songs
Twenty-eight years ago today Kurt Cobain’s uncle gave him a choice of either a bike or a guitar as a present for his 14th birthday. Kurt chose the guitar. As the front man for Nirvana, he would spearhead a cultural shift in rock music by bringing underground rock overground with the album Nevermind. DGC records hoped to move 250,000 copies. It went on to sell millions and symbolically dethroned Michael Jackson from the #1 spot on the billboards. Suddenly the hair metal bands and carefully crafted pop icons that dominated before Nevermind’s release looked dated and ridiculous. Nevermind was more than just an album, it was a pivotal moment in rock history. Follow the jump as we unveil our Top 5 Forgotten Nirvana Songs.
Kurt was influenced by musicians ranging from Black Flag and Lead Belly to the Pixies and the Beatles. His song writing formula was simple and brilliant. While never straying from his punk rock roots, Kurt injected the hooky pop melodies that kept the songs in your head for days at a time. “As simple as children’s songs” is how he wanted his music to sound. He often become frustrated at those who attempted to dissect his lyrics word for word. He was less interested in the literal meaning of words and more interested in their sound. “Music comes first and lyrics come second” was how he described his creative process. Kurt was often scribbling lyrics up until moments before recording. His focus was in melody.
Nevermind and In Utero sound as good today as they did when they were first released. But what about the Nirvana songs that slipped in under the radar? For Kurt’s birthday (he would have been 42 today) we thought we would share some of our favorite Nirvana songs that you wont find on Nevermind or In Utero. So break out your flannel and chucks and check it out. Happy birthday Kurt, and thanks for choosing the guitar.
This song first appeared on the Sliver single and then again on Incesticide. Krist and Kurt seem to be layering the same melody on bass and lead guitar. It’s simple and it works. Old Chad ain’t doing half bad on drums, either.
4. I Hate Myself and Want to Die
To those who are still clinging to the Courtney Love murder theories, I say this. Kurt had a song called “I Hate Myself and Want to Die,” end of story. Seriously though, for whatever reason Kurt decided to leave this track off In Utero. I think it should have made the cut, perhaps minus the full minute of feedback at the beginning.
3. Old Age
This track was recorded during the studio sessions for Nevermind. Yet another gem that ended up on the cutting board floor.
2. Even in His Youth
First recorded in 1989, “Even in His Youth” is a perfect example of an early Nirvana song that showed the direction Kurt was taking the band. Roaring guitars, repetitive hooky riffs, and frantic vocals all come together in this undeniably catchy track.
1. Do Re Mi
This track was released on the With the Lights Out box set. It was recorded at Kurt’s home in 1994 which would make this one of his last recordings.