Top 10 Best Nirvana Songs

Dive deep into the grunge-infused world of Nirvana, where raw emotions meet heavy guitar distortion and Kurt Cobain's inimitable voice. Despite their brief yet blazing trail through rock history, Nirvana's influence echoes through the halls of the music world.

What is the quintessential Nirvana track? Is it the anthem of a generation, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," or perhaps an underrated masterpiece like "Dumb"? Every die-hard fan has a song that speaks to their soul.
The Top Ten
1 Smells Like Teen Spirit

This is the song that made me realize there was more music out there than the mainstream top 40. I'm a 13-year-old girl. All my life, I've listened to pop music. I thought for a long time that it was kind of annoying, but I went along with it. After all, "it was cooler to listen to pop," and "the only other music is that stupid Beatles and Elvis junk." That's what I thought.

Then, one day in music class a few months ago, we learned about grunge music. My teacher put on the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" music video as an example. I instantly loved it. By the time Kurt (aka 'shaggy hair dude' because I didn't know who he was) was singing/screaming the chorus, I realized that this was the kind of music I wanted to listen to.

I loved every second of the video and song, especially how it goes from all mellow to rocking out, or whatever you call it. Even though other Nirvana songs have better lyrics, this will always be my favorite. It let me escape from what everyone else was listening to, and I'm sure it did the same for tons of others.

2 Heart-Shaped Box

This is one of my three absolute top-favorite Nirvana songs. This song has so many possible meanings, just like the music video. Every time I listen to it, I think of a new possible meaning, ranging from relationship issues to cancer in children (which Kurt Cobain has also clarified).

It is so underrated, and this makes me really upset. Yes, Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are are amazing songs, but they don't seem to hold as much meaning as Heart-Shaped Box. RIP Kurt Cobain, you will be forever loved and missed.

3 Lithium

This is my favorite song of all time. The vibe, the lyrics, the instruments, the voice - everything is fantastic in this song. Don't get me wrong, Teen Spirit is amazing, but the thing is, I think the YEAH YEAH is just amazing. Also, Kurt committed suicide largely because of his popularity, and Teen Spirit was his most popular song. Being a hardcore Nirvana fan and with Kurt being one of my idols, it's hard to fully enjoy it. Yet, I still love the song. But Lithium is just genius.

Nirvana is something else. They're the best band to come out of America, and Nevermind is one of the best, most acclaimed albums of all time. This song is the best of the lot.

The dark, sinister lyrics are so deep and thoughtful, and the performance is incredible. It's difficult to explain why this is such a good song to someone who hasn't heard it, but it's incredible.

4 Come as You Are

It doesn't matter why the song was only able to collect 10 votes. What matters is that we, the 10 percent of people, were able to understand the meaning of the song. Moreover, there's no other musical band in this universe that has released this type of challenging song before, nor is it likely to happen in the future. "You are awesome, Nirvana!" This is completely against the grain of time.

Can everyone stop voting for the overplayed Smells Like Teen Spirit? We all know it's great, but Nirvana has more than just one good song. This deserves way more than 9 percent! VOTE!

5 In Bloom

According to this song, the fans described can understand that Nirvana should be loved not for their cool, popular, beautiful songs, but for their "darker," less popular, inconspicuous side. Songs that are listened to but fade into the background when compared to hits.

My Top Songs: 1. Drain You, 2. Come as You Are, 3. In Bloom, 4. Do Re Mi, 5. Heart-Shaped Box, 6. Teen Spirit. I won't continue the list further. It is very long. Thank you for reading!

This song is so underrated. The way it was made is just great. The music, lyrics, and everything else about it is wonderful. It's my favorite song of all time!

Unfortunately, it's explicit, so I can't play it in school.

6 All Apologies

Listening to "All Apologies" and getting a little emotional is quite easy, even if you weren't alive in 1993. What makes it so sad is that it was the last song from the last Nirvana album.

Tragically, a year later, Kurt Cobain committed suicide, abruptly ending Nirvana's run after only seven years.

The haunting quality of the production on this song, combined with the brilliant guitar melody supported by the beautifully dark-sounding cello parts, in addition to the pain in the lyrics and the incredibly effective extended ending to the song, makes All Apologies not only one of Nirvana's very best songs but also one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

7 The Man Who Sold the World

How can one not just love this great song? Kurt is amazing as always. The guitar piece is mesmerizing. Many people say that Smells Like Teen Spirit is overrated. I don't think so. I don't hate any of their songs, but this one's my favorite:

Oh no, not me
We never lost control
You're face to face
With the man who sold the world

These lyrics make me ecstatic. Nirvana fan for life.

