[[quoteright:298:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nirvana.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[-[[FaceOfTheBand Kurt Cobain]], [[TheLancer Krist Novoselic]], and DaveGrohl.-] ]]
->''"It's better to burn out than to fade away."''
-->-- '''Kurt Cobain''', quoting Music/NeilYoung, in his suicide note

A rock band coming from Aberdeen, Washington -- not UsefulNotes/{{Seattle}}, as is commonly assumed, though Seattle is where they first hit it big -- up in the [[TheOtherRainforest Pacific Northwest]], Nirvana became the breakthrough in alternative rock with their smash hit album ''Nevermind'' in the early [[TheNineties 1990s]]. The trio of Music/KurtCobain (guitar, lead singer, lead songwriter), Krist Novoselic (bass) and Music/DaveGrohl (drums) would become the face of the {{grunge}} movement of the '90s; the group is most well known for the songs "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Come As You Are", "Heart Shaped Box", and "You Know You're Right". Nirvana was one of the first bands many members of Generation Y got into (despite the band being labeled a solely Generation X phenomenon), and thus, their music is often considered to be in the upper echelons of influential rock music. Even after [[AuthorExistenceFailure the death]] of Cobain, the band still continued to remain popular, releasing many compilation albums. After the group split up, drummer Dave Grohl formed the band known as the Music/FooFighters, who have gone on to be one of the most respected and successful alternative rock bands in history.
-----
* Albums released by Nirvana (official studio albums)
** ''Bleach'' (1989)
** ''Music/{{Nevermind}}'' (1991)
** '' In Utero'' (1993)

* There are also three official live albums:
** ''MTV Unplugged In New York'' (1994)
** ''From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah'' (1996)
** ''Live At Reading'' (2009)

* And there are also a few compilations:
** ''Incesticide'' (1992) - a compilation of the B-sides and rarities
** ''Singles'' (1995)
** ''[[SelfTitledAlbum Nirvana]]'' (2002) - a "one-CD history of the band"
** ''With the Lights Out'' (2004) - the massive box set
** ''Sliver: The Best of the Box'' (2005) - a condensed version of ''With the Lights Out''
** ''Icon'' (2010) - another GreatestHitsAlbum

-----
!!Nirvana provides examples of:

* AlbumTitleDrop:
** From "Smells Like Teen Spirit," the line "Oh well whatever ''Nevermind''."
** "Come as You Are," also on ''Nevermind'', actually has the title drop from their ''previous'' album, ''Bleach'':
---> "Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach. As I want you to be."
* AlternativeRock
* AmbiguouslyBi:
** [[WordOfGod Kurt]] said he was "gay in spirit" and "probably could be bisexual", and "If I wouldn't have found Courtney, I probably would have carried on with a bisexual lifestyle."
** He once had a homosexual male friend who tried to kiss him but Kurt backed away and told his friend he was not gay but would still be friends with him.
* AntiLoveSong: "About a Girl"
* AudienceParticipationSong: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m246v9Lclp8 As seen in this video,]] the audience would supply the shriek in "Milk It" if Kurt missed it.
* {{Bowdlerise}} The version of ''In Utero'' sold in UsefulNotes/{{Walmart}} changes the title of "Rape Me" to "Waif Me" and alters the artwork on the back. It's still the same inside, though.
* BreadEggsMilkSquick: The chorus for "In Bloom":
-->"He's the one\\
Who likes all the pretty songs\\
And he likes to sing along\\
And he likes to shoot his gun."
* BreakupBreakout: While Dave Grohl's next band Music/FooFighters is generally acknowledged not to have had as much cultural impact as Nirvana, for him personally, it was a breakout from being virtually anonymous as "just the drummer" in the background to the leader and FaceOfTheBand of one of the most popular, commercially successful and critically acclaimed rock bands of the late 90's and early 21st century.
** Live guitarist [[PunnyName Pat Smear]] got his BreakupBreakout in this band, (he was previously the guitarist of Music/TheGerms before their lead singer committed suicide via heroin overdose) until Cobain's death. Amazingly, he managed to get a ''second'' one when Dave Grohl brought him on to play with the Music/FooFighters, whom he still plays with to this day.
