Ranking Every Nirvana Song – Part Eight: “Mr Moustache” vs “Very Ape”

A truly rewarding thing about writing these blogs has been how often I’ve had friends tell me that they agree with my decisions. I have gotten fairly little shit about how I’ve ranked things. Most of the shit that I’ve gotten has been from one guy (who will remain nameless). He continues to give me shit about where “Swap Meet” landed. But for the most part, the response has been positive!

I do wonder if this will continue, though, as more tracks from In Utero turn up and I’m forced to go with my gut and rank them fairly highly. Consider this a spoiler, I guess: “Very Ape” will land higher than most of you want it to. Let’s be civil about it!

Mr Moustache

It’s funny how many tracks from Bleach I read the title for and think “oh, that’s a total album track, not a stand-out track”. “Mr Moustache” is a great example, but a really fun one. I haven’t listened to this song in a long time, but it is actually a blast!

The noodle-y riff is murder to learn, but once you learn how to play it, you never want to stop. The verses are cheeky and fun, with some really great lines peppered into it. The first “chorus section” is one of the poppiest/hookiest moments of any song on Bleach. Actually, every section of this song works. It’s all catchy as hell.

I don’t think that it’s the best song on Bleach, but it’s fun and accessible in a way that some of the other tracks are not. Bonus points for the hilarious high-pitched wail that serves and the exit point for this song’s vocal performance. Just tremendous.

Very Ape

I love “Very Ape”. If I’m being honest, this is one of the Nirvana songs that I still listen to pretty regularly, and it sounds a lot like something I would seek out to listen to from a newer act. I think that most people probably consider this an “album track” from In Utero, but… are there any “album tracks” on a perfect album? I dunno!

The song kicks off with one of the guitar intro into fake-out, off-kilter drum entrance, and it sounds cool to me every time I hear it. The main groove of the song has such a killer, sinister punk groove to it, punctuated by hits from that terrific lead guitar performance. The verses of “Very Ape” feature some of my all-time favourite Nirvana lines. The verses segue into a monster of a scary punk chord progression, with a growling vocal hook to match.

Best of all? This song gets all of this done in under two minutes! As someone who truly believe that a song can only get worse after it hits the two-minute mark, this track is a gift! No fucking around on that ending, either. Two hits and out. Perfect.

The Ranking

Before we move into this week’s ranking, I would first like to address something that I mentioned earlier. In order to give myself a bit of a break and maybe stop hearing about this as much, I am hereby swapping “Scoff” and “Swap Meet” on the ranking list. They are interchangeably good as far as I’m concerned, and doing this as a token of respect for “Swap Meet” may appease an unnamed individual and keep them from ever talking to me about “Swap Meet” again.

Now to the ranking. “Very Ape” is very obviously better than “Mr Moustache”. But “Mr Moustache” is pretty good! Better than I remember, even. I will slot it higher than the other mid-level Bleach entries, but below “Been A Son”. “Lake of Fire” versus “Mr Moustache” is a real apples and oranges choice, but I’ll give “Mr Moustache” the edge because there are other live covers coming that will probably beat them both.

Some people may balk at this, but I’m going to toss “Very Ape” above “Serve The Servants”. I think that there are good arguments to be heard around “Servants” besting “Very Ape”. But I’m doing my best to balance my personal tastes against what I think might be the best objective choice. If I had my way, I might even throw “Very Ape” ahead of “Scentless Apprentice”, but I’m pretty sure that I’m on a short list of people who feel this way. So, to compromise, we’ll put it down a couple of notches.

The updated ranking is:

  1. Scentless Apprentice
  2. Territorial Pissings
  3. Very Ape
  4. Serve The Servants
  5. Love Buzz
  6. Sliver
  7. Lounge Act
  8. Blew
  9. Been A Son
  10. Mr Moustache
  11. Lake of Fire
  12. Swap Meet
  13. Scoff
  14. Oh, The Guilt
  15. Pen Cap Chew
  16. Ain’t It A Shame

“Scentless Apprentice” is still the greatest Nirvana song of all time!

Live Clip of the Week!

Author: markmeeks

squid goals

3 thoughts

  1. I’m listening to a podcast that’s going through the “Hackers” soundtrack and I had absolutely forgotten that Prodigy’s “Voodoo People” pulled directly from Very Ape. It (ie, “Very Ape”) deserved its very high grade for giving us the one good Prodigy song.


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