Ranking Every Nirvana Song – Part Twenty-Six: “Oh, Me” vs “Milk It”

I had been hoping to get this series wrapped up within a year, but it’s looking like I’m not going to pull it off. If I were capable of devoting any steady time and attention to this blog and did the bare minimum of posting one of these every week, it would have been wrapped up months ago. But I guess the bare minimum is what I’m doing now, which is just posting whenever I feel the urge to do so. It’s a good thing that I’m my own boss, and I’m a boss allergic to success!

But really, what kind of success can a BLOG that isn’t just a bunch of Stranger Things listicles hope to achieve in this year of our lord 2022?

This is the worst post introduction yet. Here are two songs.

Oh, Me

In my post covering “Lake Of Fire”, I explained that the Unplugged in NY Meat Puppets covers will be counted, given the significance of that album. The other two covers are fair game, as are the David Bowie cover and the Vaselines cover.

The first thing that stands out to me about “Oh, Me” actually happens before the song begins, when Kurt announces that they’re going to play “Oh, Me”. He sounds absolutely delighted. He’s nerding out up there about playing with the Meat Puppets. I think that’s really nice.

The song itself is a really easy listen. I love the laid back vibe, and the way that the pleasantly smooth feel is occasionally disrupted by the tension of a few odd chord changes. To me, this is a rainy day listen, in the same way that early Leonard Cohen albums are rainy day listens. Songs for when you want your chillout music to contain just a hint of unease.

I’m not sure that any one section of this song transcends the rest. The chorus is perfectly hummable, and the verses are smooth and sweet. The band is full-on laid back, and this treatment of the song has the most “coffeehouse” feel of perhaps any song on the collection, to me.

It might be the least remarkable of the three Meat Puppets covers, but I would rank it somewhere extremely close to “Lake of Fire”. Exceedingly pleasant listen, but does not make a huge impact to me, personally.

Milk It

I have long grouped “Milk It” with “Scentless Apprentice” in my own brain when I think about In Utero songs, and I can’t be the only one. This is the other song that seemed “scary” when I was a teen. And hey – I like scary.

The noodling, meandering guitar of the intro sets the stage for this track really well. It announces to the listener that this is not going to be an easy and accessible time. Moments later, the serrated tone of that huge mosh riff kicks in and launches into what is arguably the heaviest song on the album. It’s either this, or “Scentless”. I dunno. Maybe this warrants starting a poll.

The verses in this song are pretty unsettling. The lyrics are cryptic and upsetting even by Nirvana standards and the performance is mumbled and garbled and unhinged, without a scrap of melody. Really, the only hint of melody in the song is buried in the roaring back half of the chorus, as Kurt screams “look on the bright side, suicide”. And even then, it’s just barely there.

The song is really comprised of just two parts: the lounge band from hell quiet sections and the hardcore raging choruses. Like “Scentless Apprentice”, this one can raise the hairs on the back of your neck, and like “Scentless Apprentice”, I feel as though the production on this track is purposefully a little muddier than other songs on the album. The choruses still sound huge and expansive, though, and I see this is as a totally essential piece on a totally essential album.

The Ranking

I think that it’s safe to rank “Oh, Me” down right beside “Lake of Fire”. Given how much I actually enjoy listening to those songs, it might make sense for them to be higher on the list. But I feel like the philosophy of the series so far has been to give studio versions of original tunes a bit more weight.

“Milk It” is actually a lot more difficult. I love it, and it’s one of Nirvana’s harshest rippers. For me, personally, though… I think that “Scentless Apprentice” hits just a tad harder. And if I’m being honest, I think that it might drop even a little lower than that. I do think that it is better than “Very Ape” by some amount, so I’m going to place it just above that song.

But, hey. You might disagree. I’ll make a poll and if you read this, you can have your say! It won’t change anything, but polls are fun. And actually it might change things. A gentle breeze has been enough to change my mind so far in this project.

The updated ranking is:

  1. In Bloom
  2. Heart-Shaped Box
  3. About A Girl
  4. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle
  5. Breed
  6. Scentless Apprentice
  7. Territorial Pissings
  8. Dive
  9. Sappy
  10. Dumb
  11. Milk It
  12. Very Ape
  13. Lithium
  14. Serve The Servants
  15. On A Plain
  16. Drain You
  17. Polly
  18. Lounge Act
  19. Stay Away
  20. Sliver
  21. Tourette’s
  22. Love Buzz
  23. Blew
  24. School
  25. Rape Me
  26. Been A Son
  27. Endless Nameless
  28. Son of a Gun
  29. I Hate Myself And Want To Die
  30. You Know You’re Right
  31. Curmudgeon
  32. Moist Vagina
  33. Stain
  34. Mr Moustache
  35. Big Cheese
  36. Marigold
  37. Paper Cuts
  38. Lake of Fire
  39. Oh, Me
  40. Swap Meet
  41. Downer
  42. Scoff
  43. Aero Zeppelin
  44. Even In His Youth
  45. Oh, The Guilt
  46. Blandest
  47. Pen Cap Chew
  48. Do You Love Me?
  49. Ain’t It A Shame
  50. Clean Up Before She Comes
  51. Help Me I’m Hungry
  52. Beans

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

Live Clip of the Week!

Author: markmeeks

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