Ranking Every Nirvana Song – Part Fifteen: “Curmudgeon” vs “Rape Me”

Writing these preambles is becoming more and more difficult.

It seems like a lot of these posts break this way. A very well-known song features against a song that is fairly obscure.

That’s… about all of the colour commentary that I’m able to muster. It’s been a long week already and the week is only half over.

Let’s go ahead and get Nirvana-ing.


Out of all of the riffs that sound like they belong on a Metz record, this might be the Metz-y-est riff of all. The main riff in this tune is so Metz-like, it’s almost crazy.

This has actually long been one of my favourite Nirvana “rare” tracks. The riff rules. There’s a very aggressive phaser effect washing over wide sections of the song. The vocal take is one of the most unhinged I’ve heard, but (I think) manages to be way more fun than it is grating. The rhythm section’s got it on lock.

I love the jerky feel of the verses and the balls-out rock attack of the chorus sections. The guitar solo is a meandering mess and it inspires joy in me.

I love that the lyrics are very dumb and weird (“In the handle, on my mantle, I love Santa, I met God”).

I dunno, man. Solid tune of this variety, if this variety is your kind of thing. And it’s my kind of thing! Fuck it, this is the new best Nirvana song.

Rape Me

This is a big one!

I think that this song is very important, even if I don’t really think that it is very great.

When I was a kid, this was definitely one of those songs that you got a giddy thrill out of listening to. Like… this was a naughty song to be listening to. Clearly, as an adult I’m able to interface with the more complex themes at play here lyrically. But as a kid, this was a song where you would turn the volume down when your parents were home because you didn’t want your dubbed cassette copy of In Utero to get taken away.

The song is… fine. It’s maybe my least favourite song on In Utero? Which doesn’t really mean that I don’t like it. I think In Utero is essentially a perfect album. It’s more just… not as impactful to me now as most of the other songs.

I think the song’s hard lock into a loud-quiet-loud format was at least in part a statement and that should be taken into account, but the songwriting here isn’t the most inspired. The moments when the vocal lines take a walk (“do it and do it again”), or when the bass takes a walk deserve a mention, because they are tasty as can be. And the bridge section actually pulls the song together for me, because this song’s entire bridge is just brilliant.

Overall, though, I can kind of take it or leave it.

I would never skip this song if I were listening to In Utero in sequence, but I might skip this song if it came on shuffle. Does that make sense?

The Ranking

I was bluffing about “Curmudgeon”, guys. It’s not the new best Nirvana song. It might be better than “Rape Me”? But taking context and everything into it, I think that “Rape Me” will actually rank higher.

On a list of songs that I would listen to pretty regularly in my car, though? “Curmudgeon” all day over “Rape Me”.

“Curmudgeon” is better than “Moist Vagina”. That seems like a good place for it.

I think that “Rape Me” should maybe slide just above the song that for some reason has unconsciously become the “dividing line of great songs to good songs” for me. Which means I’ll plop it on top of “Been A Son”.

The updated ranking is:

  1. Heart-Shaped Box
  2. Scentless Apprentice
  3. Territorial Pissings
  4. Sappy
  5. Very Ape
  6. Lithium
  7. Serve The Servants
  8. On A Plain
  9. Drain You
  10. Polly
  11. Love Buzz
  12. Sliver
  13. Lounge Act
  14. Blew
  15. Rape Me
  16. Been A Son
  17. Endless Nameless
  18. Son of a Gun
  19. Curmudgeon
  20. Moist Vagina
  21. Mr Moustache
  22. Paper Cuts
  23. Lake of Fire
  24. Swap Meet
  25. Scoff
  26. Even In His Youth
  27. Oh, The Guilt
  28. Pen Cap Chew
  29. Ain’t It A Shame
  30. 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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