Load up on guns, bring your friends
It's fun to lose and to pretend
She's over-bored and self-assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word

Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello

With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido
Yeah, hey

I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello

With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido
Yeah, hey, yeh

And I forget just why I taste
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard, it's hard to find
Oh well, whatever, never mind

Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello

With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido
A denial, a denial, a denial, a denial, a denial
A denial, a denial, a denial, a denial



Lyrics submitted by spitfirek7, edited by bbaldwin50, stjimmyrocks92

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" as written by Kurt/novoselic Cobain

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Smells Like Teen Spirit song meanings
Add your thoughts

1341 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +19
    General Comment:This song's a joke.

    No really, it is.

    One of his ex girlfriend's spraypainted "Kurt smells like teen spirit". Well "Teen Spirit" is a deodrant. He didn't know that back then (found out after the song was released) and thought it was a good revolution slogan. Long story short, he used that title to make a joke song about a "revolution". That's all it is, a joke.

    This quote basically says it all
    "The entire song is made up of contradictory ideas. It's just making fun of the thought of having a revolution. But it's a nice thought." - Kurt Cobain

    It's like something the Pixies would.

    I mean seriously, if you read the lyrics, they're ridiculous, they have no meaning,
    "A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido"

    "Oh well, whatever, never mind"

    Well I'm done.
    DreamlessNightson April 05, 2012   Link
  • +16
    Translation:The meaning is simple if you have been there..

    "Load up on guns; bring your friends" - Guns= needles friends= encase of fallout
    "It's fun to lose and to pretend" - Euphoric feelings
    "She's over-bored and self-assured" - there is no going back, and she knows it
    "Oh no, I know a dirty word" - Heroin


    "With the lights out, it's less dangerous" - feels secure and satisfied after a shot
    "Here we are now; entertain us" - to messed up, they can't entertain themselves
    "I feel stupid and contagious" - trying it was stupid yet he still introduces it
    "Here we are now; entertain us" - " "
    "A mulatto" - Black-tar mixed with water, turns it brown
    "an albino" - his blue veins seen through light skin
    "a mosquito" - the prick of the needle and checking the drawback of blood
    "my libido" - Heroin is better than sex..
    "Yeah, hey" - thats about all you can say after you've shot enough..


    "Hello, hello, hello, how low
    Hello, hello, hello, how low
    Hello, hello, hello, how low
    Hello, hello, hello"
    -This about a fallout (overdose) other people trying to wake him up, he is at a very low point, very near death

    "I'm worse at what I do best" - doesn't think hes a good musician
    "And for this gift I feel blessed" - he feels blessed to create, though hes on dope
    "Our little group has always been" - Always felt like they were over-rated
    "And always will until the end" - Hes caught, and will be until death


    "And I forget just why I taste" - why did he start?
    "Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile" - it made him feel good while depressed
    "I found it hard; it's hard to find" - hes hardened and lost inside
    "Oh well, whatever, never mind" - no control, no hope, no future

    "a denial" - he denies this part of himself though he knows it exists, a complex confusion all addicts face and nobody else can feel unless they have been where he has.
    BiPolarBeron February 25, 2013   Link
  • +8
    General Comment:The greatest and most influencial song ever written. The song was aimed at the people the band didn't want to listen to their music (jocks/preps) who wound up listening to the music anyways.
    slashesson December 13, 2001   Link
  • +5
    General Comment:That was the greatest song ever written, or at least since the Beatles. The song name comes from the deodorant. Kurt was partying with one of the chicks from Bikini Kill and she kept on saying he smelt like teen spirit. Kurt didn't even know what teen spirit was when he wrote the song. He just thought it sounded good. At least that is the story about the title of the song that I have read about in several differnet places.
    Maceon January 23, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General Comment:ok, teen spirit was a good song, but the greatist....no. nirvana had songs the were way better than that and it pisses me off that when ever anyone thinks of nirvana they think of that song, and when ever some one plays a nirvana song the play that one. it was a good song, but personaly i think about a girl, pennyroyal tea, all apologies, something in the way, drain you, siver, heart shapd box, rape me, tourette's, ect ect, are better songs.
    anywho its "the denial" not "a denial"
    dieforkurton January 30, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General Comment:Nirvana will never be dead!
    rinzon February 21, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:Did anyone ever notice how the lyrics kind of sound like they're describing a blow job? I mean the bridge about "hello" then "how low?" The chorus about how with the lights out its less dangerous, the last word libido. Especially the last verse about "why I taste", "it makes me smile" "I found it hard it was hard to find oh well whatever nevermind" hmmm... other hints all through the song, but I don't know it was just a thought. Nevermind...
    anakin821on February 26, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:"These lyrics defy logic but they do evoke imagery and then sounds through the music which I supposedly keep as simple as possible in song. Less is more. This simple rule applies to lyrical imagery. The songs are closer to sketches with words or impressionist paintings. They have made different meanings to people and that is what great music or poetry does. There is not a correct analysis as to the meaning of the words and there was none intended. The music in all its simplicity and the abstract thought that represents the lyrical imagery are to evoke comparison and paradox. The music then soars like the spirit." -Kurt

