Nirvana’s debut studio “Bleach” (and Kurt’s non-embarrassing lyrics)

28 years ago, Nirvana‘s debut studio album saw the light of day.

Bleach was well received by critics (although it wouldn’t sell as well), but Kurt himself did not have a particularly high opinion about the lyrics. He did not devote enough thought to them. He wrote the most part the night before the recording session. Because he was angry, of course. He didn’t really care about the topics. Or so it seems if one were to read his own statement about it. (If anyone, he should have been a reliable witness. Or should he?)

“It was like I’m pissed off. Don’t know what about. Let’s just scream negative lyrics, and as long as they’re not sexist and don’t get too embarrassing it’ll be okay. I don’t hold any of those lyrics dear to me,” he explained for Spin in 1993.

Some worshipers did not agree with this. They thought the lyrics were rather personal and that they did have a meaning. And, in our humble opinion, they’re right. Maybe Cobain did not intend to give the lyrics an exact meaning. But screaming cynical lyrics which were not sexist and didn’t get too embarrassing, actually means something. If nothing else, it reflects anti-sexism.

A poster which was urging drug users to bleach their needles to prevent AIDS was the inspiration for the name of the album. The working title was Too Many Humans, but then Cobain saw the poster in San Francisco, and the album got its name Bleach.

It’s just an interesting fact. There’s no real connection between the anti-AIDS campaign and the album. If Kurt Cobain didn’t bother at all to contemplate the meaning, why would he have bothered with the name and the meaning of the album title?

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