PRODUCER'S NOTES - 'SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT', NIRVANA
"I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band - or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard." - Kurt Cobain
Every song has a story behind it - what inspired it, what the band or artists wanted to achieve with it, and how long it took to write. To help you learn the stories behind some of the iconic songs featured on our Rock & Pop 2018 syllabus, we’re bringing you a series of Producer’s Notes. Each provides you with useful information about the inspiration, composition and production of the song as well as the artist and the album the song featured on.
Here is are the Producer's Notes for 'Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana.
Why ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’?The song was both a global hit and a cultural phenomenon, widely praised as one of the greatest songs in the history of rock music. It cast Nirvana’s lead singer Kurt Cobain as a reluctant spokesman for an entire generation.
This grunge rock classic appears on the Rock & Pop 2018 syllabuses for bass, drums, guitar and vocals. There’s a good reason for this according to Rock & Pop consultant Chris Walters, ‘For all instruments, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is an exercise in alternating between brute force and gentleness. The contrast between the softer verse and the iconic scream of the chorus is crucial, challenging singers to develop a vocal palette that will make it possible to perform this convincingly. Instrumentalists will need to observe the dynamics carefully and ‘let go’ without losing control.’
EXPLORE ON SPOTIFY
We've put together a Spotify playlist exploring the track and other related songs. If you don’t already have a Spotify account, it’s free to set one up. Follow us and our playlists on Spotify to easily find them again.