    Correct lyrics, as written by Kurt Cobain:
    "Load up on guns, bring your friends it's fun to lose than to pretend"

    These words refer to people who try so hard to keep an image which is really useless, with the right choices, experiences, opportunities.. anyone could fulfill a certain image. It's an excuse to feed their ego. It'd be just as easy to spray paint 'Kill George Bush' over and over again. Whether that would have an impact on anything or not it doesn't matter, it's still fun to do it. Which is applicable to the line 'It's fun to lose than to pretend'. Though, it is apparent in both sexes, it's more evident in males.

    "She's overboard and self-assured, oh no, I know a dirty word"

    I think he may be referring to narcissistic, overenthusiastic girls.. you know, like the stuck up cheerleader for ex. The part where he says 'dirty word' is an obvious indirect reference to 'bitch'.
    The sentence is basically explaining a female that is stuck up and close-minded.. attributes of a bitch.

    "Hello, hello, hello, how low?"

    Is anybody there? I'd be nice to rapport with people of your caliber or higher.

    "With the lights out, it's less dangerous"

    Interesting metaphor, this is kind of like "Ignorance is Bliss". If you're blind to the truth (with the lights out), then you have less worries. I think this is a very ambiguous line.

    "Here we are now, entertain us"

    I've read once in an interview with Kurt (There's a lot of them on the net) he use to say this to break the ice at a party. He might be referring to people constantly averting themselves from being bored. Why would he bring this up? Maybe, if we're made in "Gods Image" we're probably just here to keep god from being bored? j/k Honestly, I'm not sure.

    "I feel stupid and contagious"

    Obvious satire. I know Kurt was a real big fan of William S. Burroughs. I think that's why he wore those bifocals. Burroughs once said, "Language is virus.” I can try and explain this in metaphorical terms... Any information you receive through your senses is a virus, while your brain cells are the host.

    Words especially, words are very expressive, after all, that is there purpose. Right now you are staring at colored light making silhouettes of what you understand as "letters", but if you didn't know this language, these words would make no sense at all. Kurt new this and exploited it. For example, some of the songs he created, he tried to have sinister ambience musically wise, while he used blissful lyrics, or vise versa. I don't think Kurt ever considered himself "smart", in a lot of his interviews he'd prefer to call himself an "experienced simpleton". In a sense, everyone is ignorant and naive, smart is only in the eye of the beholder. I guess what Kurt considered genius we probably couldn't understand.. here's a quote from an interview...

    "I don't think genius has anything to do with education and knowledge. It has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. It is a kind of incommunicable power of creative thought that has nothing to do with traditional learning because it can't be taught. To be taught requires a willingness to learn and a genius' undefined thought process can't follow a logical succession of ideas. That's why poetry, or my lyrics transcend thought. Musical thought, as I know it, creates and defies pattern and logic." - Kurt

    "A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido, Yeah!"

    I think he's talking about the transferring of fluids. Nowadays no one is of one pure race. I think this particular line is a rant against racist. Libido is sexual desire, and can result in a person that is a mixture of all races.

    "I'm worse at what I do best and for this gift I feel blessed"

    This line is an appreciation for opinions. Without them, Kurt wouldn't have experienced stardom. While the line may sound like an amphigouri, with further attention, the meaning becomes pretty apparent. Due to our opinions, the line 'I'm worst at what I do best' is valid. And the reason he feels blessed is because it has brought him great fortune. And by fortune, I don't mean money, I don't think Kurt valued money that much. I mean fortune as in having the opportunity to touch people with his music.

