Ep. 3 Notes (“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” by Nirvana)

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The Song

The lyrics (but compare this version; and see the official (?) sheet music.

A ton of other songs show in this episode:

“Mysterious Ways,” by U2

“When a Man Loves a Woman,” by Michael Bolton

“Peek-a-Boo,” by Siouxsie and the Banshees

“Black or White,” by Michael Jackson

“I’m Too Sexy,” by Right Said Fred

“Come as You Are,” by Nirvana

“Baby Got Back,” by Sir Mix-A-Lot

“Creep,” by Stone Temple Pilots

“Eruption,” by Van Halen

“We’re Not Gonna Take It,” by Twisted Sister

“God Save the Queen,” by the Sex Pistols

“Blowin’ in the Wind,” by Bob Dylan

And I also refer to this clip from The Big Lebowski, by the Coen Brothers.



In the episode, I drew on information you can find at the following links.

The Wikipedia article on “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The Wikipedia article on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

The List of #1 songs in the 80s on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

The Billboard Hot 100 chart for 1991.

The Wikipedia record of the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart for 1992.

The Billboard Alternative Songs chart for 1991.

The Wikipedia list of world events for 1991.

The record of Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 songs for 1991 at Weekly Top 40 (and for 1992).

This copy of “The Making of Nevermind,” by Alan di Perna, from a 1996 issue of Guitar World.

Philosophical Sources

I refer in the podcast Albert Camus‘ The Myth of Sisyphus, and to Hegel‘s theory of historical dialectic. See The Partially Examined Life‘s post on Hegel’s theory, and listen to the Philosophy Bites episode thereon.

If you want to know more about Hegel, I would recommend Dr. Greg B. Sadler’s Half Hour Hegel video series.

I also refer to my forthcoming paper “How Philosophers Appeal to Priority to Effect Revolution,” in the philosophy journal Metaphilosophy. You can read a draft of that article at the above link.

Other Sources

I was first alerted to the fact that punk was a reaction to progressive rock by the PBS History of Rock & Roll series’ “Punk” episode. (See here and here.)

Comments, Corrections, and Feedback

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Featured image by medium as muse. Provided under a CC Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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2 thoughts on “Ep. 3 Notes (“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” by Nirvana)

  • I know it’s not “Top 40,” but would love for a future podcast to include your thoughts on the bluegrass genre (admittedly my favorite), with respect to its self-conscious embrace of a (Hegelian?) synthesis of jazz-like instrumental virtuosity (albeit typically exemplified in blistering improvised breaks, rather than complex chord progressions) and folk-like lyrical simplicity and accessibility (as well as a reverence for tradition).

  • That is a fantastic point! I hadn’t thought about bluegrass, but you are right. There are ways everyone can participate in it (on rhythm guitar, say) but it’s got as many virtuosic possibilities as metal on the “lead” instruments. Some instruments we associate with bluegrass have been making a bit of a comeback recently in pop songs (banjo especially, but also mandolin), so I hope I get to talk about bluegrass eventually!

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