Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the musical manifestation of youth, uncertainty, and love! Let’s take a listen to Nirvana’s “About a Girl” and feel so many feelings at the same time, it should be illegal!
Kurt Cobain whipped up this song during a somewhat difficult time in his relationship with his girlfriend, “Tracy Marander” and added it to their debut album “Bleach”; Which caused it to stand out from the rest of the album’s melancholy, brooding mood by a mile with its upbeat 130 tempo and the restless rebellion of the E minor scale. Despite this, the song was pretty well received and cherished by many, adding up to Cobain’s fame and proving he can write more poppy - albeit not exactly happy - songs instead of being a one-trick pony of sadness.
You start playing the track and immediately Cobain’s on the guitar, jammin’ the chords. As I just mentioned, it’s not exactly happy, but it ain’t sad either. It feels like a cloudy afternoon in spring and the band’s playing in a garage. Not a bad day, not a good day, not warm, not cold. Just in-between. Then comes Chad Channing, rushing to the song’s aid with the drums, adding a much-appreciated flair and just a hint of joy and dance to the track. So the odds are in favor of joy huh? Not for long! In comes Cobain with his legendary voice. He knew exactly what he was going for. There’s a pain in those vocals but there’s also energy and defiance. There’s a joy but there’s also sorrow. There’s a bit of everything in that voice yet it’s so distinct. Like a chef using so many different spices but getting just the right taste. The repeating “I do”s almost sound instrumental now. The guitar solo after the chorus on 1:20 plays more on the side of brazenness and freedom. Feels like the whole garage must be shaking right now. Comes and goes another verse and chorus and then comes the outro. I’m gonna say only one word about this part just the way the song itself emphasizes this word: Free!
The lyrics aren’t much far away from the overall feel of the song. In the verses, Cobain is asking for something rather paradoxical. An “easy friend” only for the fun and giggles of it but at the same time a friend who’ll lend an ear to him and listen to his thoughts, needs, and problems. But the chorus is much more directed and has a definitive message. Cobain is taking this time of turmoil in the relationship, where he feels like his partner’s neglecting him and “leaving him out to dry”, and he uses it to be one word and one word only. Free!
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Freedom’s the goal and rebellion’s the way! Long live the youth and may love prevail! Have a good one and we’ll see you on the next review.