Episode #6: Tarantino’s Top Ten
May 5, 2010
Playlist #8: The Rolling Stones
May 5, 2010

Playlist #7: Nirvana

When rock was on its' deathbed, Nirvana gave it life in the form of Grunge.

Nirvana Tracks. Though their run lasted a brief 5 years, singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer (for most of it) Dave Grohl, left an indelible mark that still looms larger than life over popular music and culture. When rock was on its’ deathbed, Nirvana gave it life in the form of Grunge. Inspired legions of imitators and innovators now attempt to carry the torch. That’s a very good thing.

PLAYLIST

  1. Smells like Teen Spirit – Let’s get this one out of the way. There’s nothing I can say about this song that hasn’t been said before except this: its’ successful incorporation into a mix is the holy grail of mash-up producers everywhere. Matching and harnessing the energy of this masterpiece when it opens up is no small feat.
  2. Lake of Fire – Originally recorded by the Meat Puppets, it was reworked (and improved) by Nirvana for inclusion on their MTV Unplugged album. This is my favorite Nirvana track in case you’re wondering.
  3. Heart Shaped Box – When In Utero was released, much of the cleanliness of Nevermind was abandoned in favor of tortured guitars and lyrics. The video (youtube it) is haunting as hell. “I wish I could eat your cancer, when you turn black.” Wow.
  4. Lithium – Predicting the substance-abuse changing of the guard from traditional drugs to prescribed ones, this was their first song to catch my attention. I was exclusively listening to hip-hop at the time but the chorus tapped my inner anger in a way that gats and ho’s could not.
  5. About A Girl – The only representative on this list from their debut album Bleach, this one also appears on their post-mortem greatest hits album Nirvana.
  6. Polly – Poor Polly. When you end up on the dark side of a Kurt Cobain track, your chances of survival or escape are pretty minimal. This is an acoustic masterpiece of the macabre.
  7. Lounge Act – Whenever I do these lists and revisit an artists’ entire catalog, I usually find a track that I had forgotten that I used to adore. This is that track. I used to put this bad-boy on repeat, scream along with Kurt, and collapse on the floor.
  8. Dumb – “I think I’m dumb, or maybe just happy,” is a wonderful lyric that vividly describes the internal conflict that assisted in Cobain’s self-murder. Beautiful use of the violin, provides a welcome addition to their usually sparse-instrument arrangement.
  9. Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Also on the unplugged album, this traditional American folk song dates back to the 1870s. Popularized by Lead Belly in 1944, Nirvana’s version amps up the blues and adds a splash of rock sensibility. This is the blackest Cobain ever recorded.
  10. All Apologies – The last track on their last studio album, it’s hard to listen to this track and not hear it as a suicide note. I never cried myself to sleep when Cobain died, but I still get morose when I relisten to these lyrics and think of this amazing artist so tortured and trapped in his head that he must take his own life. But sadder still is that he felt selfish enough about the decision, that he had to apologize first. Rest in peace friend.

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