Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit Meaning
Song Released: 1991
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Smells Like Teen Spirit Lyrics
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?
anonymous Oct 26th 2009, 17:11 report
Man people are aggravating, this song is nothing more than a random grouping of sentences from a bunch of different songs he had wrote. the name comes from a girlfriend of his writing Kurt smells like teen spirit on the wall at his apartment in Olympia, because he smelled like the deodorant. its what his girlfriend wore. people need to read up before they write this shit man. if you read journals its obvious how this song came to be.
anonymous Oct 23rd 2009, 02:19 report
The song itself has no deep meaning. The title Smells Like Teen Spirit Actually(believe it or not) comes from women's deodorant brand. Some teenager where having a protest. Besides other acts of protest some girl wrote "Kurt Cobain Smells Like Teen Spirit". He didn't know what that meant. He took it as a complement for his energetic song. If you listen to the song thats kinda what its about. Just teenage destructive lifestyle. Well it wasn't until the song was recorded and being close to released that he found out Teen Spirit is a teenage woman's deodorant brand.
Funny story huh? Believe it or not its true.
anonymous Sep 2nd 2009, 16:57 report
Here's my thoughts what this song is all about. It's my perspective,
to me it makes sense, but of course Kurt maybe had different view.
Wikipedia article on "Smells like teen spirit" said:
Cobain came up with the song's title when his friend Kathleen Hanna,
at the time the lead singer of the Riot Grrrl punk band Bikini Kill, spray
painted "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" on his wall. Since they had been
discussing anarchism, punk rock, and similar topics, Cobain interpreted
the slogan as having a revolutionary meaning. What Hanna actually meant,
however, was that Cobain smelled like the deodorant Teen Spirit, which
his then-girlfriend Tobi Vail wore. Cobain later claimed that he was unaware
that it was a brand of deodorant until months after the single was released.
So, this song clearly had something to do with his girlfriend on one side and how he saw all society in general.
Load up on guns
Bring your friends
Its fun to lose
And to pretend
I know I know
A dirty word
He's basically disappointed in society on most, if not all levels, but also his
disappointed in him self in a way. "Load up on guns, bring your friends it's fun
to loose and to pretend...", he's being sarcastic, saying "come on, all of you,
it's fun (it's easy for you to not be your self and play the roles you all gave each other,
to be someone, so all the others see you as you would like to be seen). It's like,
he see's people pretending, like being in high school when everybody has a "role",
trying to be someone... He's not accepted and he knows nobody want's to see
"real" people, THEY ALL want illusion! So he's being sarcastic... "yeah, it's fun,
it's easier that way".
Then he refers to his girl... "She's overboard, myself assured, I know I know,
A dirty word". I see this as: She's a part of that society (she's overboard)...
I'm alone, I always am alone... but we have some connection... I'm supposed to be
assured she's not like others, that she won't be like them... Then he subconsciously
thinks something like "fu**ing bitch, she'll f**k me over" but he talks to himself
saying "I know I know, I'm not going to say it, I'm not supposed to think about it...
Then the punchline "Hello Hello...." like "hello, wake up you all... Hello, is anyone aware of this?!"
With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Here is the point of his song of course... "If we are all in dark, if we all shout
our eyes, come on... let's be entertained!! It's all about that right?! Sarcasm
again. Then he's mad on him self, disappointed... "I feel stupid and contagious"
snaps out of that thought in a second and continues "here we are now, entertain us!"
Then just a metaphors for his rage... for that state of being contagious, not pure,
mulatto - person with one white parent and one black parent or a person who
has both black ancestry and white ancestry.
albino - a person or animal lacking normal pigmentation.
mosquito - insect, parasite
Second part is about what he is, what he sees himself in this society that surrounds
him and who he has.
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
This has several levels or leyers... first is "I'm worst at what I do best", for what I do
and what others do not understand, they see me as a failure therefor I'm worthless
because that's all I can do really good... There are only few of us who could always
understand this thing we do... and it always will be just US until the end comes.
That's all he knows, that's all he's about, that's all he has really, referring to band Nirvana.
then punchline again and the chorus.
And I forget
Just what it takes
And yet I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard
Its hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind
This last part is about comfort (sort of), self blame again, trying to reason with him
self in a way... "And I forget just what it takes.." saying "I know it's easy to obey, it's
easier that way... It doesn't take much to make peace with it... and that thought
comfort's him because he knows he has a choice on one side, but on the other
he knows he can't be that... So being aware of it all he is satisfied with him self and
that makes him smile... "I found it hard, it's hard to find... oh well, whatever, nevermind"
is a last thing on his mind. He thinks "I found it hard to be this way... and it's hard to find,
someone to understand all of this... oh whatever, you all won't understand this anyway
because you'll all in dark, blind and it's all just fun for you......."
So, that's what I think. I could be wrong, but it makes sense to me. I forgot to mention,
wikipedia also wrote on Tobi Vail:
The end of their relationship occurred during the period when Cobain was writing material for Nirvana's foundational album Nevermind and some of the songs seem to contain veiled references to Tobi, including
* Smells Like Teen Spirit - Teen Spirit was Tobi's choice of deodorant at the time, and Kathleen Hanna had spray-painted "Kurt smells like teen spirit" on his wall one night.
* Aneurysm - Cross' biography of Cobain incorrectly claimed that this song was written in an attempt to win Vail back, the line "love you so much it makes me sick" referring to the fact that when they first met, she made Cobain so nervous that it once made him vomit. The song was actually written during the relationship, not after.
* Lounge Act - Krist Novoselic is quoted as saying that "Lounge Act" is about Tobi and Kurt wrote in an angry (unsent) letter to Vail that "Lounge Act" was the only song written about her and wrote that he never played it, unless Courtney Love wasn't around.
anonymous Sep 1st 2009, 09:08 report
masculine pronouns in every single other song?) And I think over-bored is intended to have a double meaning. 1) as if one fell off a boat 2) as if one had nothing with which to entertain oneself with. Sorry for breaking into two comments, I'm on my psp.
anonymous Sep 1st 2009, 09:00 report
I totally agree with Mr. Anonymous at the top as far as the deep apathetic roots of this song. However, I would like to add that in my opinion he was very VERY selective in his creation of this group. A mulatto is nearly the polar opposite of an albino in appearance. As far as i know, a mosquito has no sexual desire whatsoever which again is the opposite of my libido. I'd also like to comment on the line: she's over-bored, self assured. The use of she instead of he (I might be wrong, but didn't Kurt use
anonymous Jun 22nd 2009, 22:58 report
Yes, it's true that Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill wrote on a wall "Kurt Smells like Teen Spirit" reffering to the deoderant marketed at teenage girls (This is why he didn't get the reference) and took it literally. That was the begining. In general, the song reflects his thoughts on life in a very cryptic, Kurt-ish way (Heart Shaped Box sounds like he was dead drunk when he wrote it and really it has quite a lot of meaning that only people he wrote the song to speak to or those who bothered to interperet it would see 'throw down your umbillical noose so I can climb right back' is a plea to the women in his life to support him)
The line 'A mullato, an albino, a misquito, my libido' is poking fun at the members of Guns 'n' Roses. He's also poking fun at the idea of a mass rebellion, and those who would start one. ('here we are now, entertain us') However there are probably pleanty of meanings only Kurt knows. The man was a genius, but, like most geniuses had several loose wires in his head.
