"Smells Like Teen Spirit" as written by and Kurt/novoselic Cobain....
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., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Smells Like Teen Spirit song meanings
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  • +27
    General CommentThis 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
  • +18
    TranslationThe 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
  • +9
    General CommentThe 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
  • +6
    My InterpretationI see that many people around say that this song has no meaning. It is not true! This song is one of the most meaningful songs of Nirvana. It represents the band so well that it should have the title "Nirvana", instead of "Smells like teen spirit".
    I think it is about the beginnings of the band, when they were at high-school.
    "Load up on guns; bring your friends
    it’s fun to lose and to pretend"
    it gives a picture of the teenage guys in high-school, who usually gather in gangs with guns, fighting each other.
    "She's over-bored and self-assured
    Oh no, I know a dirty word"
    These lines are clearly for the high-school girls, who want to look older by acting like they are bored by life, and want to give the impression that they are self-assured. The dirty word for sure is BITCH!
    “Hello, hello, hello, how low”
    Now imagine the high-school gym hall, filled up with the students we described above, that are waiting to listen to a rock band from their school. The first word in the microphone, to salute and also to test the audio system, is “Hello”. It echoes through the loudspeakers “hello, hello, hello, …”
    “With the lights out, it's less dangerous”
    It is the title of one of their first songs. Maybe they had practiced it so much that: With the lights out, it’s less dangerous to fail.
    “Here we are now; entertain us”
    the crowd seemed to say.
    “I feel stupid and contagious”
    how the band leader felt in front of so many people. And “contagious” for the other band members.
    What the crowd sees:
    “A mulatto” = Novoselic, with black hair, black beard, big face, who looked like a mulatto
    “An albino” = Cobain, a blonde guy
    “A mosquito” = Grohl, or any other light-weight member of early Nirvana
    “A libido” = Nirvana, our passion, our pleasure
    “I'm worse at what I do best”
    how the emotion to perform in front of the public makes one feel.
    “And for this gift I feel blessed”
    The fear that you are not going to perform good, makes the artist to practice more and more, which makes him blessed.
    “Our little group has always been
    And always will until the end”
    That is why this song should be simply titled Nirvana.
    “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”
    Cobain, and many other artists, have passed a blocking moment on stage, when they forget a line or any of the chords. There comes improvisation, which makes an artist to taste. Later, when he recalls that moment, it makes him smile. Do not try to remember the forgotten lines or chords, just free yourself, improvise, and nevermind!
    jurinushion November 27, 2014   Link
  • +5
    General Commentok, 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 CommentNirvana will never be dead!
    rinzon February 21, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThat 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
  • +4
    General Commenti 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
  • +3
    General CommentDid 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 CommentI don't understand why some of you argue over whether this is the best or the worst song. The great thing about this SongMeanings website is that people have the chance to speak intelligently and emotionally about music, but its hard to understand that the people who post comments don't realize that what is important isn't how great a song is in general, but what it means to you.

    Personally, I find the sex interpretation to be a stretch. Yes, "how low" might refer to a blow job, and alternatively it could refer to a low between taking heroin. But it has so many possible meanings -- depression, for example. And since "hello" comes before it, you could even take it to mean the depression, emptiness and ugliness inherent in a teen world where teens are forced to be polite to the older generation, even though they don't want to -- when teens are forced to be something they're not.

    I think, in general, this song is just about teen life. MrSkaPunk is probably right; Kurt didn't put much effort into the meaning of the lyrics, but what he wrote down can nonetheless be analyzed. And I think that its best taken as a multitude of emotions, actions, diversity (mulatto, albino), acceptance, rejection, and the ups and downs of teen life.
    vibe19on May 23, 2002   Link

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