* BrokenRecord: A lot of songs feature repeating lyrics due to the band's focus on melody and energy over what was being sung.
** From "Sliver": ''"Grandma take me home, grandma take me home..."'' (It repeats this ''forty-nine times'' to depict an annoyed/annoying child.)
** From "Dumb", there's "''I think I'm Dumb''"
** From "Breed", its "''She said''"
** From "School", there's "''You're in high school again''"
*** That's '''all''' that "School" is. "''Wouldn't you believe it? It's just like my luck. Wouldn't you believe it? It's just like my luck. Wouldn't you believe it? It's just like my luck. Wouldn't you believe it? It's just like my luck. No recess! No recess! No recess!''"
*** You're in High School again...You're in High School again...You're in High School again...
** From "All Apologies", there's "''All in all is all we all are''"
** From "Smells Like Teen Spirit", there's "''A denial''" and "''Hello, hello, hello, how low?''"
** From "Aneurysm", there's "''Beat me outta me''"
** From "Rape Me", there's "''I'm not the only one''".
** From "Heart-Shaped Box", there's "''Your adviiice''"
** From "You Know You're Right", there's, well, "''[[TitleDrop You know you're right]]''"
** The whole of the lyrics of "Stain".
** From "Negative Creep", there's "''Daddy's little girl ain't a girl no more''"
* CelebrityIsOverrated: Kurt stated his daily life hadn't changed much with fame. Also, fame didn't help at all with mental issues.
* CensoredTitle: On some copies of ''In Utero'', "Rape Me" was titled "Waif Me".
* ConceptAlbum: While not an outright one, all the songs on ''Nevermind'' tend to follow the general themes of teenage sexuality, loneliness, the madness that results from rejection, or an obssesion over a girl
** Again while not an outright one, ''In Utero'' is mostly about Cobain's CreatorBreakdown and dealing with his new found fame.
* ContemptibleCover: ''Nevermind'''s classic "[[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b7/NirvanaNevermindalbumcover.jpg/200px-NirvanaNevermindalbumcover.jpg naked baby swimming after a dollar bill]]".
** [[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2042033/Baby-cover-Nirvanas-Nevermind-album-turns-20.html It made the news in 2011 when Spencer Elden ("the baby") turned 20 and spoke about his young brush with fame.]] He even posed for an updated underwater picture - wearing swimming trunks, though.
* {{Corpsing}}: You can hear Kurt struggling to avoid laughing right before "Milk It"'s final chorus.
* CoverVersion:
** ''Bleach'': "Love Buzz" by Shocking Blue.
** ''MTV Unplugged in New York'': "Jesus Don't Want Me for a Sunbeam" by the Vaselines; "Plateau", "Oh, Me", and "Lake of Fire" by Meat Puppets; "The Man Who Sold the World" by Music/DavidBowie; and "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" by Leadbelly.
** Besides the ones above, some others were recorded live (or as demos) and have surfaced on compilations, B-sides and [=EPs=] (mostly ''With the Lights Out'') -- "Heartbreaker" and "Moby Dick" by Music/LedZeppelin, "They Hung Him on a Cross", "Grey Goose" and "Ain't It a Shame" by Leadbelly, "Here She Comes Now" by The Music/VelvetUnderground, "D-7" and "Return of the Rat" by The Wipers, "Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks, "Do You Love Me?" by Music/{{KISS}}, "The Money Will Roll Right In" by Fang, and "The End" by Music/TheDoors.
* CymbalBangingMonkey: In the video for "Sliver".
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''In Utero'' compared to ''Nevermind''.
* DeadArtistsAreBetter
* DeadpanSnarker:
** Kurt has moments of this on ''MTV Unplugged in New York'', crossed with SelfDeprecation. For example: before playing "The Man Who Sold the World", he says ''I guarantee you I will screw this song up. And I know exactly which part'', to which someone in the background (probably Dave) snarks ''Yeah, like he only screws up one part.'' Then, at the end of the song, ''I didn't screw it up, did I? But here's another one I could screw up''.
