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Smells Like Teen Spirit

written by Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)

Lyrics by Tori Amos

load up on guns
and bring your friends
it's fun to lose
and to pretend
she's over bored
and self assured
oh no, I know
a dirty word

hello, hello, hello, hello
hello, hello...

I'm worse at what
I do best
and for this gift
I feel blessed
our little group
has always been
and always will be
until the end

hello, hello, hello, hello
hello, hello...

with the lights out
it's less dangerous
here we are now
entertain us
I feel stupid
and contagious
here we are now
entertain us, yes

hello, hello...

with the lights out
it's less dangerous
here we are now
entertain us
i feel stupid
and contagious
here we are now
entertain us, yes
a mulatto
an albino
a mosquito
my libido
a denial
a denial
a denial
a denial, yes
a denial


Tori Quotes

When I heard that song for the first time, I was very moved by it. The idea that boys also knew this kind of pain. Like a sort of homage, I recorded a version of that song as well. [Oor - January 29, 1994]

When I heard Nirvana's piece, I had never heard of the band before. I was in Sweden in the outback freezing my ass off in the fall. I wasn't keeping up on stuff and I saw their band on MTV up there, and immediately I was going, "I've got to write this down." That melody was just something that said, "Take me to the piano." [unknown source]

I was in Sweden the first time I heard that song. It had just been released in the States. And I was hanging out in my room watching, I don't know, one of those MTV things where they do noisy things. And I like noisy, just sometimes noisy doesn't always mean hardcore. So, I was watching this noisy thing, and I was kind of laughing. All of a sudden, this thing comes on, and I stopped laughing. And I just sat there with my jaw on the floor. And the piano kind of whispered to me from the bathroom, going, "We have to do this." Because, you know, sometimes the piano will just look at me and give me messages, going, "Can we stop this minuet stuff and can I get off?" So that's what she said to me, and we did it. [Star Profile interview CD - 1997]

I was in Sweden watching the video for "Teen Spirit," and it was just breaking, on the cusp, and I felt the piano sort of trip me as I was taking off my makeup. You know, she whistles at me sometimes and just says, "We have to approach this differently." And it's not because the original artist doesn't honor the song, it's just because they've done it so well you think there's a different approach and the song can hold it. And sometimes there are songs that I just won't approach because I don't have any perspective on it. [MusiquePlus - October 13, 1999]

I did a tribute to Kurt Cobain with "Teen Spirit" and "American Pie" this night in Dublin because "American Pie" is what I heard over and over in my head the night he killed himself. I played it to 2,500 kids. It started like a whisper and then, in perfect pitch, in perfect rhythm, very softly, they all sang "American Pie" with me. None of us in the crew had ever experienced anything like it... I just felt like I knew him. I miss him as a musician. It's just painful when you see someone who had so much to give -- especially musically -- gone. We've lost quite a significant voice for this generation. [Illinois Entertainer - August 1994]

I was playing a festival in Germany a few years ago right after I had done the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" cover. This is one of those festivals where the people drink gallons of German beer three days straight. I played on the second day and they were already gone. Many boys proceeded to yell, "Schnell, you fucking slut," as I was playing my piano. I turned to them and said, "Look, you motherfuckers, synchronize your watches because I'm here until the big hand gets on the 12. So unless you blow me off the stage with a rifle, suffer." And I did the longest version of "Teen Spirit" anyone's ever done, like 22 minutes, and walked off the stage, pride intact, graciously ass-saved. [Spin - March 1995]

In Dublin, two days after the Nirvana front man's 1994 suicide, her live version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was a choker.

I was just ready to start the chorus, and all of a sudden, in perfect pitch and very quietly, as only the Irish can do, [the audience] started singing it like a hymn. It was like they were sending his spirit off. It was an honor to play his music that night. [Blender - November 2002]


Tori Amos on "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
April 2014 - RTL (France)



"Smells Like Teen Spirit"
April 20, 1992 - New York, New York - ABC In Concert




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