Courtney Love shares unpublished lyrics to Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
Courtney Love has shared some unpublished lyrics that Kurt Cobain wrote for Nirvana’s biggest hit ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
The Hole frontwoman was taking part in Rob Harvilla’s podcast 60 Songs That Explain The ‘90s when she shared anecdotes about her relationship with Kurt Cobain, and some lyrics that the singer had written for Nirvana‘s most famous track.
The episode in question was Harvilla’s first one back, following a three-month hiatus. Taking part as a guest for the episode, Love explained how she came to be a fan of the podcast, and provided fans with an insight into the Nirvana frontman’s writing process.
Alongside numerous anecdotes — including how Cobain wrote his 1993 track ‘Dumb’ in just 20 minutes when the pair were in Amsterdam — Love also shared some of his unpublished lyric ideas, originally written for what would soon become ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
“Some of these were in these journals, and some of them are unpublished,” she explains, proceeding to recite some lyrics. “Come out and play / make up the rules / I know I hope / to buy the truth / who will be the king and queen / of all the outcasted teens” before the chorus kicks in: “We’re so lazy / and so stupid / blame our parents / and the cupids / a deposit, for a bottle / stick it inside / no role model“, the first set of lyrics read.
e91 of 60 SONGS THAT EXPLAIN THE ’90S is on nirvana’s “SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT” and costars COURTNEY LOVE, holy moly https://t.co/TzOV0SDiQl
— rob harvilla (@harvilla) May 17, 2023
She then read a second draft of the lyrics aloud: “We merge ahead this special day / this day giving amnesty to sacrilege” / “A denial / and from strangers / a revival / and from favours / here we are now / we’re so famous / here we are now / entertain us.”
Here, the show’s host noted how only around five of these original lines were successful in making it into the final version of the song — which was the lead single from their 1991 album ‘Nevermind’.
Confirming that the official version of the track is “a different song” to her than what is seen in the demo lyrics, Love added: “The only consistencies that it retains are: ‘load up on guns and bring your friends’, and ‘little group has always been and always will until the end’, that’s it.”
She also explained that she wishes he would have kept the line: “Who will be the king and queen / of all the outcasted teens”, proclaiming that it would have “helped my life a little bit better, taking on the shit that me and my daughter have,” potentially alluding to the criticism she received after Cobain’s death in 1994.
Earlier this month, Courtney Love remembered her husband on the 29th anniversary of his death — sharing a photo of Cobain’s hands, taken by R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe.
“I love beautiful hands, it’s the first thing I look at in another,” she wrote. “Micheal saw these hands. These left handed beautiful hands like a votive/ a mudra, a shot this singular, powerful photograph of my twin flame. It is one of the only images (or sounds/ tastes etc) that makes me miss him deeply.”