** Also in the same album, before playing ''About A Girl'', he states "This is off our first record; most people don't own it."
** Even Krist has moments of this. When asked what is your favorite Nirvana song he replied something along the lines of Smells Like Teen Spirit, because "it bought my first house."
** When Krist spends a bit too much time addressing a Brazilian festival crowd, Kurt snarks both: "I think 'oh oh oh' means 'Shut up, Krist'"
* DownerEnding: Besides the band itself, both ''Nevermind'' and ''In Utero'' end with depressing songs.
* FilkSong: "Scentless Apprentice" was based on the novel ''Literature/{{Perfume}}''.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** "You can't fire me / 'cause I quit" ("Scentless Apprentice")
** "Married, buried" (from "All Apologies"- Kurt would be both shortly)
* FourMoreMeasures: "Sifting", "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Aneurysm"
** After the second chorus of "Lounge Act," there's a four-measure break from the vocals- probably so that Kurt could prepare for the [[MetalScream glorious final verse.]]
* GarageBand: They started out this way.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: At rehearsals for the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, Nirvana announced to the MTV executives that they were going to play their brand new song; it just so happened that the song was "Rape Me". MTV refused to let them play the song, even threatening to throw Nirvana off the show if they so much as even tried to play the song on the air. What did Nirvana do? They played "Lithium" -- [[WriterRevolt but not before Kurt played the opening riff of "Rape Me" at the start of their on-air performance.]]
* TheGirlWhoFitsThisSlipper: "About a Girl" includes the line, "I do... think you fit this shoe."
* {{Grunge}}: The poster boys of it, but are generally considered to have transcended the genre due to their widespread influence in other areas of music.
* HaveAGayOldTime: Surprisingly for an early 90's band, but it pops up in "All Apologies":
-->What else should I say?\\
Everyone is gay
** Though there are suggestions that Kurt ''meant'' to say the modern meaning of the word.
* HiddenTrack:
** On some copies of ''Nevermind'', "Endless, Nameless".
** "Verse Chorus Verse" was originally released as a hidden track on the benefit album ''No Alternative'' - Nirvana requested that the song go unlisted because they didn't want to overshadow the other artists on the album.
* IDontKnowMortalKombat: Krist [[http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2008/12/old_songs_on_a_new_screen.php fumbled]] when playing "In Bloom" on ''RockBand 2''.
* IndecipherableLyrics: "Tourette's". And don't bother looking at the lyric sheet on ''In Utero'' for help, it just says "Cufk, Tish, Sips".
** SomethingSomethingLeonardBernstein: Near the end you'll hear "cold heart!" after the incoherent babbling.
* IntentionallyAwkwardTitle: "Rape Me", "Moist Vagina" and arguably ''Incesticide''.
* InTheStyleOf:
** Cobain once stated that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was a deliberate attempt to write a [[Music/ThePixies Pixies]] song.
** "About a Girl" was his crack at an early era [[Music/TheBeatles Beatles]] tune, and more generally, he wanted ''In Utero'' to be his ''Sergeant Pepper's''.
* LoudnessWar:
** The remaster of ''Nevermind'' is completely ruined by this.
** As is the box set ''With The Lights Out''. Luckily, most of the songs had previously been bootlegged and so the bootlegged versions don't suffer from this issue.
* LongTitle: From ''In Utero'', "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle."
** "Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip"
* LyricalColdOpen: "Drain You", "Pennyroyal Tea", "Sappy"
* LyricalDissonance: "Sliver", "Polly", and arguably "You Know You're Right".
* MetalScream: The number of songs in which Cobain doesn't start yelling the lyrics (or [[CarefulWithThatAxe just screams]], such as "Love Buzz") is really small.
* MisaimedFandom: [[invoked]]
** The liner notes of ''Incesticide'' have Kurt complaining that "Polly" was sung by actual rapists.
** Likewise, "In Bloom" is about thugs who like Nirvana's music, but stand for everything Kurt hated. He also expressed a fear of the image of a yuppie singing along to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in his BMW.
