Ranking Every Nirvana Song – Part Seventeen: “Beans” vs “School”

In our last entry, we saw some big moves by some heavy-hitting classic tunes. It seems somehow fitting to follow that up with a post that features what is probably the worst Nirvana song that qualifies to be covered in this series at all.

I debated not covering “Beans” at all, but given that it is: A) A song and not an improvised jam session that happened to be recorded, and B) On the wikipedia list of Nirvana songs, I have decided that I have to cover it. It makes my job fairly easy this time out, given that it’s up against one of the more iconic tracks off of Nirvana’s first album. “School” is a pretty fun tune!

But first…


Truthfully, I have no idea why “Beans” has appeared on so many Nirvana rarities compilations. This one was widely circulated back in the 90s alongside piles of other (comparatively great) rare tracks. It is baffling.

Anyway, this is just Kurt plunking around with an acoustic guitar and then playing with the tape speed to produce an effect akin to a horrible, warbling Chipmunks record. Apparently the band had wanted to include this song on Bleach, but luckily someone told them that this was a moronic idea.

One of the few Nirvana songs that I would be stoked to never hear again as long as I live, “Beans” sucks hard. It hurts the ears (in a bad way), and I’m not sure that there’s anything good to say about it, other than the fact that it’s only a minute and a half long.



When I first heard this song, I was still in a situation where I still had recess a couple of times a day. So this one connected with me in an altogether incorrect, but somehow extremely powerful way. It (and “About A Girl”) were my unquestioned favourites off of the Bleach album.

These days I have cooled on it, but I can’t deny that it’s still pretty fun. The chorus, with its “no recess” metal-wail hook, is still gleefully cheesy stuff. The guitar solo is pretty swell, maybe one of the best on the record. The song’s final verse, where the bass guitar carries the riff to support the repeated “You’re in high school again” vocal line as it grows in intensity… Well, I used to think that was one of the most badass and rockin’ parts of any song in history. Now I mostly think that it is very funny! But still super entertaining!

The song opens with some pretty ferocious swelling feedback, and launches into the world’s most economical and hooky guitar riff. This riff is on a list of about five riffs that I will near unconsciously start playing the second that I get my hands onto an electric guitar plugged into a distortion pedal. Because I can do whatever I want, I’m going to go ahead and list the other four:

  • “Walk” – Pantera
  • “Roots Bloody Roots” – Sepultura
  • “Thunderkiss 65” – White Zombie
  • “Dive” – Nirvana

These riffs all kind of share the feature of grooving around on only one or two notes, yet somehow containing MULTITUDES. So, I will wrap up talking about “School” and its riff by saying that being in a band with me is either really fun or really miserable, depending entirely on whether or not you like any of the five songs listed above. I’ll elaborate more on this when we cover “Dive”, which I must warn you is a song that I love dearly and might write too many words about.

The Ranking

As I mentioned, this one isn’t tough. “School” is better than “Beans”.

“Beans” also can roll on down to the bottom of the pile to be the new worst Nirvana song and it will probably stay there.

“School” is not as good as “Blew”, but it is probably at least as good as “Rape Me”, so I’ll put it in between those two.

The updated ranking is:

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

“In Bloom” is still the greatest Nirvana song of all time!

Live Clip of the Week!

Wowwwww, this live version smokes.

Author: markmeeks

squid goals

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