What Makes This Song Great?™ Ep.90 Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
In this episode we continue to explore the Nirvana song that changed the direction of Rock music "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Kurt Cobain - lead vocals, lead guitar
Krist Novoselic - bass
Dave Grohl - drums, backing vocals

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  • Rick Beato
    Rick Beato

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  • Quizboy

    Rick, I LOVE that you remines and are as impacted as I was when I first heard Nirvana/ this song

  • Charles Austin
    Charles Austin

    Best song and track !! Great !! Outline !! ‘Love it all the more !!

  • Ivanslav1

    great video of a great song. I would hate to have been in Warrant at the time...(if you know the pun)

  • ScHott DeatH
    ScHott DeatH

    When I first heard the song I miss-heard "...a denial", as, love and die young...lol

  • DC 63
    DC 63

    My personal opinion, and I know it doesn’t matter, but nirvana is the worst band, to me, ever! Kirk Cobain was very overrated as a musician and a singer. I blame Kurt Cobain for Pearl Jam! Another band that makes my stomach churn. Courtney Love was awful was well.

  • maliheh moradi
    maliheh moradi

    love nirvana band .

  • maliheh moradi
    maliheh moradi

    please go vegan because it is healthier ,being carnivore will make you uglier than anything you are it affects the skin ,will make you older it affects the body ,will make you sick for example cancer ,it effects the body system ,body function ,body immune system ,it sometimes makes you die at the end when you get old and overdo eating it ,it is completely disgusting and unhealthy and insane . it is like you kill to be killed it is god s punishment for killing ,sacrificing ,torturing animals ,insects and any living creatures ,go educate yourself about veganism it saves animals and saves you and is completely healthy and delicious and thinkeable not only meat but also animal and insect products like eggs ,milk ,diery ,honey and so on because all animal and insect productions are produced with cruel way ,go educate yourself it is all in the internet ,i think it is a part of my duty to tell you because i am a vegan myself .

  • Daniel Persson
    Daniel Persson

    omg,this dude cant even play the intro in the correct tune

  • tes labor
    tes labor

    A lonely old man who wants to be a rocker again, don't cry 😆 😅 😂 🤣 By min. 20.50 he give it all.

  • Simon Coles
    Simon Coles

    Nirvana was the soundtrack for my time in High School... so much nostalgia

  • Dustin Wolf
    Dustin Wolf

    really loved this; i subscribed

  • Damian Saucedo
    Damian Saucedo

    Awww this didn't mention at the end Kurt actually blew out his voice.

  • liz zil
    liz zil

    Dave Gual said his beats on Nevermind came form Disco lol, the gap band, Cameo ... totally blew my mind when he said that.

  • Colin Maharaj
    Colin Maharaj

    20:40 A mosquito, my libido, mosquitoes mate about 20+ time a day LOL

  • polyeder2000

    You should make an instrumental piece from your fingerpicking 9:45

  • zappo00

    How do you get the stems?

  • Adriel Linhares
    Adriel Linhares

    The most interesting thing about Nirvana is that it sounds so beautiful and mysterious and charming... And you never had no idea why until you see this video. Thank you very much!

  • Romulo Santos
    Romulo Santos

    Great song and also great channel yours. Thank you my friend 😌

  • Liam paki
    Liam paki

    I can remember when I heard kurt cobain committed suicide i was devistated for 7 months

  • Mike Castor
    Mike Castor


  • Gee Cee
    Gee Cee

    Accounting class on a cassette walkman 😁 my intro to nirvana and a new direction in my music taste that's lastest 30 years ❤️

  • me stillme
    me stillme

    The do dang was a British police siren. An old punk thing.

    • me stillme
      me stillme

      I thought I was a Nirvana fan. But you take it to a next level.

    • me stillme
      me stillme

      You hear it in the chorus. It's reversed of course. He had fun.

