Ranking Every Nirvana Song – Part Eighteen: “Marigold” vs “Aero Zeppelin”

I’m somewhat happy to have gotten the worst Nirvana song (maybe) out of the way in our last installment, but I’ve gotta tell ya… this post ain’t great!

Looking at the songs that remain in the pool, there are actually probably going to be a lot of posts like these. C-tier tracks from Incesticide going up against passable B-sides. It’s not the end of the world, and I’m way too deep into doing this now not to just see it all the way through.

So, let’s hold our noses and get through this together.


The only song ever released under the Nirvana banner to basically have nothing to do with Kurt Cobain, “Marigold” is… fine. A Dave Grohl tune, played and sung by Dave Grohl, with Krist on bass. It’s a fairly pleasant, but unremarkable tune. Not as good as the best Foo Fighters material (which was all released between 1995 and 1997), but actually way better than all of the other Foo Fighters material (anything not released between 1995 and 1997).

Listening now, for the first time in a long time (because I’m not a huge fan of the song), I’m actually surprised by how Elliott Smith-ish this song is. Not necessarily from a songwriting perspective, but from the way that they approached the performance. The hushed vocals don’t really sound like the material that Dave Grohl would record just a few years later, and they work fairly well on this song.

I guess I just feel that “Marigold” is an okay song, made noteworthy by the fact that it’s the only non-Kurt Nirvana song (or the first officially released Foo Fighters song, depending on how you want to look at it). It’s not really noteworthy because it’s especially exciting or that it sends chills up your spine or something. It would be kind of a slight entry on any album.

But it’s fine.

Aero Zeppelin

Let’s get this on the table: Incesticide is a fascinating collection with some absolutely amazing songs on it. It’s also a mess of an album with a lot of baffling curiosities cluttering it up. Even the worst of the tracks on Incesticide manage to be interesting on some level, but the majority of the songs featured in the collection aren’t the kinds of tunes that most folks are going to return to with any regularity.

“Aero Zeppelin” is not the worst song on Incesticide. But it is kind of a horseshit jumble of riffs that I almost never listen to. Given the fact that I almost never listen to it (like “Marigold”), listening to it now with undivided attention has me noticing and appreciating a few things about it that I maybe hadn’t appreciated in the past. It’s still, like, not great, though.

Some of the riffs on this track are undeniably sick as fuck. I’m actually way more into metal than I was as a young teen hearing this song, so I might like parts of it more now than I did back then. Surprised by a lot of the drumming and the fact that there are double-kick fills all over the place though out the song. Good job, Chad!

Is this… prog?

The part in the middle of the song where Kurt starts basically meowing and the bass starts taking a fancy walk can’t really be read in any other way but hilarious. I wonder if they knew that at the time?

Anyway… a couple more things for the “pro” column:

  • The recording sounds a lot better than I remember.
  • Some of the grindier riffs are truly spectacular and disgusting.
  • The whole creepy opening features a great vocal performance, and actually aside from the meowing, the vocals on the whole track are super solid.

But it’s really just riff salad, isn’t it? There’s no real authorial voice or intelligent songcraft here. Every young heavy band throws songs like this together. Just a bunch of riffs that they have, and they’re able to figure out ways to segue between them with varying degrees of success. This riff salad just tastes slightly better because it was prepared by one of the greatest rock songwriters of all time, is all.

It’s… just okay.

The Ranking

The ranking for these middling tunes is actually pretty difficult. I think that “Marigold” might be a bit better than “Aero Zeppelin”, if only because it’s comparatively tightly written. I would totally entertain arguments to the contrary, to be honest.

I’m going to stick “Marigold” in between “Mr Moustache” and “Paper Cuts”, because that seems… reasonable?

“Aero Zep” can sit on top of “Even In His Youth”.

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. Marigold
  26. Paper Cuts
  27. Lake of Fire
  28. Swap Meet
  29. Scoff
  30. Aero Zeppelin
  31. Even In His Youth
  32. Oh, The Guilt
  33. Pen Cap Chew
  34. Ain’t It A Shame
  35. Clean Up Before She Comes
  36. Beans

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

Live Clip of the Week!

This is unlistenable! Enjoy!

Author: markmeeks

squid goals

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