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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

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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