  • Houtan S.A
    Houtan S.A

    I’m a little curious, how come you have the stems?! 😳

  • KAW vs. BAC 1994– xkg
    KAW vs. BAC 1994– xkg

    In a world of no talent musicians we want and need musicians like Rick beats! Thx 4 posting

  • tristan avakian
    tristan avakian

    With all of those elegiac 9ths and major 7ths… in a way, he was a spiritual heir of Jobim. Highly underrated as a melodicist. And the contrast between the beautiful melody and the acerbic, bleak, nihilistic but fun lyrics is, well, indelible. He cast a long shadow indeed. Often imitated but never equaled.

  • peekthekidd

    This videos awesome but you didn’t play it righr

  • ChrisTopher

    Wait what the hell was that album cover you put up on the screen? That wasn’t from never mind. I know there’s a lawsuit from that dumb kid but I have never seen this picture before

  • ryan bilunka
    ryan bilunka

    God damnit Kurt! Also... I don't know about this guy.

  • Mohit Dogra
    Mohit Dogra

    Such a brilliant brilliant analysis....

  • Jase Te Ace
    Jase Te Ace

    Imagine being Rick Beato. You wake up one morning, top of you game, know just what you are going to do that day. Hears Teen Spirit - Fuck, the music world just took a quantum leap.

  • Brian  Sands
    Brian Sands

    Give ut up for the Boss DF-2 Super Feedbacker and Distortion Pedal. A mighty piece of kit, right there.

  • J Mendola
    J Mendola

    Awesome episode ! One ?, why does your video intro on guitar not sound like the song ?

  • Gregory Mize
    Gregory Mize

    "Thats a very Dave Grohl thing to do"

  • Gregory Mize
    Gregory Mize

    ADA MP-1 preamp

  • Bloke

    The main thing the Seattle bands did was kill off the horrible 80s rock drum sound. The Use Your Illusion albums instantly sounded so dated, even though they were not too bad compared to something like, say, Def Leppard in the 80s.

  • Andy G
    Andy G

    Kurt's vocals soloed gave me goosebumps! Unreal

  • Fabrício Soundman
    Fabrício Soundman

    You can't play

  • homestead

    its grunge not rock rick >:(

  • Abel Joy
    Abel Joy

    OMG the way he explains is surreal🚀

  • Brendan Goosen
    Brendan Goosen

    Depeche Mode, Shake the Disease please :)

  • Brendan Goosen
    Brendan Goosen

    This is the last Nirvana song I ever thought you would choose. Your breakdown is amazing, you shifted me away from what I thought I was hearing and what is actually pure genius. The fine tuned ear of very capable song writer and guitarist. A few bands at the time tried to put out derivatives of this song, which just diluted it.

  • Jake Barrett
    Jake Barrett

    I love hearing the break-down of a song. Isolating the individual parts gives me goosebumps! Reinvigorated my love of such an iconic band.

  • Alberto Augusto Manzanilla Hernández
    Alberto Augusto Manzanilla Hernández

    never seen (and heard) such a thorough analysis of the song, Great!!!, I gained a new apreciation of an already great song!!

  • Fabiano Batista
    Fabiano Batista

    Congrats for this video! FB (South Brazil)

  • Omar Sowan
    Omar Sowan

    I really don't know what you're talking about Rick! This song really sucks. It is just a bad version of some rock sequence from the 70's. Very unoriginal ...

  • Jason Savorn
    Jason Savorn

    As a Christian man my whole life, this song evokes guttural urges to eviscerate my vocal chords with such vulgarity and testosterone; yet I still feel wholesome and Godly, as if the Holly Spirit inside is emoting right with me.

  • Brian Clarke
    Brian Clarke

    No other genre grabs my heart soul and mind like Grunge.

  • Bloody🩸Mary

    I dont know? I never really liked it. I do think that In Bloom is a really great song though

  • Robbie Lee
    Robbie Lee

    722 disco fans down voted this video.

  • FierceDeity33

    Intensity: Plague Worship or any other song off The Unconquerable Dark by Black Tongue. Alex Teyen is, in my opinion, the BEST metal vocalist currently active for this very specific style. I get chills when he starts belting vocals!

  • deansongs

    If you produced me, I think we would make the Great American novel.

  • Joe Blankenship
    Joe Blankenship

    This is one of those songs where I don't really ever need to hear it again. Overplayed to death.

