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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31. "Rape Me"

Far from its provocative title, "Rape Me" is a double-entendre from jump, as the opening chords are a bizarro-world inversion of those that open Nirvana's mega-est mega-hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." It seemed to refer to Cobain's disdain for the anti-punk, corporate rock star lifestyle that squashed his spirit so completely that he referenced it in his suicide note. But it was also the closest to an actual Bikini Kill song that he would ever write, using the lyrics as a woman-empowering taunt to show would-be rapists that their victims' spirits would not be tamped, a bit of riot grrrl infused into those dirty guitar chords that so many have come to associate with men in a vibrant era of tough women-led rock bands. It deserves extra points for its seriousness. JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD

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