What was Kurt Cobain’s favourite Nirvana song?

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain often criticised Nirvana songs that achieved significant commercial success. Drummer Dave Grohl once remarked, “I’m sure Kurt didn’t want all the baggage that came along with it. He probably wanted to sell 20 million records and be the biggest band in the world.” He probably wasn’t even aware of the baggage that came with it. Nobody took action. It is well known that Cobain was offended by Nirvana’s breakthrough hit from 1991, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Cobain may have thought it took attention away from other songs that he personally felt more invested in, though no one is certain why.

Kurt Cobain frequently appeared perplexed by “Teen Spirit’s” popularity. Despite the fact that he had no special connection to the song. Or thought it was inherently better than any other Nevermind song. “That song has garnered so much attention from everyone,” Cobain said to Rolling Stone. People have seen it on MTV a million times, which is why it is receiving so much attention. They’ve had it drummed into them. However, I believe that song is only one of many that I have written that are just as good, if not better.

What songs were those, then? Well, “Drain You” was one song that Cobain regularly gave high marks to. He cites it as an example of a song that is “definitely as good as ‘Teen Spirit,'” if not quite as well-known, in that same Rolling Stone interview. He went on, “I never became tired of playing it because I love the lyrics.” Maybe I wouldn’t enjoy it as much if it were as large as “Teen Spirit.”

Nirvana played ‘Drain You’ almost every night of their final tour. Originally known as “Formula,” it shares many of the same acoustic elements as “Teen Spirit,” with the structure being somewhat looser. Whereas “Drain You” purposefully lacks definition, “Teen Spirit” has the smooth curves of a timeless pop hit. The bridge section, where Nirvana reminds us that they, like Sonic Youth, were products of the underground and subverters of pop, not its most recent iteration, is probably when this structural scuzziness is most obvious.

Before the Nevermind sessions started, “Drain You” was first recorded at Dale Crover’s house, the member of The Melvins. Kurt reluctantly revealed that it was the final song they had learned during the visit. Citing the lack of a drum part as the main reason he wasn’t sure to bring it to the Nevermind session.

They worked on the drum arrangement and the instrumental bridge section for a while. They did this by taking a cue from Thurston Moore and using an assortment of inane objects to play their guitars. This turned the song into a masterful example of noise rock. Nirvana chose to record “Drain You” at Sound City Studios in May, armed with a strong framework.

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