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Song Stories

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Nirvana | 1991

"Smells Like Teen Spirit," named after a brand of deodorant marketed to girls, was Kurt Cobain's attempt to "write the ultimate pop song," he said, using the soft-loud dynamic of his favorite band, the Pixies. Cobain "had that dichotomy of punk rage and alienation," the song’s producer, Butch Vig, told Rolling Stone, "but also this vulnerable pop sensibility. In 'Teen Spirit,' a lot of that vulnerability is in the tone of his voice." Sadly, by the time of Nirvana's last U.S. tour, in late '93, Cobain was tortured by the obligation to play "Teen Spirit" every night. "There are many other songs that I have written that are as good, if not better," he claimed.

Find out what the Nevermind baby has been up to years after his landmark cover photo.
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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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