Friday, November 19, 2004


The Dead Parrot Society unleashes a torrent of speculation and explanation by juxtaposing Boston's "More than a Feeling" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and wonders if the similarities mean anything. Listen to the mp3 and judge for yourself.

A self-proclaimed guitar expert puts the rest of us rabble in our proper place:
Wow, it's quite obvious none of you plays guitar. The only thing in common with those 2 riffs is the timing, and it's a very generic timing at that. The Boston is in a major key and the Nirvana is in the minor and the chord progressions are in fact completely different.

So there!

In the November 22, 2004 issue of The New Yorker (p40), Malcolm Gladwell observes the same thing in his article "Something Borrowed":

"'That sound you hear in Nirvana,' my friend said at one point, 'that soft and then loud, kind of exploding thing, a lot of that was inspired by the Pixies. Yet Kurt Cobain' - Nirvana's lead singer and songwriter - 'was a genius that he managed to make it his own. And 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'?' - here he was refering to perhaps the best-known Nirvana Song. 'That's Boston's More Than a Feeling.'' He began to hum the riff of the Boston hit, and said, 'The first time I heard 'Teen Spirit,' I said, 'That guitar lick is from "More Than a Feeling."' But it was differennt - it was urgent and brilliant and new.'"
Ahh!! I just scrolled up the page linked to, only to discover he too had read that same New Yorker article. My mistake, I should have scrolled up before commenting!
On one last related note, as a guitar player I noticed some time ago that the chorus to Puddle of Mudd's "She F*cking Hates Me" is also nearly identical to either Nirvana's lithium or Smells like Teen Spirit. Which of those two it is, I'm note sure (it has been an awfully long time since I've played the guitar).
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