Thursday Thive: Nirvana Album Tracks

Posted on May 16, 2013


Oh Nirvana. Everyone knows, and everyone loves the big songs that came from their albums. Nirvana were a hell of a lot more than a singles band though, and the strength of the songs that would make up the rest of their albums was often astounding. Here’s my top thive.

5: ‘Scentless Apprentice’ (In Utero)
It is no secret that ‘In Utero’ is my favourite Nirvana album, and it is songs like ‘Scentless Apprentice’ that really kicked that biscuit. I remember being in high school and absolutely adoring the drums at the beginning, to the point of obsession. Then the riff kicks in, and all balls are spread on the wall. This was the Nirvana I wanted to exist so often, just compelling distorted noise that was bizarrely poppy at the same time. This was made to be recorded by Steve Albini, and good lord it rocks. To think, this is track 2 on an album by the worlds biggest band at the time. The balls on display here are monumental. If Moses are ever to cover a Nirvana song again, I would bet my house on it being this one.

4: ‘Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle’ (In Utero)
Sweet christ biscuits I love this album. I really can’t say that enough. I would also go on record as saying ‘Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle’ is quite possibly the most under-appreciated song in their entire back catalogue. It is simple, it is catchy, it is heavy, it is everything that makes Nirvana great on ‘In Utero’. The lyrics are cynical, the quietLOUD dynamics are in absolute full flow, and the chorus is a joy, featuring probably the most Cobain lyric of them all. It’s also wonderful fun to air drum, and the middle eight is joyful in a runaway sense. I can’t fault this song.

3: ‘Drain You’ (Nevermind)
It is a testament to the sheer quality of the Nirvana discography that this song only features third on this list. I always considered this the forgotten Nirvana single, the song from mega huge multi million selling ‘Nevermind’ that was quite possibly poppier than any of the songs released. The opening gambit of ‘one baby to another says I’m lucky to have met you’ is as classic as any other Nirvana lyric, and once again the drums are an air drummers dream. The thing that probably stopped this song being released as a single was possibly the more experimental build up middle eight, but as that explodes back into the verse it just makes all of the sense. Glorious.

2: ‘Aneurysm’ (Incesticide)
Probably the most classic Nirvana song not to feature on one of the 3 main albums, this was as close to a live staple as a band can get. Similar to some of the ‘In Utero’ stuff, it perfectly melds being abrasive and raw with basic pop hooks and a chorus made to sing along to whilst grinning like an absolute chump. It is so far ahead of the rest of the songs on ‘Incesticide’ it isn’t even funny. If I ever had the chance to see Nirvana live and they didn’t play this, I’d be devastated. The construction of the song is perfect, it flows from bit to bit to bit wonderfully. Give me more please.

1: ‘Dumb’ (In Utero)
Let the record read loud and clear. ‘Dumb’ is my favourite Nirvana song. First of all, it was the first song that made me figure that the cello was a damn fine instrument. It also encapsulates the perfect form of melancholy required for me in music, that sort of lazily frustrated melancholy. The lyrics and melody are unquestionably simple and that is exactly what they need to be, anything too expansive would ruin the song. I love the mood of it, it really does sound like 4am on a night shift here, in both a great and a terrible way. It is the sound of the sun coming up too early or too late, no one is really sure which. I was also shocked to realize recently that this is more peoples favourite Nirvana song than I thought, with Maja here in the hostel being the latest to admit to it. She isn’t wrong.

Posted in: Music, Thursday Thive