What does On a Plain mean?

Nirvana: On a Plain Meaning

Album cover for On a Plain album cover

Song Released: 1991

On a Plain Lyrics

I'll start this off without any words
I got so high that I scratched 'till I bled

I love myself better than you
I know it's wrong so what should I do?

The finest day that I ever had
Was when I learned to cry on command

I love myself...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Dec 31st 2013 !⃝

    Like many others on here, I would say that "On a Plain" is mostly about heroin addiction, along with being an excuse for choosing the drug over a romantic relationship (with Bikini Kill's Tobi Vail in this instance).

    The line "I love my self better than you" supports both of these interpretations; he is being selfish in wanting to get high on heroin rather than display affection towards his love interest. It's known that Tobi broke things off with Kurt when she found out he was using heroin and didn't want to give it up.

    "The finest day was when I learned to cry on command" describes the way addicts can manipulate emotions in order to get the desired response from someone who cares about them. They can use crying as a means of making their lover feel sorry for them, otherwise known as "crocodile tears."

    There are abundant references to heroin use in the lyrics to this song. The line "I got so high I scratched til I bled" is very telling; after taking heroin (or any opiate), it's known to make the user's skin itch incessantly. In this case, he must have been incredibly skagged-up.

    "As a defense i am neutered and spayed" is a humorous way of describing how chronic heroin use can dampen or disable an addict's libido (sexual drive or desire, for those of you who don't know). This deadened desire helps the user defend themselves from sexual longing and/or inadequacy. Most, if not all addicts would choose a hit over "hitting it" without a second thought.

    Lastly, the chorus of "I'm on a plain I cant complain" seems to illustrate not only the feelings euphoria and utter contentment associated with being high, but also the sense of coasting, of hitting a plateau in the addiction; the user can't reach the absolute high they crave, but they also cannot function without the drug.

    As with any song, there are lyrics used just because they fit or sound good; not every word is invested with deep personal significance. That being said, knowing what we know about Kurt Cobain, it's fairly easy to get the drift and understand what inspired him to write these songs.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 18th 2005 !⃝

    If you read the lyrics of this song, it sounds like Kurt figured he had to write one more song to complete "Nevermind" so he sarcastically writes a song about writing a song i.e. "I'll start this off without any words".."Now it is time to make it unclear, to write off lines that don't makes sense".."One more special message to go, and then I'm done and I can go home."

  3. anonymous
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    Dec 14th 2020 !⃝

    Kurt May have been on drugs but he was spot on. The illusion and control has driven us all down to the most narrow self absorbed interpretation yet we feel the truth screaming from the void. The contracts, curses and invocations so multilayered not realizing the influences are not of this “plain” but being projected holographically as we ourselves are living multidimensionally throughout time and space. In the great awakening we start to suspect Kurt was talking about more than addiction as we really are living on a “plane” so why would it benefit the malevolent ones to create the illusion of a fake plane-T reality? Imitators acting stupid and contagious? Boy are we ...damn Kurt was right.

  4. anonymous
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    Mar 14th 2017 !⃝

    Everybody knows that we live on a flat plain when they are young, and have the ball earth lie taught to them later. Sometimes things like this can make sense for a moment when you are high and detached from the world view that has been programed into you.

  5. anonymous
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    Jan 26th 2015 !⃝

    Very simple, heroin love over human love.....he know's he is wrong...but just can't change....hence "the end"

  6. pat.gavrilovic
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    Sep 18th 2014 !⃝

    Just a curve ball here and I only skim read comments but I'm pretty sure the meat puppets wrote this song? Not 100% sure and cannot be fucked to google but if so..... Every theory out the window? I'd love to be right and hold a pedestal for just the once

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Sep 20th 2013 !⃝

    This is by far about addiction. (Probably Heroin)
    I'd be skeptical if it was just the second line of the song, but all the lines of the song emphasize addiction.

    If any of you have ever been addicted to any drug to the point where you felt as if you were doing the drug a favor rather than yourself, you'd understand this song completely.

    Now that being said, Kurt would probably throw in random phrases that sounded like they fit, but that does not mean the song is meaningless.

    When I write songs, I often find myself using a chorus and adding in words that might not make sense then find the meaning later. Still has a meaning.

    But even then I'm not so sure that's what Kurt did here.

  8. anonymous
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    Feb 23rd 2012 !⃝

    To ILoveKurtCobain... Under The Bridge was the chili peppers. Not Nirvana. But I think a lot of these interpretations are right. I think it is sarcastically about writing a song. It also seems like it could be hinting at how some people view Nirvana's lyrics as meaningless because they don't understand them.

