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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24. "Scentless Apprentice"

"It was such a cliché grunge Tad riff that I was reluctant to even jam on it," Cobain told Michael Azerrad about the guitar part that drummer Dave Grohl had brought to the band. "But I just decided to write a song with that just to make him feel better, to tell you the truth, and it turned out really cool." Easily the most rhythm-driven song in Nirvana's catalog – and handily besting Alice in Chains' "No Excuses" as having the best "grunge breakbeat" – this prickly, pummeling song is In Utero's best place to experience Nirvana as the sum of its parts. (To wit: It's the only song on the album where all three members have a songwriting credit.) Of course, beyond Grohl's fleet-footed bass drum pattern and Novoselic's menacing low-end, Cobain lyrics are some of his most evocative. Inspired by one of his favorite novels, Peter Süskind's 1985's violent tale of a super-smeller, Perfume, Cobain pointed out that "Scentless," like "Frances Farmer," is a song where he sticks to a theme as opposed to constructing "cut-ups" of poems in his beatpunk style. CHRISTOPHER R. WEINGARTEN

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