  • Tom Perich
    Tom Perich

    In 1999 I was in a super cool breakbeats club in London, the producer of dj shadow’s latest album was DJing a set and played Sabotage by the beasties, the crowd went crazy, then He followed it up with smells like teen spirit. Everyone started moshing and going even crazier, I’ll never forget the dj jumping up and down banging his head and pumping his fist in the middle of the craziness that was going on. That is the power of smells like teen spirit. In the middle of a club where everyone was too cool for nirvana this song got everyone to bang their heads and go crazy. It’s a perfect rock song.

  • Paulo Nunes
    Paulo Nunes


  • Niroj Nakarmi
    Niroj Nakarmi

    He looks like Ross but 5 years older

  • Old Doc 44
    Old Doc 44

    And then there was Weird Al’s incredible video tribute. What a piece.

  • Rodrigo Monteiro
    Rodrigo Monteiro

    it's not the music that's great. At that time, rock bands were composed of virtuous musicians who played expensive instruments and full of effects and equipment. All very difficult to achieve for a teenager full of revolts against a sick society and with no money in his pocket. Kurt Cobain brought the possibility for the young man to unleash the inner demons with the guitar you have, with the amp you have and without much musical knowledge. That was what grunge was, that is, attitude! That's the principle of art. People identified and then this way of dressing and living became a fad. The music is good but what marked it was the attitude and what Kurt was bringing was so spiritual that he didn't last long in this material world.

  • Mike Bike
    Mike Bike

    I was 21 when this song first came out. It Instantly made everything else irrelevant. The lyrics were even published in our local newspaper - which really says something. 80s rock had run its course (warrant’s cherry pie and other such garbage were getting radio play) and the timing was perfect for a musical takeover.

  • Harvey Weinstein
    Harvey Weinstein

    Great analysis. I could never explain this stuff, but I understand most of what you're talking about and enjoy your take.

  • MPC13

    Rick. Deep dive Husked Du, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. Etc. way before Nirvana. You’ll know where they got their sound.

  • One Mind
    One Mind

    Wow, amazing 👍🏻

  • dada dada
    dada dada

    You overthink everything.

  • surf247365

    Such a great band to be in your late teens to be experiencing this kind of energy & genius!

  • Stephen Mandelbaum
    Stephen Mandelbaum

    Feedback is what got me into guitar.

  • Sharksmyth7

    The opening was off.

    • Dylan Kelly
      Dylan Kelly

      this. I don't know why nobody else is saying this, those were not the right chords

  • Legion Boi
    Legion Boi

    As soon as I clicked on this video this comment got into my mind, "what makes this song great, teens and Kurt Cobain" Yeah to be honest every song that

  • VTEC313

    Dave just recently admitted where the influence for that drumming came from in this song in particular. Give credit where credit is due. Shout out to Cameo & The Gap Band.

  • Wind Gorilla
    Wind Gorilla


  • Moìst Míke
    Moìst Míke

    If I were Krist Novoselic, I'd be a bit put off, as you hardly mentioned him in your vid.

  • foofooman80

    I Thought Lithium was as good if not better.

  • Hayley

    Amazing. Thank you for putting words to the feelings this song creates (in me, non-musician.) I didn’t know what I was responding to but I felt it on some level. Haunting.

  • Jonathan M.
    Jonathan M.

    Ah, Nirvana... The most overrated band of all time.

  • doagilmore

    august 23 2021 ,its 2 am and im watching 23 min video about a song from 1991 . 30 years... rest in peace kurt , we love you and your art

  • Thomas ZOBRIST
    Thomas ZOBRIST

    Music is an alive beast

  • Someone new
    Someone new

    Love your channel! Great reviews. Love the breakdown of all of these amazing songs. I really appreciate them even more and discover new sounds/effects I had not noticed before.

  • smahiz

    i did not know it was "a denial". . .

