On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Nirvana – You Know You’re Right (2002)
” You Know You’re Right” is a song by the American rock band Nirvana, written by lead vocalist and guitarist, Kurt Cobain. It is the first song on the band’s self-titled greatest hits album and the last song the band recorded before Cobain’s death in April 1994.
We’re leaving Europe and making our way back to the US and to Aberdeen in Washington. Nirvana have appeared twice on our list with Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991) and All Apologies (1994). The death of lead singer, Kurt Cobain, in April 1994 led to the group’s demise but 8 years on we pick up the story once more. Surviving band members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl have been in a legal battle with Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, over the release of archive Nirvana material. Thankfully, differences were set aside and in 2002 a greatest hits compilation was released including a new song, You Know You’re Right.
Recorded in January 1994, You Know You’re Right was the last song that Nirvana worked on in the studio and for that reason alone it is a priceless gem. The lyrics have been interpreted by some fans as Cobain’s assessment of his relationship with Courtney Love and his desire for a divorce. The song also expresses the narrator’s desire to slip away which could mean to just go to another town but, again, there have been interpretations that Cobain was referring to something far darker here. The narrator in the song does seem eager to move away from someone but given the track was written in 1993 we can’t be certain that Cobain was referring to problems in his marriage and with his tragic death the answers will forever elude us.
I remember buying the CD of Nirvana’s greatest hits and knew all the tracks already except for You Know You’re Right. The song is dark and gritty, harking back to the group’s early material on 1989’s Bleach but even those tracks didn’t go as deep as this song does. Whatever the meaning behind the lyrics, You Know You’re Right is Nirvana’s final legacy, a timely reminder of what might have been had the group continued and all we can do now is to treasure what we have and be grateful for this amazing band whose brief time in the limelight sealed their place in music history forever.
Favourite songs so far: