"All Apologies" as written by and Kurt Cobain....
What else should I be
All apologies
What else could I say
Everyone is gay
What else could I write
I don't have the right
What else should I be
All apologies

In the sun
In the sun I feel as one
In the sun
In the sun
I'm married
Buried

I wish I was like you
Easily amused
Find my nest of salt
Everything is my fault
I'll take all the blame
Aqua sea foam shame
Sunburn with freeze burn
Choking on the ashes of her enemy

In the sun
In the sun I feel as one
In the sun
In the sun
Married, maried, maried!
Buried!
Yeah yeah yeah yeah

All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are

All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are

All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are

All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are
All in all is all we are


Lyrics submitted by bonj, edited by zackjubjub, muddywater, LivieP

"All Apologies" as written by Kurt Cobain

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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All Apologies song meanings
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  • +13
    General CommentEveryone comes so close to getting this song, but are off by just a bit. Firstly, yes, this is akin to a suicide note. It's position at the end of In Utero is no accident, it's Kurt's final message to the world

    "What else should I be
    All apologies"

    Most get this, this is like, what else can I be? To put it in today's terms, should I be like Pearl Jam and just make forgettable records a decade after anyone cares about them anymore, or be like U2 and criss cross between techno and saving the world?

    "What else should I say
    Everyone is gay"

    Many times Kurt wrote in an abstract and intuitive way. And other times, he was blatantly direct. This is one of those times. This line has nothing to do with being happy or whatever bullshit people are telling themselves. It means exactly what you all deep down know it means. Everyone has homoerotic feelings. Everyone. Get over it. So what else do you cretins want me to say? How about this!

    "What else could I write
    I don't have the right"

    He mentioned in his suicide note that he didn't have the right to write music if he no longer felt the passion anymore.

    "What else should I be
    All apologies

    In the sun
    In the sun I feel as one
    In the sun
    In the sun
    I'm married
    buried"

    Most people get this. The sun is the equivalent of being dead, and feel as one is being free. Married and buried? Maybe that's what comes to us all? Or maybe that's what makes you feel as one? Or perhaps both. Nirvana lyrics frequently had double meanings

    "I wish I was like you
    Easily amused
    Find my nest of salt"

    He wishes he could be like most people, and be happy with their TV's and beer and strip clubs. Or be like most celebrities, and be happy with the money, fame, drugs, and whores. He can't

    "Everything is my fault
    I'll take all the blame"

    Again, this is very direct, and means exactly what it seems. No one is responsible for Kurt's suicide besides Kurt, and no one should feel responsible. This seems like it could be sarcastic, but it's not. Sarcasm generally doesn't litter suicide notes, sincerity does (as well as self-loathing)

    "Aqua seafoam shame
    Sunburn with freezerburn
    Choking on the ashes of her enemy"

    This is a little tougher, as it's very much on the abstract side. "Aqua seafoam shame" would seem to indicate shame that goes out to the ocean like ashes. "Sunburn with freezerburn" seems to indicate something akin to a double edge sword, or between a rock and a hard place. You get burned both ways. Maybe that's how he viewed being a famous band versus being an underground band? And "choking on the ashes of her enemy" would seem to go in line with "aqua seafoam shame," meaning the ashes of the enemy of mother nature will go out to be part of it. It's a self-loathing view. It has nothing to do with Courtney Love.

    "All alone is all we are (x14)"

    I changed it to what it really says. "All in all is all we are" means absolutely nothing. "All alone is all we are" means exactly what it says. We're all alone in this world. He says it very clearly, especially at the last line when the instruments go off. Listen closely to Kurt's final message to the world if you want to know what All Apologies says
    mostly90son August 19, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI know everyone who wrote what they think the song about is probably really smart, smarter than me, but you guys are all way too analytical. Kurt Cobain wrote this song a long time before he even met Courtney Love. And Courtney Love was doing drugs a long time before she met Kurt Cobain. It doesn't have anything to do with her. And I can see how someone could think that it was about Courtney Love, (I'm married/buried) but I really think it was a stretch to say that it was about him got her hooked onto drugs. Now that I've said that, I have to say I don't really know what the song is about. Unless Kurt told someone, he was vague to the point where no one could figure out exactly what he meant. And I'm not criticizing him for it; I think it proves his integrity just a little bit more because he didn't write an obvious song just so it would be more mainstream and people would get it. It could have been about his own negative view about marriage from childhood, since his parents got divorced when he was nine. It could be about so many things, which I think makes it a better song because more people could relate to it based on their own experiences.
    beth46307on April 20, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentLETS THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A SECOND. IF YOU DONT KNOW WHAT A SONG MEANS, WHY DO YOU WASTE SPACE JUST TO SAY..."I DONT KNOW WHAT THIS SONG MEANS" ...GIVE ME A BREAK!! :)
    butterfly_screamson May 28, 2002   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation'In utero' was front loaded with all the 'tunes' and descends into a dissonant squall towards the end (which I love).

    It was a deliberate attempt to alienate the very people that had bought their records and put them where they were. The Album finishes with 'All apologies'. Basically a sarcastic retort to all the mugs who liked them for their 'pretty songs' and had bought this album, scratching their heads going WTF?!

    It's like he's saying 'Not what you expected? Nevermind II? Sorry guys.....' with a wry grin on his face.

    PS I think 'In Utero' is head and shoulders above 'Nevermind'
    nickster007on November 19, 2009   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationAfter reading through a few of the top responses, I feel confident that they are much closer to the true meaning of this song than my initial interpretation. Still, I thought I would share how I took the lyrics, just for fun.

    "What else should I be,
    All apologies"

    I always thought (after hearing the married/buried line) this song was from the perspective of a man trapped in an unhappy marriage, where he is constantly his wife's scapegoat. A guy that has been worn down with blame for so many years that he has come to accept his role as the source of everything wrong in their lives.

    "What else could I say
    Everyone is gay"

    I imagined that he eventually came to feel like everyone was against him, and became cynical and worn out with people in general.

    "What else could I write
    I don't have the right"

    This bit only makes sense if I think of the lyrics as his bitter suicide note to his family/wife. Exhausted, he is sarcastically saying that if he is such a monster that he doesn't even deserve to explain himself.

    "In the sun, I feel as one."

    By this point, my own assigned meaning to the song really starts to reach. I apologize, but move forward anyway! "In the sun" meaning under heat constantly. "Feel as one" could be a reference to the joining of he and his wife in marriage. So, with both considered, he is always under scrutiny in his marriage, always having to sweat it out.

    "I'm married/Buried."

    Well, that is pretty much the reason for the rest of my interpretation. Married and feeling utterly trapped.

    "I wish I was like you
    Easily amused
    Find my nest of salt
    Everything is my fault"

    Get ready for some more stretching, because here I go! He is wishing that he could be as easily satisfied with assigning blame and dodging responsibility. The "nest of salt" meaning the home/habit people have made out of rubbing salt in his wounds; giving him problems because it is easier on them (namely his wife).

    "I'll take all the blame,
    Aqua sea foam shame,
    Sunburn with freeze burn,
    Choking on the ashes of her enemy"

    Sigh, I can only suspect the ocean has something to do with the "nest of salt." Maybe, just maybe, meaning the relentless nature of the criticism, like the ceaseless tide?
    The sun/freeze burn is somewhat an oxymoron to draw attention to the way his wife is leaving him alone and isolated by the constant heat she puts on him. The sunburn could be a reference to the earlier lyric "in the sun, I feel as one," explaining that all the blame he receives is catching up with his mental health/self esteem. The "freeze burn" meaning the cold, icy, relationship he now has with his wife.
    "Choking on the ashes of her enemy" describes how she is growing tired with ripping him to shreds because he is no longer able to be hurt by it. He has lost feeling and become numb, which robs her of much of the satisfaction gained from hurting him.

    "All alone is all we are"

    Finally, his feelings that marriage only advertises lifelong companionship without ever providing it. Again, this is the cynical conclusion drawn in what could be a suicide note.
    DSLRon April 12, 2014   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe first verse...
    "What else should I be
    All apologies"
    --asking if he should not be a star because he isn't a role modle
    "What else should I say
    Everyone is gay"
    --asking if you blame him for being what we all want him to be...a rebell--for lack of a better word
    "What else could I write
    I don't have the right"
    --it isn't his job to say Courtney is hooked on drugs though he admits he is---this meaning might be off..its an interesting line..but it would fallow with my theroy.
    "What else should I be
    All apologies"
    --repeated...mainly he can't stop thinking its his fault
    and the coures..
    in the sun--his description of being high..sun..later he says Courtney is sunburned...(now you see my point)
    in the sun i feel as one--when he is high he feels whole.
    just my theroy..
    dellslaveon April 04, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is a song that should mean whatever you want it to mean. It could have so many meanings. To me though, it's saying alot. each line has new meaning to me. but i can relate to it the most when i'm feeling trapped, like no one likes me, when i have no idea what to write, when i feel like everyones blaming me for something that's not my fault. when i just want to crawl into a hole and never come out. when i'm feeling alone. but all in all, i think it's one of the greatest songs ever written.
    Glynison June 21, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentChill out on the murder thing and this being a "Suicide Note" song. All his albums displayed suicidal meanings and when he finally did it, it proves he's not whining and gutless. I don't agree with suicide but fuck, when you're depressed... And this song was written in 1990. The lyrics changed some. Kurt always said he wanted to be vague, let it mean what it does for you, that's music. Some of you had some great interpretations, others are lost like Kurt would like you to be. I don't know shit but in a previous album he states "god is gay" (stay away, nevermind) "What else can I say?"
    GCKon March 05, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about someone who apoligizes for the things that he says and does, but he continues to do them regardless. Eventually she starts to doubt his sincerety. If he was really sorry then why does he continue to do the same thing over and over. She starts to understand that he truly isn't sorry. She never saw him express true remorse. He didn't seem sorrowful when he saw her in pain. He knows she has low self-esteem and has a hard time standing up for herself. He only seemed sorry to see the consequences of his abusive behaviour. He reverts back to his abusive behaviour as soon as he thinks he can get away with it again. She eventually understands that he isn't that man she thought he was. She keeps clinging to the hope that she's wrong about him. He's still really the man she first met. She starts to accept reality for it is.He doesn't love her. Because love always protects.
    terribleon May 27, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAqua seafoam shame is a reference to Kurt's feelings about the Nevermind album. It's well documented that Kurt thought Nevermind was "over-produced for his liking".
    dooyoo.co.uk/music-records/nevermind-nirvana/1002028/

    At the time Nevermind wrapped Kurt complained that it was a sellout, that it didn't have the raw honesty of "Bleach", a problem he would correct with "In Utero". The phrase "aqua seafoam" refers to the colors on Nevermind's album cover.
    catcherinthedarkon April 20, 2010   Link

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