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Nirvana "Bleach" a Very Underrated Album That Still Deserves Attention Even More Than 30 Years Later

"Bleach" Songs List

  1. "Blew"
  2. "Floyd the Barber"
  3. "About a Girl"
  4. "School"
  5. "Love Buzz"
  6. "Paper Cuts"
  7. "Negative Creep"
  8. "Scoff"
  9. "Swap Meet"
  10. "Mr. Moustache"
  11. "Sifting"
  12. "Big Cheese"
  13. "Downer"

Nirvana's Debut Is an Album That Deserves More Credit Than It Gets

Bleach is the first studio album by grunge rock band Nirvana. It still deserves attention even more than 30 years after its release. This is one album that may not get the credit and attention that it deserves. It really has songwriting that is top notch in spite of the flaws in the production. One major difference is that there obviously is no Dave Grohl playing drums on the album. But more than that, this may be the one Nirvana studio album that gets overlooked over all of their other releases. One other observation that I can make about this album is that there are no songs in which Kurt Cobain tries to overdo the vocal parts or make them too dramatic.


How Was "Bleach" Recorded and How Successful Was It?

The album was recorded in 30 hours and the band was charged $606.17 which for that time was not a large amount of money. Guitarist Jason Everman joined Nirvana for a short time and he is credited in the album sleeve although he did not play on the album Bleach. Prior to the release of the album Nevermind, Bleach sold 40,000 copies in the United States. But that was just the beginning of what was to come later. In order to experience success, you have to start somewhere especially musically. But for Nirvana, getting to mainstream success did not take very long as fans were about to see.

"Negative Creep" May Be the Heaviest Song in Nirvana's History

When I first heard Bleachon a cassette tape back in 1993 and 1994, one of the tracks that really stood out to me was the song called “Negative Creep.” The song is probably the heaviest one in the history of Nirvana. It features an extremely heavy guitar tone as you can hear the distortion in the background. The song has also lots of screams from guitarist and front man Kurt Cobain (1967-1994). This song is heavy even for grunge songs and it really can leave the listener impressed with the heaviness. One lyrical line that is becoming an eye opener is when Kurt utters the line “Daddy’s little girl ain’t a girl no more.” What would eventually happen in 1992 is that Kurt’s wife Courtney Love would give birth to a baby girl, Frances Bean Cobain.


The Process of the Writing of the Lyrics According to Kurt Cobain

As far as the lyrics are concerned, Kurt Cobain claimed that they were written the night before the recording of the album. He did not really care about them and he was very angry. Cobain revealed on one of his first interviews that when he writes a song, the lyrics are the least important thing. He emphasized this point by saying that he could go through two or three different subjects in a song and that the lyrics might mean nothing. He even said that the lyrics have to do with his life experiences in Aberdeen, Washington. The lyrics may be the only blemish on an otherwise solid album.

How Good Is the Album Bleach?



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What Songs In "Bleach" Are Significant?

It is now over 30 years since Bleach was released and it will get passed over for the band’s second album Nevermind. However, Bleach is underrated and one need not look further than the first song Blew which has a very good bass line in it. The album begins with the solid song called Blew. I always remember this song because of the excellent beginning to it with the bass guitar work kicking in. This is followed by the simple yet catchy song Floyd the Barber. Then there is the famous song called About a Girl. This song was written for Cobain’s girlfriend at the time Tracy Marander. Marander is credited for doing the photography on this debut. About a Girl would be featured on the album called Nirvana: LIVE Unplugged in New York. There is also a cover song called "Love Buzz" by the artist Shocking Blue. It was the first single for Bleach. Other songs on the album worthy of mention include Scoff, Swap Meet, Sifting, and Big Cheese.

Speaking of the song "Blew," hearing this in 2022, you can realize that this song also has that sort of memorable start to it because of the beginning bass lines and the skill of Krist Novosellic.


Special Comment About the Songs "Scoff" and "Sifting"

The bass work in "Scoff" by Novosellic is very memorable to me even many years later! Some of you may find the constant uttering of the line "don't have nothing for you" a bit annoying. The other factor in this song is the repeating main riff but Sifting is still a good song.

"Swap Meet"

How Nirvana's 1989 Album "Bleach" Comes to a Conclusion

"Scoff" starts with some catchy drumming before evolving into one of the band’s best songs ever. "Swap Meet" is even better featuring some excellent bass guitar work by Chris Novosellic. Sifting has some blues style solo work in it and it is a good song. The heaviness of the guitars can be heard again. The album ends with the very short and fast song called Downer. The weakest song on Bleach is the one called "Paper Cuts."

Final Thoughts About a Very Underrated Album By Nirvana

This is a great way for the band to have started out their career. Although Nevermind was more commercially successful and really put Nirvana on top of the grunge rock world, Bleach is an excellent album that deserves attention and praise even in 2022 and beyond. Nirvana is known as one of the best bands in the history of alternative rock and Bleach is an example of an album with great songs, terrific bass guitar work, blues influences, and an overall enjoyable listen.

One song that I did not mention is the heavy bass ridden song "School" and this one is good for its blues style interlude, catchy bass lines and its overall making fun of recess at school. However, analyzing the lyrics to that song even further, it is actually about Kurt’s struggles in school as this was an environment that he was never really able to function in effectively. The first main lyrical line is the sign that he felt like he was the victim in school, that it was just his own bad luck.

Rate Nirvana's Debut Album Bleach

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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