This have no meaning...kurt write this songs(with major chords:F Bb G# C#) by stole one of boston's song.He just write what he feel thoose time..but,I think there is a little secret in this songs..In the second verses "she's overbored and self assured",she means tobi vail
anonymous May 19th 2009, 10:51 report
these song does not make any sense whats so ever in my way the only way to interpret it is to play it backwards or backmasked many of nirvana music is all backmasking thats the reason it does not make sence.when you backmasked alll it says really is "i hate yuo" try it
anonymous May 16th 2009, 21:21 report
I don't know much about interpreting lyrics, but in my opinion this song is all about conforming and how `predictable repetitive and 'boring' it is. On the line 'with the lights out its less dangerous' it means the more conforming or 'robot like' the people are pressured into being,almost 'switching the lights of inspiration and creativity off' in their brain, the less they are likely to speak up and think for themselves, taking away their individuality and persona, like bees working on a hive.'i feel stupid and contagious' is referring to the pier pressure forced upon them, young people especially, even their teachers, trying to mould their students into these 'ideal' citizens. 'My labido' is referring to the teenage obsession with sex, another symbol of pleasure and enjoyment. 'A little group' is referring to people like him, that didn't fit in and rely on the guidelines of being 'cool', and therefore didn't sacrifice their individuality.'that's always been and always will until the end' means that people rebelling from the norm has always happened, and always will as there will always be people with the same mind frame. also, it could instead be referring to the fact that this occurs all the way through life at any age, from the playground to the workplace, people that don't follow the normal guidelines and fit to the norm are cast out and looked down upon. I haven't referred to the whole song, but you will find there are other links in the song. of course this is just my opinion. In the video this theme can also be seen, the bunch of teenagers representing the youth vulnerable to these ideas, the miserable janiter representing the conforming yet unsatisfied life they are likely to lead and the band represent their individuality etc.. In the end, the teenagers come round to the side of the band, the ordered and choreographed cheerleaders disband into chaos, and the janitor is tied up, blocking off that robot, brain dead way of life.
anonymous Apr 15th 2009, 13:15 report
Its hard to feel this song has a meaning since he wrote the lyrics on his car dashboard but I suppose genius' think quickly
one more special message to go:
none of you know me but I'm going to bring music back to greatness, just give me 5 years and people here who doubt me will want to know me, WAIT AND SEE
"Load up on guns
bring your friends"
He's talking about young people's tendency to be followers. When someone tells them load up on guns and bring your friends they all do it without thinking just because they were told. The word "guns" is a metaphor for things that could be dangerous or harmful.
"Its fun to lose
and to pretend"
The line its fun to lose is sarcastic, saying that young people seem to enjoy and take pride in doing self destructive things. The pretend line is also sarcastic saying that teens are always trying to be somebody else.
"She's over bored"
Talking about young people's short attention span and compulsory behavior.
Adults often complain of teens always thinking they're right. This line is a comment on young people's close mindedness towards any thoughts or beliefs that are different than what their own.
"Oh no I know a dirty word"
Hes making fun of teen's immaturity. For example how they start laughing whenever they hear a swear word
"Hello, Hello, Hello, How Low"
This line is a metaphor for outward happiness while still having many "skeletons in the closet." The repeated hellos are a teen greeting people with a smile on their face pretending like nothing's wrong with them. That is then contrasted with "how low" which is saying how "low" or bad it is to put on that kind of facade.
"With the lights out,
its less dangerous"
The lights being metaphorical meaning that teens hide their real emotions and thoughts by "turning the lights off" because its "safer" and more comfortable if everyone is just portraying what they want everyone else to see
"Here we are now
He's commenting on teens being bratty, demanding, and compulsive. How they're easily entertained by anything regardless of its actualy quality, because they don't care about quality; they want to see something shallow that won't make them think.
"I feel stupid
Goes with the above line. Saying teens are proud in their own stupidity and eagerly share their shallow thinking with all their peers and in turn contaminate their whole generation with it.
The first two are kids who are typically outcasted from the popular cliques and would be the first to form a group rebelling against them. The last two are making fun of the fact that there will never be a rebellion or revolution by saying sarcastically that a mosquito and his libido will be a part of the group that rebels. A mosquito or libido could never go against the norm, neither will anyone else.
