Nirvana

Smells Like Teen Spirit

LYRIC

[Verse 1]
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

[Pre-Chorus]
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello

[Chorus]
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

[Post-Chorus]
Yeah, hey, yay

[Verse 2]
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

[Pre-Chorus]
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello

[Chorus]
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

[Post-Chorus]
Yeah, hey, yay

[Guitar Solo]

[Verse 3]
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, nevermind

[Pre-Chorus]
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello

[Chorus]
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

[Outro]
A denial, a denial
A denial, a denial
A denial, a denial
A denial, a denial
A denial

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About "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

One of Nirvana’s biggest hits, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the lead single from their second album, Nevermind. The song’s success and omnipresence in the early ‘90s brought the band unrivaled popularity. Eventually, Kurt grew tired of it and removed it from their live set as often as possible.

Rock history recalls Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill scrawling the phrase “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” in spray paint on a wall, from which Kurt took the title. Some say Kurt took it as a call for a revolution, in reference to the Bikini Kill-led riot grrl movement; but according to producer Butch Vig, Kurt just thought the phrase “was stupid,” and it didn’t really mean anything at all. However, it was later revealed that Hanna was referring to the brand of deodorant worn by Kurt’s then-girlfriend and Hanna’s then-bandmate Tobi Vail.

In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stoneundefined, Cobain said:

I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixiesundefinedundefined. I have to admit it. When I heard [them] for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily I should have been in that band—or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.

It was one of the last tracks written and recorded for the album, and the final version is comprised of the second take out of just three takes, according to Montage of Heck and other sources.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was voted #9 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Smells Like Teen Spirit Track info

Publisher Virgin Records
Video Director Samuel Bayer
Copyright © Geffen Records
Phonographic Copyright ℗ Geffen Records
Guitar Kurt Cobain
Art Design Robert Fisher
Vocals Kurt Cobain
Label Sub Pop Records
Manufacturer Uni Distribution
Distributor Uni Distribution
Background Vocals Krist Novoselic
Mixing Engineer Andy Wallace
Engineer Jeff Sheehan
Mastering Engineer Howie Weinberg
Art Direction Robert Fisher
Mastered at Masterdisk
Legal Advisor Brittenham & Brance
Drums Dave Grohl
Bass Krist Novoselic

Video