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 17th 2011 !⃝

    It's "plain", not "plane". He's not on an airplane. Just a plateau, not going anywhere, up or down....

  10. anonymous
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    Aug 11th 2011 !⃝

    I interpret this song as about Kurt's troubles with heroin. "I love my self better than you" Addicts feel like they they love themselves more that others because all they care about is getting heroin and they hurt their loved ones in pursue of the drug. "I got so high I scratched til I bled" That's what happens when you get use heroin. "The finest day was when I learned to cry on command" A way addicts manipulate people to get what they want. "My mother died every night" Mothers tend to worry about their children when they are addicted to heroin. "The black sheep got blackmailed again" Addicts do not want to get high again necessarily but they feel so shitty that they think they have to and sometimes it may feel as the heroin has conned you or blackmailed you into using it. "As a defense i am neutered and spayed" He probably feels that way because because his defiance against the drug takes the life out of him. "In a dream a memory restored" Memories of not being addicted. "Im on a plain I cant complain" It feels so good high he cannot complain.
    "And one more special message to go
    And then I'm done, then I can go home" Is the line that reinforces the repeated verse, the one that every addict feels "I LOVE MYSELF BETTER THAN YOU"

  11. anonymous
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    Apr 18th 2011 !⃝

    Cobain was on a airplane and got bored and started to write a song, the woman sitting next to him asked what he saw going to write about and he responded in his weird sence of humour, about being stuck on this plane.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
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    Jan 6th 2011 !⃝

    Kurt knew he was the same piece of crap as everyone else but he still couldn't help but be bothered by what other people did. He thought most people were close-minded and bigots, and he didn't appreciate most artist's contribution to modern music. He only really identified with a handful of bands and he felt music was something sacred that people were just taking advantage of... raping and pillaging until it was ruined.

    I think he thought he'd feel terrible about "selling out", even though I don't particularly feel like he ever did. When Nevermind went huge, he got pretty conflicted about it. This song is funny, because I think it's really a justification of motive and the resulting course of action.

    Most of the lyrics are absolute nonsense, and that was kind of the point. If he did sell out, who did he sell out to? To fans who would sing along to a bunch of random words like it was the best song ever written? He got high and scribbled down some gibberish, sold it, and everyone ate it up.

    When he was alive he used what money he made to buy more drugs until he was totally numb and high all the time. When he said, "I'm on a plain, I can't complain", he can't be too low because of the constant usage of drugs, but he can't be truly high because of his tolerance. When he says "I love myself better than you, I know it's wrong so what should I do" it's as I said, he knows he isn't better than other people, but it's still hard to not think of them as stupid.

    The last message part could quite possibly be a reference to him planning his suicide, but we'll never know for certain. It could simply be a play on how most of what he'd said in the song up to that point is of much relevance to anything. It could be both.

    Those couple of lyrics in there are pretty much the only coherent phrases in the entire song. Everything else is just a mockery of himself as a junkie hypocrite, the music industry, all the poser fans that he couldn't stand, and the rest of the world.

  13. anonymous
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    Jan 6th 2011 !⃝

    Kurt Cobain's songs don't have a meaning. He even said he takes the rhythm then adds words then he later tries to find a meaning.

  14. anonymous
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    Jan 4th 2011 !⃝

    I think the majority are spot on here this is a throw away song albiet a very good one i personally think there are some meaningful lyrics in here that Kurt had lying around. Nirvana fan what planet are you on "one more special message to go" is for me a reference to something in the way as its the last song. I mean thats one hell of a statement jeez

  15. anonymous
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    Dec 10th 2010 !⃝

    Sure you love yourself more than others mostly because most of the people are so bad. But in realit you are so special and much better! This is the meaning!

  16. anonymous
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    Nov 27th 2010 !⃝

    I got so high I scratched till I bled is definitely about heroin use. I have been addicted to prescription opiates for 4 years and I scratch myself so bad when I get high I bleed.

  17. anonymous
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    Dec 17th 2009 !⃝

    I would like to believe that all of Nirvanas songs have a meaning, even if at first glance it doesn't seem so. This song is about guilt, low self esteem, and a poor dysfunctional home life. All the while he tries to cover it up and change the subject (as is quite common with nirvana lyrics, especially on nevermind. Hence, "Nevermind"). I start this song without any words, I got so high I scratched 'til I bled." = starting the song off trying to direct the listener that he is saying nothing important, then jumping straight into one of his most embarrassing situations. (scratching til you bleed is a side affect of heroin). "Love myself, better that you" , again contradicting himself, and being sarcastic. This is a regular occurrence with Kurt's lyrics.Read between the lines people.

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