I could go on but this I've typed long enough
anonymous Mar 26th 2009, 20:18 report
i heard this song does have a deep meaning about school shootings
"load up on guns, bring your friends"
"with the lights out it's less dangerous"
kids turn off lights when they are on lock down
"I feel stupid and contagious"
speaks about blame!
how people blame music for school shootings so it makes him feel stupid and contagious playin his music
anonymous Mar 22nd 2009, 01:48 report
I think that this song doesn't actually mean anything. Most of the lyrics are plays on words. In the series where it's saying "a mullato... etc.", I think that it's supposed to be like a statement because when the song is sung you can't really tell the difference between them. This principle can be applied to most of it. Like "load up on guns" as opposed to "load the guns" and "over bored" as opposed to "over board". I also find it funny that "entertainers" and "entertain us" sound very similar to the listener. I think this song would most aptly be characterized as the "I Am The Walrus" of punk rock in that it's trying to, not exactly confuse people, but to make them see the flawed logic that they have about language. The Beatles were trying to make the interpreters' heads hurt, while Nirvana's simply saying that music doesn't need to be interpreted.
anonymous Mar 18th 2009, 16:19 report
Don't even start talking about how the song can be about "Team spirit" the song name was created because of a girl who wrote "kurt smells like teen spirit" and Kurt did not know what that meant until after the song became well known,he was looking for a song title and that's why it is called smells like teen spirit/it stuck with him at the time the song needed a name.
The song is basically about fighting for what you believe in (*load up on guns bring your friends*) and the part about him saying "No I don't have a gun" is basically just saying not to harm innocent people while fighting for what you believe in.
anonymous Feb 28th 2009, 23:05 report
The Song: is all about teen rebellion. believe me as a teen myself, Kurt is my hero. it is almost like he was writing the songs for us. Teens that are sick of living by the rule book. that is personally my interpretation of the song
The video: the video is all about a "pep assembly gone bad" as Kurt Cobain once said in an interview in Montreal Canada. and thats how it is to me. if you have ever had to attend a pep rally, THEY SUCK! as a matter of a fact me and my friend decided to skip them for now on because they suck soo bad. and come to find out kurt did that as well. luckly we didnt get caught. but yeah Kurts dream was for a pep rally to go absolutly wrong. and thats what the video was about.
anonymous Feb 19th 2009, 16:51 report
Ok some of these interpretations are a little too serious everyone's trying to talk like a college professor! I think one it could be two things. One it has no real meaning. Or two that kurt is making fun of people who try to "fit in". There could be some meaning to these words that only kurt at the time only knew. Although the only possible answer is that he is making fun of "those" type of people. And i don't think that it goes beyond that point. Sometimes great music doesn't need intrepretation.
Curt Cobain was most likely not the most popular kid in school. I say most likely because I can't account whether he was or not.
Its fun to lose and to pretend - just like it says, its fun to be someone your not.
shes over bored and self assured - sounds like hes talking about a girl he likes or girls(cheerleaders) in general.
how low - like limbo how low can you go?
with the lights out - its more of a metaphor for like if you were blind folded or thinking about the person instead of the outide(corny i kno)
or that its safer to be unnoticed and unseen
i feel stupid and contagious - basically every body feels like a J.A. and like a pest rather than part of a group.
Also the second verse I find it hard... - its kind of a little joke, its hard to find..oh well whatever nevermind.
I find this funny, I suppose I'm just one of those ppl who has a weird sense of humor and a more artistic mind... anyways it's basically the title "teen spirit" or the essence of a teen geared toward the "oddballs" that can;t seem to fit into the "categorys"
btw thinking that im one of those, thats cool. I would be more complemented instead of insulted. I do my best to distinguish between being individual and beinga sheep
anonymous Jan 14th 2009, 13:16 report
The song smells like teen spirit has no mean, some one wrote smells like teen spirit on the wall of his Olimpia apartment, and kurt thought it was a complement, and he did not know that teen spirt was a deoderant... He wrote the song on a flight right before they would record nevermind
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
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