The song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was written by the American rock band Nirvana. ‘Nevermind‘ is the first single and opening track from the band’s second studio album, released on DGC Records in 1991. As a result of the song’s success, Nevermind topped several albums charts at the start of 1992, a moment often described as when grunge entered the mainstream.
The song was Nirvana’s biggest hit in most countries, charting high on music industry charts around the world in 1991 and 1992, including topping charts in Belgium, France, New Zealand, and Spain. As a result, the song received widespread critical acclaim, including topping the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics’ poll. While the song was dubbed an “anthem for apathetic kids” of Generation X, Nirvana didn’t like the attention it brought. The song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” continues to be praised by listeners and critics alike in the years following Kurt Cobain’s death.
The song’s music video is based on the concept of a pep rally that ends in chaos, inspired by Jonathan Kaplan’s 1979 film Over the Edge and the Ramones’ film Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. In addition to winning two MTV Video Music Awards, this song was heavily played on music television.
Following the video’s release, Amy Finnerty, formerly of MTV’s programming department, said the video “changed the entire look of MTV” by giving it a whole new generation of viewers to target. It was the “Most Played Video” on MTV Europe in 2000, according to Guinness World Records. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on its list of The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) ranked the song 80 on its Songs of the Century list in 2001. The song ranked number two on NME’s list of “100 Greatest Singles of All Time” in 2002, and number one on Kerrang’s list of “100 Greatest Singles of All Time”. The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone placed “Smells Like Teen Spirit” fifth. Grammy Hall of Fame induction took place in 2017.
Nirvana’s first recording session with Butch Vig resulted in the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit“. The song was written by Kurt Cobain a few weeks before they recorded their second album, Nevermind, in 1991. The song was written in the style of the Pixies, a band he admired:
I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band—or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kurt-cobain-the-rolling-stone-interview-19940127
Cobain presented just the chorus vocal melody and the main guitar riff to his bandmates when he presented the song to them. Cobain said the riff was “clichéd”, like the Boston riff or the Richard Berry song “Louie Louie”. Krist Novoselic dismissed it as “ridiculous”;
Cobain made the band play it for an hour and a half. Later, Novoselic began to play it more slowly, which inspired drummer Dave Grohl to create the drum beat, which was inspired by disco artists like The Gap Band. Due to this, it is the only song on Nevermind that is credited to all three band members.
The title comes from a phrase written on Cobain’s wall by the singer of the riot grrrl band Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna:
“Kurt smells like Teen Spirit.“https://www.upvenue.com/article/1467-the-story-behind-smells-like-teen-spirit.html
During a shopping trip with Tobi Vail, Cobain’s then girlfriend, Hanna noticed that Cobain smelled like the deodorant Teen Spirit. After the single was released, Cobain said he was unaware of the deodorant and had interpreted it as a revolutionary slogan because they had been discussing anarchism and punk rock.
It doesn’t exactly smell like the “Teen Spirit” deodorant here, but rather a cover that Sergey and Daria recorded together. 😺😺 It’s really full of energy this anarchism and punk rock. 😹😹😹😹
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