Ranking Every Nirvana Song – Part Twenty-Eight: “Talk To Me” vs “Molly’s Lips”

Now we’re really making some progress. Less than 40 tracks left to go!

There could probably be even less if I were to tighten up my definition of which songs need to actually be ranked here. But I recently looked at the Rolling Stone ranking of Nirvana songs and they covered basically everything, and I feel like I have to do the same now. Sure, they tackled theirs with a team of multiple journalists (nine of them!), all of them probably writing this as an assignment for their actual day job, but I don’t see why my hobby blog should hold itself to a lower level of journalistic rigor.

Also, their ranking got it wrong all over the place. So the internet really deserves better, in my opinion.

This week’s post takes a look at a minor gem of a cover from Incesticide and a song that I truly debated disqualifying but have decided to include, because Rolling Stone did.

Let’s go!

Talk To Me

I was thinking about cutting “Talk To Me”, as there’s no studio recording of it. But it is an original song, and one that appears to have been completed to the point that it was played at several shows. I don’t think that I’ll be including live versions of covers (outside of those featured on the Unplugged album, as that is an official release). But original tunes are probably noteworthy enough to receive a mention.

“Talk To Me” could have been pretty interesting, had it ever seen a proper recording. It has a herky-jerky new wave feel that no other Nirvana song does, and sports a lighthearted bounce that probably would have served as a fan-welcomed change of direction for a band often dismissed as exceedingly dour.

The recording is not great, so it’s hard to really parse all of the parts with any confidence. It will be hard to rank this very highly, partially because of the recording quality and partially because even in hearing its potential, it seems like kind of a lark.

It’s possible that they were still working on it and that it would have greatly benefited from some studio polish. We’ll never know! As it stands, it’s kind of an interesting rarity for being such a stark departure in vibe from the majority of Nirvana rarities. The chorus could have been a pretty fun hook, with studio production and huge vocals.

But I have to be honest, I think that if I had chosen to not include this song in the series, that choice would have also been pretty reasonable.

Molly’s Lips

Another Vaselines cover included on Incesticide alongside “Son of a Gun”, “Molly’s Lips” is a very catchy and repetitive two-chord power pop zinger that lasts less than two minutes and maybe could have been even shorter.

If I’m having to choose a Nirvana/Vaselines cover to choose as my desert island Nivana/Vaselines cover, I’m probably picking “Son of a Gun”, but I’ll admit that it’s tight. I think that the parts in “Molly’s Lips” are great, with a brilliantly catchy use of a dead-simple chord progression and a terrific melody. But there are only two parts, and the lyrics are reused in every verse. It just kind of wears on a bit for me, which is nuts because it is very short.

But I do enjoy it, and I think that this is one of the absolute greatest Nirvana songs for fledgling musicians/Nirvana fans to tackle when learning their instruments. The performances are straightforward and the parts are simple.

That being the case, though, there isn’t much to make note of, other than the super super sweet harmony vocals in the chorus, which really elevate this track from a singsong pop tune to a sugary minor classic.

It’s pretty okay!

The Ranking

In its available form “Talk To Me” is much worse than “Molly’s Lips”. I think that I’ll slot it down above “Do You Love Me?”, but I wish that they had used the studio time that they had used to record “Do You Love Me?” to record a live studio version of “Talk To Me” instead.

“Molly’s Lips” is worse than “Son of a Gun”, but only by the narrowest of margins.

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. Molly’s Lips
  30. I Hate Myself And Want To Die
  31. You Know You’re Right
  32. Pennyroyal Tea
  33. Curmudgeon
  34. Moist Vagina
  35. Stain
  36. Mr Moustache
  37. Big Cheese
  38. Marigold
  39. Paper Cuts
  40. Lake of Fire
  41. Oh, Me
  42. Swap Meet
  43. Downer
  44. Scoff
  45. Aero Zeppelin
  46. Even In His Youth
  47. Oh, The Guilt
  48. Spank Thru
  49. Blandest
  50. Pen Cap Chew
  51. Talk To Me
  52. Do You Love Me?
  53. Ain’t It A Shame
  54. Clean Up Before She Comes
  55. Help Me I’m Hungry
  56. Beans

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

Live Clip of the Week!

Good vibe in this live version!

Author: markmeeks

squid goals

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