It was Kurt Cobain's birthday last week. I'm not going down the "what would he be up to now" road. No chance. I'm going down the "thank f*ck I've got these amazing Nirvana albums" avenue. The thing I love implicitly about Nirvana lyrics, is the red raw emotion of them all. Always an extreme. Extreme love. Extreme Rage. Extreme self-pity. It was all or nothing. Sadly Kurt went for the nothingness but while he was alive by god did we get his all. I think we all have extremes more often than we'd own up to and he voiced them damn well. Here's a few of my favourites:

Aneurysm

The B-Side to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 'Aneurysm' is what lust sounds like. Lesser known than its anthem wielding A-Side, but just as ferocious, the lyrics are all imperative, all demanding. He unequivocally categorically needs it. Lyrically simple but incredibly clear, he insists “Come on over and do the twist?” What else could you possibly do but call a cab?

  • Come on over and do the twist
  • Over do it and have a fit
  • Love you so much it makes me sick
  • Come on over and do the twist

  • Beat me outta me, beat me outta me

  • She keeps it pumpin' straight to my heart


Drain You

My favourite track from the Nevermind album is sweet and sour in equal measures. Incredibly visceral, the love shared is intensely intimate to the point of becoming kinda gross and weirdly medical, draining and refilling each other through tubes and regurgitating each other’s food. The ultimate affection has no boundaries or parameters.

  • One baby to another says I'm lucky to have met you
  • I don't care what you think unless it is about me
  • It is now my duty to completely drain you
  • I travel through a tube and end up in your infection

  • Chew your meat for you, pass it back and forth
  • In a passionate kiss from my mouth to yours
  • I like you
  • With eyes so dilated I've become your pupil
  • You've taught me everything without a poison apple
  • The water is so yellow, I'm a healthy student
  • Indebted and so grateful, vacuum out the fluids
  • Chew your meat for you, pass it back and forth
  • In a passionate kiss from my mouth to yours
  • I like you
  • One baby to another says I'm lucky to have met you
  • I don't care what you think unless it is about me
  • It is now my duty to completely drain you
  • I travel through a tube and end up in your infection

  • Chew your meat for you, pass it back and forth
  • In a passionate kiss from my mouth to yours
  • Sloppy lips to lips, you're my vitamins
  • I like you


Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle

The allegorical tale of a 1940s Hollywood movie star who was sent mad and treated with electro-shock therapy is often read as Kurt’s cry for help – likening himself to this doomed starlet, both driven to the limit by their industries. Whatever his intentions were, these words are in my opinion some of his most visual and impactful. Particularly- “She'll come back as fire, And burn all the liars, Leave a blanket of ash on the ground” Boom. Told.

  • It's so relieving
  • To know that you're leaving
  • As soon as you get paid
  • It's so relaxing
  • To hear that you're asking
  • Whenever you get your way
  • It's so soothing
  • To know that you'll sue me
  • This is starting to sound the same

  • I miss the comfort in being sad

  • In her false witness
  • We hope you're still with us,
  • To see if they float or drown
  • My favorite patient
  • A display of patience
  • Disease-covered Puget Sound
  • She'll come back as fire
  • And burn all the liars
  • Leave a blanket of ash on the ground


Serve the Servants

Kurt does Dad abandonment issues like no other lyricist and where better to delve than 'Serve the Servants'. Sliver also voices this, but this track more eloquently so. The ingrained vulnerability alongside his adult realisation – “I don’t hate you anymore” is painstakingly beautiful. I particularly love the lines: “As my bones grew they did hurt, they hurt really bad. I tried hard to have a father, but instead I had a dad.” Ouch.

  • Teenage angst has paid off well
  • Now I'm bored and old
  • Self-Appointed judges judge
  • More than they have sold

  • If she floats than she is not
  • A witch like we had thought
  • A down payment on another
  • One at Salem's lot

  • Serve the servants - Oh no
  • That legendary divorce is such a bore

  • As my bones grew they did hurt
  • They hurt really bad
  • I tried hard to have a father
  • But instead I had a dad

  • I just want you to know that I
  • Don't hate you anymore
  • There is nothing I could say
  • That I haven't thought before

  • Serve the servants - Oh no
  • That legendary divorce is such a bore


I haven’t included any tracks from Bleach here. It’s a great album but not lyrically in the game yet. I think I’ve given myself tinnitus writing this column, but it’s been well worth it. Until next time, enjoy…