It has been 22 years since Nirvana released Smells Like Teen Spirit and it continues to be just as popular today as it was back then. The song ignited the grunge trend of the 90’s: loud guitars, angst-ridden lyrics and of course, flannel shirts. Kurt Cobain said he wrote the song because he was “disgusted with my generation’s apathy and with my own apathy and spinelessness”.
The name of the song came about thanks to Kathleen Hanna, member of Bikini Kill. Hanna wrote “Kurt smells like teen spirit” on the wall of Cobain’s bedroom while she was drunk. The graffiti was actually a reference to the Teen Spirit deodorant that his girlfriend at the time and also a member of Bikini Kill, Tobi Vail, used to wear.
Cobain said of the song at the time that he had tried to create the “ultimate pop song” and had wanted to sound like The Pixies. Thanks to its success and significance to 90’s pop culture, Smells Like Teen Spirit remains the most covered Nirvana song (and one of my favourite songs of all time).