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: Generally 5 to 7. Their softer songs, like "Something in the Way" and "Marigold", drop down to about 2 or 3, while "Endless, Nameless" is an 8, and might even go up to 9 if not for the quiet parts. A few ''In Utero'' songs ("Scentless Apprentice," "Tourette's," etc.) are also 8, as well a few songs from ''Bleach'' (most obviously "Negative Creep").
* {{Mondegreen}}: [[SamRaimi "RAIMI! RAIMI! RAIMI! RAIMI!"]] (from "Rape Me")
** "Lounge Act": Is it "'til it's fucking gone"... or "jealous fucking God"?
** Cobain had a habit of mushing his words together when he sang, lending himself easily to this trope. (It also inspired the Weird Al parody song "Smells Like Nirvana".)
** Kurt once said on the topic of journalists interpreting his lyrics: "Why the hell do journalists insist on coming up with a second-rate Freudian evaluation of my lyrics when 90% of the time they transcribe them incorrectly?"
*** Another reason why it's hard to nail down the lyrics to Nirvana songs is that they tended to change from performance to performance. Cobain himself would change the lyrics to songs after they had been recorded, most notably Smells Like Teen Spirit. "Our little group" was changed to "our little tribe". Nearly every live performance of the song reflects this change.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''MTV Unplugged in New York'' is perhaps the most obvious example for being acoustic. It was also Nirvana's first live album, and nearly half of the songs performed during the show were covers. Their three main studio albums also have distinct, albeit slightly more subtle, differences.
* NonAppearingTitle: Considering songs such as "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle", perfectly {{justifi|edTrope}}able. The songs "Lithium", "Territorial Pissings", and 'Lounge Act" are under this trope also. In fact, none of those titles even make sense with their song. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" does not appear in the Farmer Francis lyrics either.
** Interestingly, while "Verse, Chorus, Verse" does follow that format, the words themselves never appear in the song.
* PopCulturalOsmosis: Nirvana are ''much'' more popular and well-known than many bands who inspired them, e. g. Music/{{Melvins}}, Music/BlackFlag, Music/CelticFrost and Music/ThePixies.
* PrecisionFStrike: From "Lounge Act": " 'til it's '''fucking''' gone."
** "Aneurysm": One instance of "Come on over and shoot the shit".
* PunBasedTitle: ''Hormoaning'', ''Incesticide'', ''Anorexorcist''
** And carrying the joke from ''Incesticide'' even further, there's the compilation albums collectively called ''Outcesticide''.
* RapeAsDrama: "Polly". They later did "Rape Me", which according to Kurt is about "sort of [[LaserGuidedKarma poetic justice]], where a guy rapes a girl, ends up in jail, [[PrisonRape and gets raped there.]]"
* RecurringRiff: The "Smells Like Teen Spirit" riff re-appears throughout ''Nevermind'' as a RunningGag of sorts.
* RefugeInAudacity: Cobain screams "God is Gay" at the end of "Stay Away". [[TheUnintelligible They probably avoided controversy because nobody could understand what Cobain was screaming]] - in fact, the lyric is pretty easily misheard as "gotta stay".
* {{Retraux}}: For the "In Bloom" video, the band dressed up as a 1960s pop group. The video was shot with old Kinescope cameras.
* RevolvingDoorBand / ThePeteBest: They had five drummers before Dave - and also an extra guitarist, who even financed ''Bleach'' and appears on the cover but doesn't play there.
** Best candidate for the latter trope would be Chad Channing, who was the only other drummer to play on a Nirvana studio album.
* RockTrio: The best known lineup of Kurt, Krist and Dave.[[note]]Kurt intended the band to be a four-piece, though, thus [[Music/TheGerms Pat Smear]] joining as the fourth member near the band's end[[/note]]
* RockersSmashGuitars: Kurt loved doing this.
* SelfDeprecation:
** "I Hate Myself and Want to Die" was supposed to mock Nirvana's depressing image. It became [[HarsherInHindsight less funny]] after Kurt Cobain killed himself.
