About a Girl (Nirvana song) – Wikipedia

1989 song by Nirvana
About a Girl “ is a song by american english rock isthmus Nirvana, written by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain. It is the third song on their introduction album, Bleach, released in June 1989. A live, acoustic version, recorded during Nirvana ‘s MTV Unplugged appearance in November 1993, was released as a single in October 1994, to promote the album, MTV Unplugged in New York. It was the first single released since Cobain ‘s death in April 1994, reaching number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 22 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay chart .

lineage and read [edit ]

“ About a Girl ” was written in 1988, reportedly after Cobain spent an afternoon repeatedly listening to Meet the Beatles!, the 1964 second american english free by the Beatles. [ 1 ] The birdcall was first base recorded in the studio in December 1988 by Jack Endino at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, Washington. This translation appeared on the band ‘s debut album, Bleach, in June 1989. It was debuted live at a dormitory party at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in February 1989.

According to Cobain, he had been attempting to conceal his pop songwriting at this time, and was apprehensive about including the sung on Bleach, knowing that it risked alienating the band ‘s then-largely dirt sports fan basis. In a 1993 Rolling Stone interview with David Fricke, he explained :

“ even to put ‘About a Girl ‘ on Bleach was a risk. I was heavily into pop, I in truth liked R.E.M., and I was into all kinds of old ‘ 60s material. But there was a set of pressure within that social scene, the underground — like the kind of thing you get in high school. And to put a jangling R.E.M. type of pop song on a dirt record, in that scene, was bad. ” [ 2 ]

however, Endino was excited about the song, and even saw it as a potential single. [ 3 ] In a 1997 consultation with Gillian G. Gaar for Goldmine, he recalled Cobain ‘s initial trepidation about including the sung on Bleach .

“ I think Kurt felt aflutter about putting ‘About a Girl ‘ on there, but he was very insistent on it. He said, ‘I ‘ve got a song that ‘s wholly different from the others, Jack, you ‘ve got tantalum barely humour me here, because we ‘re gon na do this real pop tune. ‘ The question was raised at some point, gee, I wonder if Sub Pop ‘s going to like this, and we decided, ‘Who cares ? ‘ Sub Pop said nothing. In fact, I think they liked it a draw. ” [ 4 ]

In 2004, Butch Vig, who produced Nirvana ‘s 1991 breakthrough album Nevermind, cited “ About a Girl ” as the first base tip that there was more to Nirvana than dirt. “ Everyone talks about Kurt ‘s love affair with … the whole bum fit, but he was besides a huge Beatles sports fan, and the more time we spent together the more obvious their influence on his songwriting became, ” Vig told the NME. [ 5 ] On October 26, 1989, a interpretation was recorded by Ted de Bono at Maida Vale Studios in London, England, during Nirvana ‘s first BBC Peel Session. The full moon session was first gear broadcast on November 22, 1989. [ 6 ] Another version was recorded on November 1, 1989 at Villa 65 in Hilversum, Netherlands for the VPRO radio appearance, Nozems-a-Gogo. On November 18, 1993, “ About a Girl ” was performed as the opening birdcall on the band ‘s MTV Unplugged appearance at Sony Music Studios in New York City. Cobain introduced the sung and usher by saying, “ This is off our first record. Most people do n’t own it. ” [ 7 ] This version of the song featured Pat Smear on second guitar. The studio apartment adaptation of “ About a Girl ” was re-released on the band ‘s first “ best of ” compilation, Nirvana, in October 2002. The MTV Unplugged adaptation was re-released on a second base hits compilation, Icon, in August 2010. “ About a Girl ” was performed for the final time live at Nirvana ‘s last concert, at Terminal Einz in Munich, Germany on March 1, 1994 .

composition and lyrics [edit ]

music [edit ]

“ About a Girl ” is an alternative rock sung that runs for a duration of two minutes and forty-eight seconds. [ 8 ] According to the tabloid music published at Musicnotes.com by BMG Rights Management, it is written in the time key signature of coarse time, with a moderately fast rock tempo of 130 beats per hour. [ 8 ] “ About a Girl ” is composed in the key of E minor, while Kurt Cobain ‘s vocal range spans one octave and six notes, from the low-note of B3 to the high-note of A4. [ 8 ] The birdcall chiefly alternates between the open chords of Em and G in the verses and follows a chord progression of C♯5–G♯5–F♯5–C♯5–G♯5–F♯5–E5–A5–C5 during the refrain. [ 8 ] During the verses, Cobain repeats the lapp two chords as Krist Novoselic ‘s bass line continuously ascends while a vocal harmony and tambourines appear in the background. The song ‘s chorus features slight key modulation, where chords farming just slenderly away from the seat expected. [ 9 ] “ About a Girl ” has an ache, pensive melody which Cobain sings over bare chord progressions. His electric guitar play grows bleak and noisy over the course of the track. [ 9 ]

Lyrics [edit ]

According to Chad Channing, Nirvana ‘s Bleach -era drummer, Cobain did n’t have a title for the song when he first brought it into the studio apartment. When asked what it was approximately, Cobain replied, “ It ‘s about a female child. ” [ 10 ] The “ girlfriend ” was Tracy Marander, Cobain ‘s then-girlfriend, with whom he lived at the fourth dimension. obviously, Marander had asked Cobain why he had never written a sung for her, and Cobain responded with “ About a Girl. ” The lyrics addresses the couple ‘s fracture kinship, caused by Cobain ‘s refusal to get a subcontract, or to share cleaning duties at their apartment, which housed many of his pets. During arguments on the topic, Cobain would occasionally threaten to move into his car, at which steer Marander would normally relent. [ 11 ] Cobain never told Marander that he had written “ About a Girl ” for her. In the 1998 Nick Broomfield documentary Kurt and Courtney, Marander revealed that she only found out after reading Michael Azerrad ‘s 1993 Nirvana biography, Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana .

reception [edit ]

“ About a Girl ” has frequently been cited as early testify of Cobain ‘s endowment as a pop songwriter. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic wrote that the sung “ exemplify signs of [ Cobain ‘s ] considerable songcraft. ” [ 12 ] Evan Rytlewskia of Pitchfork called it “ a glance at the melodic impulses that would make [ Cobain ] one of the defining rock musicians of the ’ 90s. ” [ 13 ] According to Will Bryant of Pitchfork, it was “ curious, based on the fairly guitars and bum cymbals that dominate [ “ About a Girl ” ], how Nirvana ever came to be identified with dirt, the authentically dirty and moody voice more readily associated with contemporaries Mudhoney, Soundgarden and Tad than the punk-metal hybrid Nirvana favored. ” [ 14 ] The NME described it as “ Kurt ‘s first true masterpiece, ” which “ showed Nirvana ‘s voiced underbelly could be just ampere arresting as their ear-splitting thrashes. ” [ 15 ] In 2004, the NME ranked “ About a Girl ” second on their list of the 20 Greatest Nirvana Songs Ever. [ 16 ] The same year, Q ranked it second on their list of the 10 Greatest Nirvana Songs Ever. [ 17 ] In 2015, it was placed at numeral eight on Rolling Stone’s rate of 102 Nirvana songs. [ 18 ] It was ranked at count 112 on Pitchfork’s 2015 list of The 200 Best Songs of the 1980s, with Raymond Cummings calling it a “ astute, perceptive, well-constructed, and about Beatles-esque ” song “ that demonstrated a electric potential beyond dirt ‘s ghetto. ” [ 19 ] In 2019, it was ranked eighth on The Guardian’s number of Nirvana’s 20 greatest songs. [ 20 ] “ About a Girl ” is a BMI award-winning birdcall. [ 21 ]

On April 24, 2020, the birdcall was performed by american musician Post Malone as part of his 15-song Nirvana tribute concert livestreamed on YouTube, which raised more than $ 4 million for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. [ 22 ] [ 23 ]

MTV Unplugged adaptation [edit ]

“About a Girl (Unplugged)” (




)MTV Unplugged in New York (1994). The slower live rendition features a stripped-down arrangement and tighter, more subdued performance, transforming the song into a moody [9] A 20-second sample distribution of “ About a Girl ” from the know album ( 1994 ). The slower live rendition features a stripped musical arrangement and tight, more suppress performance, transforming the song into a moody ballad

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The MTV Unplugged translation of “ About a Girl ” was released as a single in October 1994, to promote the album MTV Unplugged in New York, released the following month. It was the lone commercial individual released from the album, and featured the Unplugged version of “ Something in the Way “ as the b-side. Cobain opened the song by saying, “ This is off our inaugural record. Most people do n’t own it. ” Reviewing MTV Unplugged in New York for the NME, John Harris wrote that the song ‘s “ musical backdrop suggests The Beatles in 1964, at their bereft best : minor-key introspection gives way to regular traces of lightened-up steady, alone to regain the upper hand within bars. … For that rationality, encapsulated in the fact that it rides on a divinely simple verse/ chorus/ verse undertow, it may be the most beautiful song here. ” [ 24 ]

track listings [edit ]

MTV Unplugged version .

Australian CD, French CD, French CD distributed in Europe
  1. “About a Girl” (Cobain)
  2. “Something in the Way” (Cobain)
US promo CD
  1. “About a Girl” (Cobain)
Mexican promo split CD and Italian jukebox split 7-inch with Aerosmith[25]
  1. “About a Girl” (Cobain)
  2. “Blind Man” (Performed by Aerosmith)

Chart positions [edit ]

Certifications [edit ]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[58] Silver 200,000double-dagger
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certificate alone .

Accolades [edit ]

Year Publication Country Accolade Rank
1998 Kerrang! United Kingdom 20 Great Nirvana Songs Picked by the Stars[59] 8
2004 Q High Spirits: 10 Greatest Nirvana Songs Ever[17] 2
2011 NME Nirvana: Their 10 Best Tracks[60] 2
2019 The Guardian Nirvana’s 20 greatest songs – ranked![61] 8

other releases [edit ]

  • A demo version of “About a Girl,” featuring Cobain on vocals and electric guitar, appeared on the Nirvana box set, With the Lights Out, in November 2004. It was re-released on the compilation album, Sliver: The Best of the Box in November 2005. Featuring alternate lyrics, the demo was recorded at Cobain’s home in Olympia, Washington in 1988.
  • Footage of a full-band rehearsal demo appeared on the DVD of With the Lights Out, along with several other songs from the same session, filmed in December 1988 above a hair salon in Aberdeen, Washington owned by Krist’s mother, Maria Novoselic. Reviewing the box set in November 2004, Mark Richardson of Pitchfork wrote, “It’s a huge kick to see Cobain and Novoselic so young and goofy [at the session], hanging out with a few neighborhood dudes and jamming like any other local band … but then they bust out ‘About a Girl’ and we remember that this is not your everyday garage band.”[62]
  • A live version, recorded at the Pine Street Theatre in Portland, Oregon on February 9, 1990, appeared on the British 12-inch and CD versions of the “Sliver” single in 1991. The full concert was re-released on the 20th anniversary “Deluxe” edition of Bleach in November 2009.
  • A live version, recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington on October 31, 1991, appeared on the live video, Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!, in November 1994. The full concert was released on DVD and Blu-Ray as Live at the Paramount in September 2009.
  • A live version, recorded at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on November 25, 1991, appeared as bonus material on Live! Tonight!! Sold Out!! when it was released on DVD in November 2009. The full show was released on CD, vinyl and Blu-Ray in November 2021, on the 30th anniversary edition of Nevermind
  • A live version, from the band’s headlining appearance at the 1992 Reading Festival in Reading, England, appeared on Live at Reading, released on CD and DVD in November 2009.
  • A live version, recorded on December 13, 1993 at Pier 48 in Seattle, Washington for MTV, was released on the live video Live and Loud in September 2013.

Unreleased studio versions [edit ]

  • The versions of the song recorded for the BBC in London on October 26, 1989, and for VPRO in Hilversum on November 1, 1989, both remain unreleased.

In popular culture [edit ]

Personnel [edit ]

MTV Unplugged in New York

  • Kurt Cobain – vocals, guitar
  • Krist Novoselic – bass
  • Dave Grohl – drums, backing vocals
  • Pat Smear – guitar

References [edit ]

Notes [edit ]

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