    "Our little group has always been and always will until the end"

    This one stumped me. Maybe, it means, since everything you eat your body takes from it and it accumulates to your growth, so in a sense, you were always here, you were just spread around the earth. And even after you die, you don't leave existence, your matter still lies in the form of decadence or ash. It's only your brain that ceases function which ends your so called "reality". Actually, I'm just kidding but you never know, Kurt was a very philosophical person. This interpretation could be right, or not.
    Although, I liked Chocolate's interpretation for this line on page 22, it's the best I've heard.

    "And I forget just why I taste, oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile"

    I forget why I've chose to live out this tedious path (life), oh yeah, "I guess it makes me smile" (metaphor for happiness, maybe?). I think Kurt is questioning life, or questioning question. The only thing that will ever will be valued in your life will be what that organ behind your eyes chooses to find value in. Kurt is trying to find some values I guess, because he burnt out the ones he already had.


    "I found it hard, it's hard to find, oh well, whatever, never mind"

    Because most people would just as soon forget or just say 'never mind' than take a can of spray paint or start a band, make up excuses for not starting a band. People just don't do things very often any more. This disturbed Kurt intensely.

    And finally, a denial... I think this means the thoughts that derive from your instinct or hormones can be overwritten with your mind. Some examples would be people who practice celibacy or suicide as in denying existence. Though, there are many types of denials, even ones you unwittingly act upon.

    Now as for "Teen Spirit" being the greatest song, it truly is a matter of opinion, you can't argue over two oposing opinions, it's pointless, you'll get nowhere, unless you could convince the other person to agree with your opinion. But, it could be the best song or it can't, it all depends on you.

    To sum up the meaning of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

    (Metaphor with a biblical reference)
    It's about hey brother, especially sister, throw away the fruit and eat all the rind.
    (Metaphor on provoked diversity)
    No longer is it taboo forte tattooed to take their generational solidarity and Byrds and Herman's Hermits-loving disgraces we call parents...
    (What to contrive)
    Posing as the enemy to infiltrate the mechanics of the system and slowly start its rot from the inside. It's an inside job. It starts with the custodians and the cheerleaders...

    Or not, most people just listen, your aural sensors can be viewed as a passive receptacle for sensory experience.

    Don't obsess over words so much, but if you must know the lyrics, find the meaning behind the words, then decide.
    kafeion December 22, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:This song is about how he rejected mainstream ideas and how teenagers were followers.

    -"Shes over bored, and self assured. Oh no, I know, a dirty words" means that people weren't secure and went out of there way to find mistakes in others
    -"With the lights out, its less dangerous" means that people were superficial and judged by looks. You were more likely to be accepted if they didn't know what you looked like
    -"I feel stupid, and contagious" means that people followed others stupidity. Contagious is a key word here.
    -A mulatto is a child from a black parent and a white parent. Racial conflict between teenagers.
    -An albino is someone with pale skin and red eyes. When you first think of that, you get a little disturbed. This signifys how teenagers can be disturbing, I guess
    -A mosquito signifys the annoying attitude of teenagers and the mainstream
    -Libido is sex drive, of course teenagers sex drive get in the way of their logical thinking.

    Its pretty clear to me thats its about rejection of mainstream and teenage culture. The sad part is that this song started being popular just by the things that annoyed Kurt the most. Kurt didnt want to be mainstream, and with the song about NOT being mainstream and popular, he became popular with the crowd he was making fun of, pretty much. Pretty sad...
    DreamGeniuson June 21, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:i think this song is about fitting in in school, and what kurt thought about it, see,where it says
    "Load up on guns
    bring your friends
    It's fun to lose and to pretend
    She's over bored and self assured
    Oh no, I know a dirty word"

    he's talking about all the crazy thing's kids do to fit in with the rest of society (which is why i am anti-government and anti-society... and atheist, it's my opinion, rant about it all you please, it's a choice just as Hinduism, Judaism, and christianity to beleive in one's self to be the higher being in their life and to not rely on another being to solve their problems)
    anyways, and when he say's

    "I'm worse at what I do best
    And for this gift I feel blessed
    Our little group has always been
    And always will until the end"

    and

    "And I forget just why I taste
    Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
    I found it hard, it was to find
    Oh well, whatever, nevermind"

    he's saying that he support's the "little groups" that think for themselves and he feels blessed that he is one of those and that he "forgets" just why he is one of them, and then he say's that he is because it makes him happy knowing that he is an individual, kurt was an individual, there was and to this day is no one like him, kurt lives within me forever. a friend told me that he just B.S.ed about 90% of this song while they were recording off the top oh his head, so i dont know, it's just my opinion.
    MetallicIronon June 07, 2009   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain