Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 183
Wed. July 31, 2013
“About A Girl”
I couldn’t believe my eyes as the girl behind the counter was actually wearing a Nirvana shirt. It’s a rarity these days, especially to see music fans under thirty sporting tees that honor Kurt and Nirvana. “Cool shirt” is what I told her. At least this fan was keeping the spirit of Cobain alive. Immediately I thought of Kurt’s song “About A Girl.” From 1989’s Bleach, Cobain’s ditty with pop overtones had obvious Beatlesque influences. Kurt talked about Bleach’s most famous love song when Cobain said, “Even to put “About a Girl” on Bleach was a risk. I was heavily into pop, I really liked R.E.M, and I was into all kinds of old ‘60s stuff. But there was a lot of pressure within that social scene, the underground — like the kind of thing you get in high school. And to put a jangly R.E.M. type of pop song on a grunge record, in that scene, was risky.”
Some critics argue that “About A Girl” foreshadowed the glossy production on 1991’s Nevermind. Although, Kurt regretted the traditional produced sound from Nirvana’s most successful album, Cobain revisited his love for “About A Girl” in the band’s very critically acclaimed performances, Nirvana’s 1993 appearance on M-TV Unplugged in New York.
You can hear the teenage angst through Cobain’s acoustic wails on the Unplugged version of “About A Girl.” One of the few early Nirvana tracks that the band stripped down for this historic performance proving Charles R. Cross’s theory about Kurt’s Bleach love song when he wrote in book Heavier Than Heaven: A biography of Kurt Cobain, ““About A Girl” was an important song in Kurt’s development as a writer—it was his first straight ahead love song, and if the lyrics are twisted, it was so unabashedly melodic that in Nirvana’s early live performances, audiences mistook it as a Beatles cover.”
Now you realize why the living members of Nirvana Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear decided to reunite and perform with former Fab Four bassist Paul McCartney, Kurt’s songwriting was so unique that Nirvana followers thought even back then circa 1989, Cobain was already being influenced by the greatness of The Beatles. Although, John Lennon was Kurt’s favorite Beatles, even Cobain would appreciate the fact that Macca played with his former mates.
Even from their days of Bleach, “About A Girl” proves that Nirvana is more than just poster children for the generation grunge. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” may have immortalized the barbaric yawp of Cobain but Kurt his first official love song, “About A Girl” was more than just howls and rock riffs. Even Nirvana’s acoustic performance showed that this Aberdeen, Washington band could pen on their best most memorable pop songs in the name of love. For the cashier behind the counter sporting her Nirvana t-shirt, keeping the legacy of Kurt Cobain alive, “About A Girl” is for you.