It really disappoints me to see people who wear Nirvana merchandise but will only ever listen to Smells Like Teen Spirit. That song is far from their best. In my opinion, Nirvana's cover of this David Bowie song is really something else. Normally, I don't like covers, but this one was exceptional.

8 Rape Me

It should be at rank 6, before the song The Man Who Sold the World, which is at 6. Then the list would be perfect. This song is much better than that. It is one of the best catchy songs by Nirvana.

This song is the most straightforward, blunt song you will ever hear. Don't try to pull some super awful meaning out of it. It was only made to be abrupt and get people to stop and listen.

The most powerful song Nirvana has written. It's ironic that this is one of the most calm and sing-along-y from their album "In Utero," but was still banned because of the word "rape."

9 About a Girl

I am very surprised to see About a Girl in 10th place. This is a very underrated song. It's also a very good song. This should have made Nirvana popular, not Smells Like Teen Spirit.

I thought I would never like a song as much as Smells Like Teen Spirit, but then I heard About a Girl. This should be number one.

My favorite Nirvana song is this one. The unplugged version is even better, and if you like acoustic music, you will love this. All in all, this song is listed as one of the greatest love songs, ranking above Heart Shaped Box. So why is it not above it here?

10 You Know You're Right

"You Know You're Right" is just one song that can break a true Kurt Cobain/Nirvana fan's heart. But in other words, I was only a year old when this song was first played on the radio, and I was very young. The last time I heard this song on the radio was way earlier this year, and I just memorized the whole song from 13 years ago.

I fell in love with this song and never heard it being played on the radio ever again. Forget the radio stations. I'll buy another copy of this CD someday and listen to it until my kids hear it and think they heard the song before they were even born.

The Contenders
11 Something in the Way

Why isn't this amazing song higher up? I mean, just look at these lyrics:

"Underneath the bridge
The tap has sprung a leak
And the animals I've trapped
Have all become my pets
And I'm living off of grass,
And the drippings from the ceiling
It's OK to eat fish, 'cause they don't have any feelings."

Absolutely amazing. Not to mention the melody and his voice.

People vote for "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I don't get it. Don't get me wrong, it's a great song, but seriously? People who vote for that song obviously don't know any of their other songs.

12 Pennyroyal Tea

Goosebumps! One of my favorite songs. Have a cup of tea, guys. This song showcases the powerful voice of Kurt. Long live.

This song speaks to me so much. I love this. This and Lithium are my favorites.

"Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld, so I can sigh eternally."
Visceral feeling. Love it.

13 Drain You

This is probably one of the best, if not "the" best song Cobain wrote. It should absolutely be in the top 5. While it never had the sensational popularity of "Teen Spirit," this track is the best use of the "quiet-loud-quiet-loud" style Nirvana was known for.

The guitar riff is simple, but powerful and emotional. The lyrics in this song are some of the most complex Cobain ever wrote, and his guttural scream is pure raw emotion.

This is SUCH A GOOD SONG. It was one of Kurt's favorites, and you can really tell when you listen to it. You can feel the enthusiastic energy he had while recording it. It's just... good.

The lyrics are interesting, and it's really neat how the guitar comes back in full-force after the quieter part with the duck squeaky toy. For whatever reason, it feels the most bittersweet to listen to. It reminds me of Kurt the most, and I think that adds to it.

14 Dumb

"I'm not like them,
But I can pretend.
The sun is gone,
But I have a light.
The day is done,
I'm having fun.
I think I'm dumb,
Or maybe just happy."

Think I'm just happy.

There's a reason this was in the greatest hits album. Get this in the top 10 ASAP!

This song is unexpectedly low. I love that cello part just after "think I'm just happy." It's such an awesome chill song and deserves to be higher up on this list. Just give it a listen, and you will agree.

The perfect Nirvana song, with such beautiful lyrics. Nice mellow guitar, and while it's not overrated like Smells Like Teen Spirit, it's not too hipsterish like You Know You're Right either. Get this to at least the top 5!

15 Breed

Look, I don't want a depressing funeral. I want a party where people are celebrating my life and just going crazy. This song is 100% one I want to be playing there. It has clever lyrics like "We can plant a house, we can build a tree," along with kick-ass guitar and a great grunge sound. It's a lot of fun to listen to.

An early Nirvana song about being trapped in middle-class America, this was a song the band developed during live performances in 1989. They toured Europe with their Sub Pop labelmates, TAD. In our interview with Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt, he explained that this song was "hypnotic" and represented a stylistic breakthrough for the band. "Audiences would become ecstatic," Pavitt said. "They were experiencing Nirvana. And when you're experiencing really good, primal rock 'n' roll, you break into a trance."

16 Where Did You Sleep Last Night

The song is a cover of a folk song made famous by Leadbelly. It was performed in Nirvana's Unplugged set in 1993 as the final song of the set. The song is chilling and kind of creepy, as it was one of the last performances Cobain ever left for the public to hear.

The last verse is screamed, but not in a bad, aimless way. You can tell there is emotion and angst behind it. Unlike other Nirvana songs, Cobain was actually pleased with the performance himself. When asked to perform an encore at Unplugged, he refused because he didn't feel he could top this song. And he was right. This song is perfect.

17 Scentless Apprentice

Okay, but this is a really, really cool song. I love how he drew inspiration from his favorite book to write the lyrics. I just love the guitar and the general mood.

Honestly, there are a lot of underrated songs on In Utero, and this is one of them. All Apologies gets too much attention, in my opinion.

This song was inspired by the novel Perfume by Patrick Süskind. The novel is about a man born with an amazing sense of smell but no smell of his own. He becomes an apprentice in a perfume shop and eventually turns into a murderer of young girls to capture their scent.

18 Aneurysm

This will always be my favorite Nirvana song! This song is so much better than Smells Like Teen Spirit! Smells Like Teen Spirit is just overrated by all the fake Nirvana fans who only listened to them on the radio.

I just can't believe that this awesome song isn't in the top 10. For me, it's the most underrated song of all time. I used to think that Heart Shaped Box was their best song, but when I heard Aneurysm... Damn, I just love this song!

This song isn't exactly one of my favorites (About a Girl, Dumb, and Come as You Are are), but it is still better than some of the trash they call good these days.

19 Territorial Pissings

I really hate the first 10 seconds when Kurt's talking: Come on, people, now. But the moment when the guitar part starts is just so powerful, I can't even describe it with words.

Personally, I think it should be in the top 3 along with Polly and Lithium. This is one of the songs that made Nevermind one of the best albums ever! RIP Kurt!

To the person who doesn't know anything but "Teen Spirit," this sounds like an absolute train wreck of a song, but that is what makes it their best!

Yeah, Teen Spirit is probably my favorite, but if you've seen the video for this, you'll know that it shows the TRUE Nirvana!

20 Polly

I really don't understand why this isn't higher up. Even from the beginning, when I hadn't heard all the hype about some of the other songs, this song struck me as being the best of the album right away. I'd assumed this would be the chart-topper, the song that would make them famous.

Having this song at 17 is a crime. Simple as that. It's a beautiful song that showcased Nirvana's incredible talent exceptionally well. It's still just as memorable and disturbing today as it was in 1991. I particularly like the Live at Reading version. Long live rock.

21 Sliver

This is really an 'out-of-this-world' song. The guitar riffs, the bass, and the lyrics are so awesome that I listen to this song again and again. Please move it up on the list, guys. This is the real Nirvana!

I can't believe this is so low. It's very repetitive and simple, but also really memorable and catchy. It's not their best, but I can't stand seeing this great song so far down on the list.

Not the best song, but it breaks my heart to see that it is so underestimated by people. This song is still one of Nirvana's best, extremely powerful, and sustained by genius lyrics.

22 Lounge Act

I wouldn't say it's the single best Nirvana song ever, but it's up there with You Know You're Right and Scentless Apprentice. Smells Like Teen Spirit is the most overrated Nirvana song and really doesn't define them as a grunge band. It's probably not even worthy of the top 20.

This should be in the top 3. The way the lyrics are constructed and delivered is genius. The clean guitar until the last verse, and in between what I guess you could call the chorus, is awesome.

Great song. Kurt doesn't scream much in this song, making it unique compared to the rest. Even though all of their songs are great, how can you hate on that bass line?

23 On a Plain

What I like about this song is that, although Kurt wrote it in a couple of minutes and only to "fill" the album, there's something about the rhythm and the lyrics that's somehow catchy.

I love this song. It isn't even the band's best effort, but it still manages to make my top 10. The unplugged version is my favorite.

On a Plain should be higher on this list, but I can't complain... Seattle rules!

24 School

Powerful opening riff and demonstrates that a song can be simple, aka punk! Kurt was able to convey the angst of childhood here in just a few words. By far my favorite track off of what I view as their best album, Bleach.

23!? This song is so badass! Sure, there are only 10 words, but it's more of an instrumental thing. I love this song, especially the live at Reading version. If you are a Nirvana fan and you haven't heard this song, I would definitely check it out.

School at 29th place? There's no way these people could have listened to all of Nirvana's songs! School is one of the best! It absolutely rips your face off!

25 Radio Friendly Unit Shifter

The best Nirvana songs get no airplay. There's an ugliness to this that most people can't relate to. And it feels genuine.

This song is really underrated! It should be at least in the top 20. Listen to this song from their Live and Loud concert. It's brilliant!

Why is this song ranked #40? The lyrics are awesome, and it is very heavy and loud. How can you guys rate this #40?

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