Ranking Every Nirvana Song – Part Twelve: “Son of a Gun” vs “Even In His Youth”

Our last post was a Nevermind showdown, and it was very fun and exciting.

They can’t all be winners, though. This post is decidedly less exciting. I don’t want to scare you away from reading it, because these songs are okay! But they are just okay.

“Son Of A Gun” is one of the two Vaselines covers found on the Incesticide collection. “Even In His Youth” was released in multiple versions on a some rare EPs and I believe one of the Nevermind singles. Two solidly middle-tier rarities, going head-to-head for mid-list supremacy.

Son Of A Gun

“Son Of A Gun” comes out of the gate and I already know that I’m going to rank it higher than “Even In His Youth”. Yes, it’s a cover, but the tune itself is major-key pop perfection, given a propulsive and peppy punk polish in this premium performance from our pals.

How did you guys like all those “P” words in there? Pow.

Anyway, this song is pretty great. I have always loved the feedback squeal that kicks things off, and the whole track has an unpretentious bounce to it that makes it easy to love. I’m not left with much to chew on after the track ends, but it’s quite enjoyable while listening to it.

I feel as though “Son Of A Gun” might be the lesser of the two Vaselines covers found on Incesticide, but it might be too close to call. I feel as though this song would have been a real treat to see live, especially as things ratchet up during the repetitive final chorus, which I’m not sure is perfectly captured by this in-studio recording.

Still pretty fun!

Even In His Youth

There are things to like about “Even In His Youth”… but I don’t really like “Even In His Youth”.

To me, this song is the Nirvana song that sounds the most like someone less talented than Kurt Cobain trying to write a song that sounds like Nirvana. The main riff is such a boilerplate young person “grunge/punk” riff. It sounds pretty uninspired… until you hear the chord progression in the chorus and feel even less inspired.

It just sounds to me like a song written in twenty minutes, lyrics and all. I’m actually a little confused by the fact that the band took more than one stab at recording this one. I’m not sure that one version is better than the other. I just randomly grabbed one of them to review. If you think that there’s a more worthy version, please let me know. But I doubt you’re right!

There are positives here, though. The drum performance and bass performance both feature some very nice, interesting flourishes. I actually kind of love the bass line played under the central riff. So there. You’ve got some great players performing on your lackluster track.

This all seems kind of harsh, but I feel as though this song has always had some kind of a mystique that I’ve never really understood. There are a pile of Nirvana rarities that are miles more compelling than this one.

The Ranking

I mentioned above that “Son Of A Gun” is better than “Even In His Youth” and I stand by that. I would much rather listen to any number of Nirvana’s recorded cover songs than “Even In His Youth”.

To find a place for these tunes in the main list, I think that “Son Of A Gun” is solid, but will rank below most of the songs on this list. I feel as though it may squeak in somewhere around the “Lake of Fire” cover, possibly just above it. Ah, hell. It’s probably better than “Mr Moustache”, and “Moist Vagina” is a niche fave of mine… but probably worse than “Son Of A Gun”.

“Even In His Youth” probably beats out “Oh, The Guilt” and “Pen Cap Chew”, but definitely lives in the same tier as those songs. It does not best the tracks from Bleach that we have reviewed so far.

The updated ranking is:

  1. Heart-Shaped Box
  2. Scentless Apprentice
  3. Territorial Pissings
  4. Very Ape
  5. Lithium
  6. Serve The Servants
  7. On A Plain
  8. Drain You
  9. Love Buzz
  10. Sliver
  11. Lounge Act
  12. Blew
  13. Been A Son
  14. Son of a Gun
  15. Moist Vagina
  16. Mr Moustache
  17. Lake of Fire
  18. Swap Meet
  19. Scoff
  20. Even In His Youth
  21. Oh, The Guilt
  22. Pen Cap Chew
  23. Ain’t It A Shame
  24. Clean Up Before She Comes

“Heart-Shaped Box” is still the greatest Nirvana song of all time!

Live Clip of the Week!

Author: markmeeks

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