The 10 Best Nirvana Songs



Nirvana came to a sudden end 19 years ago this month when Kurt Cobain committed suicide. The group released only three studio albums, but they left behind tons of other material and a huge fan base that only seems to grow as the years go by. Next year they are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it's extremely likely they will get in on their first ballot. We asked our readers to vote on their favorite Nirvana songs. It got a huge response, and the top 10 goes way beyond the obvious hits. Click through to see the results.

10. 'Lounge Act'

The ninth song on Nevermind hardly sounds like the work of any traditional lounge act, but the group felt that Krist Novoselic's opening bass seemed like the kickoff to a lounge song. Instead, it leads into a Pixies-inspired song about a guy who feels torn between his girlfriend and his band. It was a dilemma that Cobain felt himself when the band's growing success caused tension with girlfriend Tracy Marander. The group couldn't come up with any way to end the song, so they merely slowed down the tape machine.

9. 'Sappy'

Kurt Cobain spent years fiddling with "Sappy," recording it over and over again between 1987 and 1993. He was never quite happy with it, though they ultimately released it as a bonus track on the 1993 AIDS relief compilation No Alternative. By this point it had been retitled "Verse Chorus Verse," but there's another Nirvana song with that title. It's caused much confusion over the years, so most Nirvana fans now refer to this as "Sappy." (Got all that?) Cobain never saw "Sappy" as a fully realized track, but the fans loved it and the band brought it back into their set list on their final tour in 1994.

8. 'In Bloom'

"In Bloom" paints a rather bleak portrait of a rock fan who "sell[s] the kids for food," "likes to shoot his gun" and "likes our pretty songs." The song was written before Nirvana attracted many yokels to their shows, but Cobain was already horrified at the idea of violent thugs taking pleasure in his songs. "In Bloom" was originally a hardcore punk song , but Cobain gave it a much softer edge before they cut it for Nevermind. In a fantastic bit of irony, it was a hit single, and it brought Nirvana many of the fans Cobain claimed to despise. They sang along with it every night, even if they didn't know what it means. To put it mildly, Cobain had complex feelings about fame and mainstream success.

7. 'Aneurysm'

Kurt Cobain's tumultuous relationship with Bikini Kill drummer Toby Vail inspired many of Nirvana's most emotional songs, including the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" b-side "Aneurysm." "Love you so much it makes me sick," he sings. "She keeps it pumpin' straight to my heart." Vail may have given Kurt an "aneurysm," but not long after this song came out he began dating Courtney Love. Despite appearing on no actual studio album, the song was a regular part of Nirvana's live show, and it's become a massive fan favorite.

6. 'All Apologies'

"All Apologies" originally appeared on In Utero, but the version everyone remembers was recorded in November of 1993 for Nirvana's MTV Unplugged album. Watching the performance after Cobain's death, it's hard to hear it as anything but a suicide note. "I wish I was like you," he sings to his huge global audience. "Easily amused." It ends with him repeating the line "all in all is all we are" 13 times.

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