Smells Like Teen Spirit Meaning

This sample essay on Smells Like Teen Spirit Meaning provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Kurt Cobain was 24 years old in the spring of 1991 and at his creative best to produce the album “Nevermind”. Kurt was the spine of the band Nirvana. Soon after the release of this album, Nirvana’s popularity reached dizzy heights especially riding on the terrific waves of the song “Smells like teen spirit”.

The fiery class of this song effectively overshadowed the rest of the songs of the album. This five minute two second song conquered the music charts worldwide.Smells like teen spirit is categorized under the music genre popularly called grunge. Though this obscure genre was popularized by the groups like The Fartz, The U-Men and Pearl Jam but it had to Cobain’s genius that immortalized it. Grunge is typically characterized by the chaotic blend of extreme frequencies.

The tone of music, vocals and bass undergoes frequent unexpected fluctuations. Loud and high frequency flow of a song is mixed with slow tempo of dissonant harmonies. Primarily, this quality differentiates grunge from closely related genres like punk rock, heavy metal and hard rock. The “dirty” sound from rock guitar, often emanating from the edge of the strings, is a common feature of this genre. Another unique feature of grunge is the lyrics. Lyrics from most of the grunge bands keep the fans involved in interesting mysteries.

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The words may express anxiety, fear, depression and even raging anger. Most of the first-time listeners would find it hard to derive any meaning. Due to the imposition of high pitch guitar play, even figuring out the lyrics becomes a challenge. Do not be surprised to locate severalversions for smells like teen spirit.Kurt had a sharp intellect and impressively huge vocabulary that he used generously in his lyrics. Many people have tried to make sense of these lyrics since the time of its release. Though, the words were clarified in the cover for their album “Lithium”, the meaning that they hold still pose many puzzles. The music video depicts the band performing on a basketball court, surrounded by delirious fans. The boundary between the performers and the audience is blurred, portraying the non-conformity associated with teenagers. Nirvana and the contemporary bands captured the fantasies of their fans by showing their grit to challenge conventions. The seemingly meaningless lyrics typify that you have to frame your mind as a teenager’s in order to understand them. Rebellion and ecstasy is the life and blood of this song.The lyrics have been debated quite a few times. In his own words, while discussing the song in Michael Azerrad’s “Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana”, Cobain said, “I felt a duty to describe what I felt about my surroundings and my generation and people my age.”. There is a prominent concurrence of contradiction in the lyrics.A seemingly popular belief is that Cobain named this song as an aftereffect of going out with Tobi Wail, a singer who used to wear a perfume called Teen Spirit. Focusing on the different parts of the song can help us to understand the teen revolution that this song stood for. “Load up your guns, and bring your friends” depicts a contradiction. But metaphorically, loading the guns may actually mean to gear up for a party or a teen gig. “Its fun to lose, and to pretend” may also sound as a conflict of opposite feelings but metaphorically, it pictures the confusion of identity that majority of teenagers try to carve out in a group. “She’s overboard, and myself self-assured” is an instance of sense of complacency in the mind of teenagers. The companion is overboard or overwhelmed, while the narrator is in control of his senses. “I know I know, a dirty word” could be pointing to drugs or any other form of intoxication, including the wild parties as well. The series of “Hello hello hello, hell no” are touching the conflicts, peer pressure and “catch-22” situations that adolescents land themselves into. There is a constant struggle to identify themselves in a group.There are plenty of decisions that form the turning points of one’s life. Teenage is a stage of life that will most likely carry the imprints forever. The choices about career paths, friends, habits etc get embedded as identifying parameters. “When the lights out, its less dangerous” probably meant to diminish the throb caused by light when one is high on drugs.”Here we are now, entertain us” meant to highlight the teen parties. The chorus emanates from a series of unrelated words like “Mulatto, Albino, Mosquito” etc showing the high degrees of unbiased acceptance that the teenagers extend to their group members. You may have any limitation or you may be an exception to the rest of the society, the teen gang would always embrace with open arms.  Cobain was crying out loud that he is one of them, but unique.Cobain has said, “The entire song is made up of contradictory ideas . . . It’s just making fun of the thought of having a revolution. But it’s a nice thought.”. The book Teen Spirit: The Stories Behind Every Nirvana Song describes “Teen Spirit” as “a typically murky Cobain exploration of meaning and meaninglessness.” The lyrics still remain as one of the most debatable aspects.Let us focus on the composition of music for this song. It is written in the key of F minor, with the main riff constructed from four power chords,  played in a syncopated 16th note strum. The chords occasionally lapse into suspended chord voicings as a result of Cobain playing the bottom four strings of the guitar for the thick sound. While melodically and harmonically simple, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is based around an alternating loud/quiet dynamic that shifts from minimalistic, moody verses to loud chorus sections. The song begins with Cobain strumming the main riff solo, adding distortion when the rest of the band joins in. During the verse Cobain plays a sparse two-note guitar line. The band builds up to the chorus as Cobain begins to play the same two notes on every beat of the measure and repeats the phrase “Hello, hello, hello, how low?” The band then launches into an explosive chorus where Cobain resumes the main guitar riff and screams the lyrics. Between these pieces, the weird drawl of the guitar has become a defining quality for the song. After the second chorus, Cobain plays a guitar solo that resembles his vocal melody from the verse.Kurt Cobain’s voice merges with the pace of the music. He has heavy and low mumbling with the slower drum beats but picks up the pitch with the rising delirium of his guitar. The listener actually floats along with the varying rhythms of this song. The heavy drum beat in the background alters in tempo in perfect synchronization with the guitar and vocals. The lyrics pierces listener with immense honesty and reflects the ordinary teen enthusiasm. The furious pace of guitar casts a spell on the listener as it is made to scream, cry and wail. The live performances of this song show the effortlessness of Cobain while performing it. It almost seems that he would burst his veins while screaming but he drew his voice from guts. The lyrics and their ambiguous meaning added spice to this songs flavor. The impression of this song added a new dimension to the world of rock, especially grunge. People all over the world could now truly appreciate the rebirth of this music genre.The genius of Kurt Cobain and the ingenuity of Nirvana, will keep the teen spirit high for generations to come.;

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Smells Like Teen Spirit Meaning. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Smells Like Teen Spirit Meaning
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