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Music / Bleach

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"In my eyes, I'm not lazy/In my face, It's not over/In your room, I'm not older/In your eyes, I'm not worth it..."

Bleach is the debut studio album by Nirvana, released in 1989. It is their only album released under Sub Pop. It was recorded with No Budget higher than 600 dollars and didn't make much of an impact back then. That would change after the smash success of Nevermind in 1991. Bleach is the lone Nirvana studio album recorded with Chad Channing on drums, before he was replaced by Dave Grohl. However, he does appear on one song in Nevermind.

Bleach is best known for the fan favourites "About a Girl", "School" and "Negative Creep".

The album has nothing to do with the identically-named manga created by Tite Kubo or its associated works.


Tracklist (* = Not included on the original vinyl release):

  1. "Blew"
  2. "Floyd the Barber"
  3. "About a Girl"
  4. "School"
  5. "Love Buzz"
  6. "Paper Cuts"
  7. "Negative Creep"
  8. "Scoff"
  9. "Swap Meet"
  10. "Mr. Moustache"
  11. "Sifting"
  12. "Big Cheese" *
  13. "Downer" *

Bonus Tracks (Live in 1990 from the 20th Anniversary CD):

  1. "Intro"
  2. "School"
  3. "Floyd the Barber"
  4. "Dive"
  5. "Love Buzz"
  6. "Spank Thru"
  7. "Molly's Lips"
  8. "Sappy"
  9. "Scoff"
  10. "About a Girl"
  11. "Been a Son"
  12. "Blew"


Principal Members:

I need some easy tropes, I do think it would fit here too:

  • Accentuate the Negative: It's not a happy record, to say the least, but the bleakest and most disturbing song must be "Negative Creep", where Cobain screams top of his head off about what we assume to be some very young girl on drugs.
  • Anti-Love Song: "About a Girl".
    I'm standing in your line
    I do hope you have the time
    I do pick a number too
    I do keep a date with you
    I'll take advantage while
    You hang me out to dry
    But I can't see you every night
  • Boarding School of Horrors: "School"
    Won't you believe it is just my luck? NO RECESS!
  • Broken Record:
    • "School", in which Cobain just repeats the lines: "Won't you believe it is just my luck? No recess!!" over and over. These are the only lyrics apart from: "You're in high school again."
    • "Stain"'s entire lyrics.
    • "Negative Creep": "I'm a negative creep and I'm stoned. Daddy's little girl ain't a girl no more."
    • Near the end of "Blew", the phrase "You could do anything" is repeated eight times.
  • Circle of Shame: The topic of shame is prominent in "Blew" and "Floyd The Barber". In "Mr. Moustache" Cobain also sings: "Yes, I eat cow, I am not proud".
  • Come to Gawk: "Paper Cuts"
    And very later I have learned to accept some friends of ridicule
    My whole existence is for your amusement and that is why I'm here with you
  • Corrupt the Cutie:
    • "Floyd the Barber", in which the nice and friendly cast character from The Andy Griffith Show turns out to be a vicious murderer, along with Barney Fife, Aunt Bee and little Opie.
    • "Negative Creep" in which Cobain repeats the line "I'm a negative creep and I'm stoned. Daddy's little girl ain't a girl no more".
  • Cover Version: "Love Buzz", a cover of the 1969 hit by the Dutch rock band Shocking Blue, who are better known for the song "Venus".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death and Dangerously Close Shave: In "Floyd the Barber" the protagonist (identified as Kurt himself in the first verse) is put in the barber chair and cut to death.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The album cover is in black-and-white.
  • Face on the Cover: Subverted; the cover shows the band members performing, but their faces can't be seen because their long hairs cover them up.
  • Fade Out: "Negative Creep" is the only Nirvana song that fades out. The rest all suddenly end.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: "About a Girl"
    I do... think you fit this shoe.
  • Last Chorus Slow-Down: "Scoff" and "Swap Meet" both slow down near the end.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: "Paper Cuts", where the protagonist is trapped in some kind of darkened confinement where "food is pushed through the door".
    Black windows of paint
    I scratched with my nails
    I see others just like me
    Why do they not try to escape?
    They bring out the older ones
    They point in my way
    They come with a flash of light
    And take my family away
  • Metal Scream: Prominent in many of the lyrics.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: "About a Girl" is a 3. The rest of the album is 6-8, with "Negative Creep" possibly being a 9.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Though the word "bleach" would turn up in the song "Come As You Are" on their next album Nevermind.
    • Several of the song titles as well, including "Scoff", "Sifting", "Paper Cuts", and "Downer"
  • Obsession Song: "Love Buzz".
    Please don't deceive me when I hurt you
    Just ain't the way it seems
  • One-Man Song: "Mr. Moustache", "Floyd the Barber".
  • One-Woman Song: "About a Girl", which Cobain wrote about his then girlfriend.
  • One-Word Title: "Bleach", "Scoff", "Blew", "School", "Sifting", "Downer"
  • Paper Cutting: "Paper Cuts", though only in the title.
  • Potty Failure: From "Sifting".
    Wet your bed. Wouldn't it be fun?
  • Record Producer: Jack Endino.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • In "Floyd the Barber" a man is cut to death by a barber and Cobain identifies this person as himself in the very first line of the song. "Negative Creep" is sung from a first person perspective. And in "Blew" he lampshades all of this with the line:
      Here is another word that rhymes with "shame"
    • In 1993, before Nirvana played "About a Girl" as the first track on MTV Unplugged in New York, Kurt says this:
      Kurt: Good evening. This is off of our first record, most people don't own it.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Singer Name Drop: "Paper Cuts" drops the band's name six times in a row in the middle of the song.
  • Sludge Metal: Widely considered to be Nirvana's most "metallic" album due to their strong influence from The Melvins. At the time of this album's release, "grunge" and "sludge" were virtually indistinguishable and wouldn't fully diverge until grunge went mainstream on Nirvana's next album. Most evident on tracks like "Negative Creep," "Blew," and "School." "Negative Creep" also qualifies lyrically due to its nihilistic and aggressively dark lyrics.
  • Take That!: "Mr. Moustache", a criticism against machoism.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Downer", which is just Kurt mumbling nonsensical words at random. Many other lyrics are quite incomprehensible too.


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