Nirvana jumped from the underground into the mainstream in the early 1990s thanks to their landscape changing hit Smells Like Teen Spirit and the massively successful album Nevermind. During their most popular years the band was made up of Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, and now legendary frontman Kurt Cobain. There work still lives on even after the suicide of Cobain in 1994 and this only with a relatively limited amount of work. Even if they never got to reach their full potential together the did release some brilliant material in such a short time span that they will never be forgotten by music fans. When making this list I wanted to choose the songs that I feel are Nirvana’s best songs and not everyone will agree with what I left off but whatever it’s my list. Now here is my choices for the best Nirvana songs.
Heart Shaped Box– Heart Shaped Box starts off the list of Nirvana songs and it is without question amongst their best tracks. With the softer sounding verses that just explode into a heavy hook with Kurt screaming Hey, wait I got a new complaint.
All Apologies– What else should I say?
Rape Me– Kurt described this song as being more along the lines of an anti-rape empowerment song but the title was still a bit controversial. Nevertheless, it’s a very good song and claims its spot on this list of best.
Come as You Are- The lyrics are full of contradictions but what makes the song so great is the mood it puts out and the awesome guitar riff and drumming. The no I don’t have a gun part sounds kind of creepy now considering Cobain’s suicide but that wasn’t the lyrics intent.
Where Did You Sleep Last Night?- Kurt’s version of this old folk song that has been around for ages (notably sung by Lead Belly) is absolutely haunting and charged with emotion. He performed it during their MTV unplugged session in 1993 and gave a brilliant performance of the tune.
In Bloom– He’s the one who likes all our pretty songs. When you’re a popular act you acquire lots of fans who are casual listeners and don’t really bother to find out what you’re all about. In Bloom addresses this phenomenon and does so in a really catchy way that manages to bring in even more people from outside your original fans. Fantastic song though.
Lithium– Another song that utilizes the soft and loud contrast that Nirvana did so often. It deals with death and trying to prevent suicide by turning to religion. I like it I’m not gonna crack.
Sliver– This song was re-released on Incesticide and is memorable for its repetitive lyric Grandma take me home. It is a nice song but that line does get annoying sometimes.
Smells Like Teen Spirit– Smells Like Teen Spirit was Nirvana’s biggest song they ever released and has already been cemented as one of the best songs in the history of rock and roll. You can play the opening guitar riff and everyone around you would know the song immediately, it was that much of a phenomenon. Smells Like Teen Spirit has claimed it’s spot on countless lists of bests and certainly deserves to be on here.
About a Girl– If you are going to download this song make sure that you get both the unplugged version and the original off of Bleach. It’s a short pop tune that is simple but gets stuck in your head all day.
The Man Who Sold the World– The Man Who Sold the World is a cover of David Bowie’s original. And the band performed it on the MTV Unplugged session and album.
Something in the Way- Did he really live under a bridge as a homeless man? No. But this song is still amazing.