  • Andi Jibron
    Andi Jibron

    "Radically changed the course of music" you put it mildly. Hahaha. It blew away all glam rock spandex long hair-sprayed hair with make-up "rockers". Even made Metallica and Dream Theater cut their hair short burned their skinny leather pans. It was doomsday for glam rock

    • Andi Jibron
      Andi Jibron

      The studio recording too is heaven for vintage analog sound

  • Sofía Amador
    Sofía Amador

    te amo

  • The BodyChange
    The BodyChange

    Props also to Butch Vig on this album

  • Peter Ismyfirstname
    Peter Ismyfirstname

    "shake your butt" The Pixies, I hear the drums sound similar, after the drums in song on the Pixies Dolittle LP Frank Black says 'shake your butt' 3:33

    • Mel Rupinski
      Mel Rupinski

      Listen to the Pixies song “U-Mass” off Trompe Le Monde. It’s basically Smells Like Teen Spirit before Smells Like Teen Spirit. Even the repeated “a denial” part was a copy of the repeated “it’s educational” part in the Pixies song.

  • Peter Ismyfirstname
    Peter Ismyfirstname

    The cover looks like "Smells like cigarette smoke" making respectful fun-shine because I haven't watched it yet still watching the Pat Metheny interview. You and Brian Lamb of C-SPAN and have are thebest interviewers I can think of

  • evo lve
    evo lve

    “Here we are now. Entertain us.” One of the best sung lines in music history. Great break down Rick 💯

  • M

    rick youre a genius.

  • Natalie Zementbeisser
    Natalie Zementbeisser

    finally someone that acknowledges the genius of Kurt Cobain

    • B

      Lol What? People say he’s a genius all of the time

  • Bailey Moyer
    Bailey Moyer

    Does anyone know that grunge song he talked about at 19:40

  • Michael Kitterman
    Michael Kitterman

    Rick you make good songs great. Thank you.

  • Sheikh Johan
    Sheikh Johan

    Smells like teen spirit is tooo mainstream but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad song

  • Kenji Kitahara
    Kenji Kitahara

    I’d love to see a tutorial on the “In Bloom” solo. It’s one of my top 5 guitar solos

  • edward gorton
    edward gorton

    Nirvana blew our minds. You young folks are less fortunate for not being alive to experience the paradigm shift first hand. Everyone remembers the 1st time they saw this video. This and "My Name Is" by eminem.

  • jenilson ferraz
    jenilson ferraz

    Great video, Beato! 👏👏👏. What’s a Sus2 chord? Never heard about that before. 🤔

  • Ryan Ponder
    Ryan Ponder

    can you please do a video about lithium by nirvana it's my favorite of theirs

  • Amanda Bloom
    Amanda Bloom

    Love this video! My first album was nevermind. I got it as a Xmas present in 1993 (I was 12) really does feel like it was yesterday

  • Richard Moore
    Richard Moore

    Too bad no one can understand the words to the song. Otherwise, the melody and beat is terrific.

  • Chuckie Arla
    Chuckie Arla

    Please do one of these on sum 41

  • SakeSam

    I come back to watch this break down sometimes. It’s so good.

  • Kerry Kurschinsky
    Kerry Kurschinsky

    I think Curt very much knew what he was doing with this song,... the word's,.. rallying young men,.. much like himself,.... and the melodies,.. discribing feeling's within his inner most self,.. of something being beyond his reach,... (the cheerleader's),... and the failure of trying to meet their expectations,... from from young men,... who could never be as good as them,...... beautiful melodie's describing their inner most feeling's of loneliness,...... ever young teen has felt that,.... maybe this was Kurt,... when "he" was in high school,...... maybe........

  • Dan Beachy
    Dan Beachy

    I totally appreciate what Rick Beato does with his videos breaking down songs in regard to the musical theory behind them. I do believe there is value in this sort of thing. However, with Nirvana, and surely many of the other songs Rick has broken down, the greatness of the song comes from a gestalt rather than the sum of its musical parts. Perhaps I am wrong about that. However, if one listens to something like Nirvana for babies or any of those covers mentioned at the end of this video, there is something missing from them. IMO anyway. That said, these videos are very interesting, and well produced. Keep up the great work Mr. Beato.

  • farmeronthree

    12:29 this is what's wrong with today's music. The singer looks like they used 50% of their potential.

  • David K.
    David K.

    I would have added the Patti Smith cover near the end there.