** "I have... very... bad posture..." ("Pennyroyal Tea")
* SeriousBusiness:
** Music/KurtCobain has been posthumously deemed a rock god: the house where he died in Seattle, as well as several other former residences throughout Washington, have come to be considered holy ground by his fans, and the main road leading into his hometown of Aberdeen bears a welcome sign reading "Come As You Are" (despite the fact Kurt ''hated'' the town).
** Strongly related is fan reaction to a move {{Activision}} made with ''GuitarHero 5'', where you could play as Cobain and have him sing ''any song in the game''. Not only did Courtney Love sue, and the surviving members of Nirvana declare they wouldn't work with Activision ever again, but the fans went ''nuts''. This was in spite of Activision having done this numerous times before to no complaint from artists and -- at best -- mild grudging from fans.
*** Love lost the lawsuit because she gave Activision the go-ahead in the first place by signing the contract stating that they could use his image for the game (meaning the lawsuit was a lost cause from the beginning).
** Kurt has also become canonized as a dour, tragic figure. He was, most of the time (especially when he wasn't smacked up on heroin), a smart, goofy music nerd with a wicked sense of humor.
* ShoutOut:
** The song "Scentless Apprentice" [[FilkSong is inspired by Patrick Süskind's novel]] ''Literature/{{Perfume}}''.
** Even Kurt's suicide note, as quoted above, was a shoutout to the godfather of grunge, Music/NeilYoung.
** In their cover of "Do You Love Me" by {{Music/Kiss}}, they replaced the lyric "And all the money, honey, that I make" with "And all the {{Music/Mudhoney}} that I make".
** "[[Music/{{Aerosmith}} Aero]] [[Music/LedZeppelin Zeppelin]]"
* SmokingIsCool
* SongStyleShift: "Aneurysm" goes from uptempo to a different slower groove, all before the first verse is even sung.
* SpringtimeForHitler: ''In Utero'' was Kurt's attempt to alienate their newfound fandom by making a noisy rock record. It became another big hit, instead.
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: DaveGrohl on the BSide "Marigold". In fact, Dave Grohl also played guitar and drums, with Krist Novoselic on bass and Kurt Cobain not appearing on the song at all.
* StylisticSuck: The crows in the video for "Heart-Shaped Box".
* ThisIsASong: "On A Plain". To wit: "I'll start this off, without any words... What the hell am I trying to say, It is now time, to make it unclear, to write off lines that don't make sense... One more special message to go..." And in between are a bunch of WordSaladLyrics.
* ThisLoserIsYou: "In Bloom"... or the chorus, at least.
-->He's the one who likes all our pretty songs, and he likes to sing along, and he likes to shoot his gun, but he... knows not what it means when I sing it.
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: Pretty much ran off this trope. Well, maybe it was more like Four Chords And The Truth. Or Four Chords And The Truth In Drop D Tuning. Anyway...
** Make that "four chords and [[WordSaladLyrics oxymorons/spoonerisms]]".
** Cobain himself said that all his songs follow the same format: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Solo, Bad Solo, Verse, Chorus
*** The title of "Verse Chorus Verse" lampshades this.
* TitleDrop: "Paper Cuts" drops the band name in the lyrics.
* TitleOnlyChorus: "Something In The Way", "You Know You're Right" (if you don't count the "heyyyyyy")
* TheUnintelligible: Music/KurtCobain allowed Music/WeirdAlYankovic to parody "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (as "Smells Like Nirvana") because it would be about the IndecipherableLyrics due to Kurt's singing.
* UnpluggedVersion:
** Nirvana's performance on ''MTV Unplugged'' contains several of these. The UnpluggedVersion of "All Apologies" was a hit single.
** ''Nevermind'' also has two unplugged songs, "Polly" (which, in an inversion, they also played electrically as "(New Wave) Polly") and "Something in the Way".
* WhamLine: Kurt Cobain shows off his talents as a lyricist with the first two lines of "Polly".
-->Polly wants a cracker\\
Think I should get off her first
* WordSaladLyrics: Kurt himself lampshaded this in "On a Plain", with the lines "What the hell am I trying to say?" and "It is now time to make it unclear / to write off lines that don't make sense". Then again, that is a song about writer's block...
----
-->''Oh well, whatever, nevermind.''