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No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked

RS tackles the complete catalog of the band that defined the Nineties and made the world a lot noisier

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22. "Blew"

The very first sound we hear on the very first Nirvana studio album – Krist Novoselic's rumbling seven-note bass figure in "Blew" – is so low-toned as to be almost indecipherable. The reason? Nirvana, like many of their Seattle peers, favored "drop-D" tuning, which involves lowering the bottom E string on a guitar or bass one whole tone. But when Kurt and Krist dropped their lowest strings during the recording of Bleach, they didn't realize their respective instruments were already tuned down a full step. The consequence was that they went "one lower," to a positively leaden "drop-C." Which, in the case of "Blew," essentially plunged Kurt's languid vocals and loping melodies into a tar pit. Novoselic later described the resultant sound as "doom pop," and pointed to Bleach's leadoff track as the only C-tuned track to actually make it to the album without being recut. Perhaps not coincidentally, he also called "Blew" his favorite song on the record. "It has a groove," he explained in Seattle Weekly, "and it's the sole survivor of the Doom Pop experiment." Luckily, contemporary bands like Torche seem to have continued his research. RICHARD BIENSTOCK

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