Smells Like Teen Spirit

Written by 24-year old Kurt Cobain and released by Nirvana on Sept. 24, 1991, as the lead single on the grunge alternative rock CD Nevermind. According to Jamie Allen, the song "is something like Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind.' Old folksters will tell you that what Dylan said in that song wasn't revolutionary to those in the know in 1963; he just managed to capture the right words and feelings floating around Greenwich Village and present it in a package the whole world could buy. 'Teen Spirit,' too, was one of those rare moments when a song was pulled from the air of a scene, Seattle and its spreading ethos of youthful malaise and artistic meanderings, and became greater than the sum of its parts. It's a picture of modern youth, including those who have just entered adulthood but are unsure they actually want to stay there. It's a group of friends sitting around on a couch in some apartment, overbored, not wanting to be bothered as they zone out to the Discovery Channel. They are completely detached from any political considerations; no politics engage them and no candidate moves them. And most of all, in this environment, it's about the human need for something more, love, inspiration, and the realization that it might exist. Cobain managed to put his finger on something that was lingering, at least subconsciously, in the minds of many who listened: a general, angry disenchantment with (take your pick) the music industry, '80s greed that turned into '90s recession, TV-news patriotism, Republican politics, baby boomers and their self-centered view of their lives and history."

   

Load up on guns
bring your friends
It's fun to lose and to pretend
She's over bored and self assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word

Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello

With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino
A mosquito, my libido
Yea!

Hey!
Yea!

I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello

With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino
A mosquito, my Libido
Yea!

Hey!
Yea!

And I forget just why I taste
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard, it was to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind

Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello

With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino
A mosquito, my libido
A denial, a denial
A denial, a denial
A denial, a denial
A denial, a denial
A denial!

Allen, Jamie. "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Salon, Apr. 15, 2002 - article


revised 5/1/06 by Steven Schoenherr | Songs