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Nirvana: Sappy Meaning


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And if you save yourself
You will make him happy

He'll keep you in a jar
And you'll think you're happy
He'll give you breathing holes
And you'll think you're happy
He'll cover you with a dress
And you'll think you're happy



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    Sep 23rd, 2014 9:11am report

    I think this song uses the turtle-pet as a metaphore for control-based relationships and control-based institutions such as religion.

    the turtle is the naive believer (believer in the institution or the relationship) that wants to please whoever controls him (remember on of the song's original names was "In his hands").

    the way i usually interpret the laundry room is not as the cage the believer is inside but on the contrary, the cage is for the turtle the jar and grass (and analogously for the believer it will be a set of believes about the world around him and himself and the restrictions the one he wants to please puts on him) while actualy the turtle is in a laundry room, which is probably a totally weird and un-intuitive concept for him to understand, but it is the "real" world. we too fail to see the bigger picture when we conform to convinient orthodoxies, made-up social constructs and (in corrospondance with relationships) to fuckedup relationships which our subconscious leads us to yet people who are in these kind of relationships will allways have some sort of naive and convinient rationalization to tell themselves. the "conclusion came to you" is the part the turtle/believer grasps the big world around him.
    he suddently understands the true patterns that run his life.

    the part about cutting one's self is about how nothing is equivilant for one's inner desire for freedom, and you'll never decieve yourself on this. you'll might think for a moment youre happy, but in the long-run it won't satisfy your desire to have control over your life.

    i hope it doesn't sound to much analyzing for you, cause i heard this song a lot in a perticular time in my life and this is actualy the only way i can see it... of course on the narrow scale it's just a song about kurt's turtle but if you listen to the "sad" version there's such a powerfull vibe of mystery and hidden layers to this song u can't just explain it by saying it's about a turtle and that's it (:


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    May 23rd, 2014 5:02am report

    Kurt Cobain had a huge aquarium of turtles. When Dave would stay at Kurt's place, there was one turtle that would bang his head on the side of the tank all night, trying to get out.

    This song was written when Kurt was high and he stared at his turtles for a while and this song came from that.

    Every recording session Nirvana had this song was recorded. Kurt's perfectionism kicked in, so even though there was at least 100 takes, it was never put on a studio album


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    Jun 7th, 2012 6:34am report

    It may be about a woman who has lost her freedom now that she is in a relationship with a guy. She was free to do anything before, but now she's like a frog in a jar. Frogs are meant for ponds and humans are meant to have freedom. The primitive nature of their relationship forces her to do most of the work while he creates the illusion of happiness by patting her on the back and reassuring her that he loves her. She doesn't get it, but Kurt does. The first sign that a relationship is bad for a woman is when she finds herself in a laundry room, doing her man's laundry. In a couple of years, the laundry may swell with new clothes. Primitive relationships usually produce too many kids.


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    Jun 7th, 2012 6:46am report

    this song is adressed to people who go through difficult situations whichmake them learn how to live for "laundry room" is for someone who is cleansing himself from dirty thoughts and ideas...etc


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    Apr 5th, 2012 4:48am report

    I interpreted this as being about religion "him" being god especially with the opening verse to the different version being "and I you say your prayers you will make god happy" . People who are religious try to please their god . The jar being the world in which we live. "hell cover you in grass " and "he'll give you breathing holes" sorta says we have everything we need but we are never truly happy . I'm most likely wrong but that's how I felt about it


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    Mar 27th, 2012 3:33pm report

    If we truly wanted to know what this song was about, we would have to as Kurt himself. Since that is impossible, none of us will ever know the true meaning of any of his songs. Kurt actually said: "We have no right to express an opinion until we know all the answers."


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    Sep 18th, 2011 9:20pm report

    Everyone is over-analyzing the song. Kurt had a pet turtle in the 80's. dont read into it too much.


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    Jun 22nd, 2011 6:03pm report

    Now, many people believe this is a song about religion, but it in fact is a song about Kurt's turtle. Dave and Krist both admitted that this song was about Kurt's pet turtle which he kept in the laundry room, hence the line "You're in a laundry room". Many people way over investigate nirvana's songs. For instance, Sliver. The song is about nothing more than a night he spent at his grandma's house, but people want something more, so they create a story. This song is about a turtle. Sorry


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    Feb 15th, 2011 2:21pm report

    It was originally about his goldfish.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Sep 12th, 2010 9:40pm report

    Surely it's just a description of an abusive relationship?

    to me, the first verse is about a naive girl falling for the typical macho twat who's OBVIOUSLY gonna turn out to be a dick, but she's so helplessly in love she can't see it. "he'll keep you in a jar, he'll give you breathig holes" = she see's him as able to protect her and make sure she's ok. "he'll cover you with grass" to me symbolises the transition being him being happy, playful "jock type" having a grass fight, so him treating her like dirt.

    "You're in a launry room - The clue that came to you"
    so, trapped in a loveless marriage she's now become a typical housewife. laundry a chores is all she does. maybe even finding another woman's underwear in the laundry? god knows, but basically at this point she's realised he's a dick but trapped

    VERSE 2
    "if you cut urself.." - obviously not in a happy relationship now
    "he'll keep you in a jar, he'll give you breathin holes" now has a more sinister feel about it and is definitly to do with control

    VERSE 3
    basically saying if she doesn't do anythin about it, the situation isn't going to change.

    the whole song could be descriptive of his childhood and how he felt towards his parents - could be a friend or a general trend he saw within the "popular" types(I know I do!). I don't get why so many people think its ABOUT religion? it definitely has religious undertones "if you save your self" and the use of "He" for example, which in the first verse adds to the "nice guy" act but in the second and third take on a more authoritative tone. I don't think he thought about it tht much though! lol


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    Oct 26th, 2009 10:04pm report

    This song is about the relationship of humans and turtles to god and children, and how it sucks for you, me and the turtles. how if you fool, save or sacrifice, God will, in turn, make you happy. but you wind up wallowing in the shit, and in a laundry room on a shelf, forgotten about. much like a child does with a turtle. its a fact and Kurt was obsessed with turtles for a period, and this was his interpretation by comparison to us.


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    Mar 12th, 2009 3:34am report

    I agree about the song being, at least on one level, about religion. One more line indicative of this is, "He gives you breathing holes", as in the belief that God provides what is needed to survive, albeit not in the manner you would naturally live.


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    Feb 25th, 2009 2:55am report

    No one can know exactly what cobain meant. With that said here is the idea that makes the most sense with the song and cobains personality. As mentioned by others it is talking about being controlled. It's talking about being controlled by God in religion though. It's saying if there is a god he's basically messing around with you. The line "you will make him happy" is you trying to please him through your religion. "you'll think you're happy" is fairly self explanitory. you'll think you're happy when you please god. "he'll cover you with grass" shows that he doesn't care about you really. He gives you trials and you think you're happy because they come from him. The corus "you're in a laundry room"... and "Conclusion came to you" show you're left to the side until you realize the religion is not true. That is the best interpertation i can give. I'm sure there things i've missed and gotten wrong because cobain is very complex


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    Oct 8th, 2008 10:21pm report

    This song is about impressing people who are controllers.

    You do things to make "him" (whoever is the one controlling) happy, and in turn it gives you this false sense of security and happiness.

    But then conclusion comes to you that you are getting controlled and ripped off (ie - you find yourself locked in a jar in a laundry room) and decide to quit impressing "him" in the end.


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    Jun 6th, 2007 6:25pm report

    This song is about pissed off protesters.

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