The Info List - Nevermind

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is the second studio album by American rock band Nirvana, released on September 24, 1991
by DGC Records. Produced by Butch Vig, Nevermind
was the band's first release on DGC. It was also their first album to feature drummer Dave Grohl. Despite low commercial expectations by the band and its record label, Nevermind
became a surprise success in late 1991, largely due to the popularity of its first single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". By January 1992, it had replaced Michael Jackson's album Dangerous at number one on the US Billboard 200
Billboard 200
chart. The album also produced three other successful singles: "Come as You Are", "Lithium", and "In Bloom". The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified the album Diamond (at least 10 million copies shipped), and the album has sold at least 30 million copies worldwide, with 10,640,000 of those copies sold in the United States. Nevermind
was in part responsible for bringing both alternative rock and grunge to a large, mainstream audience, and has been ranked highly on lists of the greatest albums of all time by publications such as Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
and Time magazines.


1 Background 2 Recording and production 3 Music

3.1 Lyrics

4 Title and artwork 5 Release

5.1 2011 Deluxe and Super Deluxe Editions

6 Critical reception 7 Legacy 8 Track listing 9 Personnel 10 Charts and certifications

10.1 Weekly charts 10.2 Certifications 10.3 Year-end charts 10.4 Decade-end charts 10.5 Singles charts 10.6 Other charted songs

11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 External links

Background[edit] Nirvana was a grunge rock band from Aberdeen, Washington, formed by Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
and Krist Novoselic
Krist Novoselic
in 1987, that had signed to Seattle independent record label Sub Pop. The band released their debut album Bleach in 1989, with Chad Channing on drums. However, Channing left Nirvana in 1990, and the band was in need of a permanent drummer. During a show by hardcore punk band Scream, the group's drummer, Dave Grohl, impressed Cobain and Novoselic. When Scream unexpectedly disbanded, Grohl contacted Novoselic, made his way to Seattle, and was soon invited to join the band. Novoselic said in retrospect that when Grohl joined the band, everything "fell into place".[2] Meanwhile, Cobain was writing a number of new songs. At the time Cobain was listening to bands like The Melvins, R.E.M., The Smithereens, and the Pixies. Feeling disillusioned by the heavy detuned rock popular in the Seattle
grunge scene upon which Sub Pop had built its image, Cobain—inspired by his contemporary listening habits—began writing songs that were more melodic. A key development was the single "Sliver", released on Sub Pop
Sub Pop
in 1990 (before Grohl joined the band), which Cobain said "was like a statement in a way. I had to write a pop song and release it on a single to prepare people for the next record. I wanted to write more songs like that."[3] Grohl said that the band at that point often made the analogy of likening their music to children's music, in that the band tried to make its songs as simple as possible.[2] By the start of the 1990s, Sub Pop
Sub Pop
was experiencing financial difficulties. With rumors that Sub Pop
Sub Pop
would sign up as a subsidiary of a major record label, the band decided to "cut out the middleman" and start to look for a major record label.[2] A number of labels courted the band, but Nirvana ultimately signed with Geffen Records imprint DGC Records
DGC Records
based upon repeated recommendations from Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
and their management company.[4] Recording and production[edit]

Nirvana enlisted producer Butch Vig
Butch Vig
at the suggestion of their former label Sub Pop.

In early 1990, Nirvana began planning its second album for Sub Pop, tentatively titled Sheep. For the album, Sub Pop
Sub Pop
head Bruce Pavitt suggested Butch Vig
Butch Vig
as a potential producer.[2] Nirvana particularly liked Vig's work with Killdozer and called Vig up to tell him, "We want to sound as heavy as that record."[5] The band traveled out to Vig's Smart Studios
Smart Studios
in Madison, Wisconsin, recording from April 2 to 6, 1990.[6] Most of the basic song arrangements were completed by that time, but Cobain was still working on lyrics and the band was unsure of which songs to record.[7] Ultimately, eight songs were recorded: "Immodium" (later renamed "Breed"), "Dive" (later released as the B-side to "Sliver"), "In Bloom", "Pay to Play" (eventually renamed "Stay Away" and given a new set of lyrics), "Sappy", "Lithium", "Here She Comes Now" (released on Velvet Underground Tribute Album: Heaven and Hell Volume 1), and "Polly".[8] On April 6, the band played a local show in Madison with fellow Seattle
band Tad.[9] Vig began to mix the recordings while the band hung out in Madison, giving an interview to Madison's community radio station WORT
on April 7.[10] Nirvana had planned to record more tracks, but Cobain had strained his voice, forcing Nirvana to shut down recording. On April 8 the group headed to Milwaukee
to kick off an extensive Midwest and East Coast tour of 24 shows in 39 days.[11] Vig was told that the group would come back to record more songs, but the producer did not hear anything for a while.[2] With the band parting ways with drummer Chad Channing after the tour, additional recording was put on hold. Instead, Nirvana used the sessions as a demo tape to shop for a new label. Within a few months, the tape was circulating amongst major labels, creating a buzz around the group.[12] After signing to DGC, a number of producers for the album were suggested, including Scott Litt, David Briggs, and Don Dixon, but Nirvana still wanted Butch Vig.[13] Novoselic noted in 2001 that the band was already nervous about recording on a major label, and the producers suggested by DGC wanted percentage points for working on the album. Instead, the band held out for Vig, with whom they felt comfortable collaborating.[14] Afforded a budget of $65,000, Nirvana recorded Nevermind
at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California
in May and June 1991.[15] Nirvana was originally set to record the album during March and April 1991, but the date kept getting pushed back in spite of the band's eagerness to begin the sessions. To earn gas money to get to Los Angeles, Nirvana played a show where they performed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the first time.[2] The band sent Vig some rehearsal tapes prior to the sessions that featured songs recorded previously at Smart Studios, along with some new ones including "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Come as You Are".[16] When the group arrived in California, Nirvana did a few days of pre-production where the band and Vig tightened up some of the song arrangements.[17] The only recording carried over from the Smart Studios sessions was the song "Polly", which included cymbal crashes performed by Chad Channing. Once recording commenced, the band worked eight to ten hours a day. The band members tended to take two or three tries at instrumental takes; if the takes were not satisfactory at that point, they would move on to something else.[18] The group had rehearsed the songs so much before recording started that often only a few takes were needed.[14] Cobain used a variety of guitars, from Stratocasters to Jaguars, and Novoselic used a black 1979 and natural 1976 Gibson Ripper. Novoselic and Grohl finished their bass and drum tracks in a matter of days, but Cobain had to work longer on guitar overdubs, singing, and particularly lyrics (which sometimes were finished mere minutes before recording).[19] Cobain's phrasing was so consistent on various takes that Vig would mix the takes together to create overdubs.[18] Vig says that he often had to trick Cobain into recording additional takes for overdubs since the singer was averse to performing multiple takes. In particular, Vig convinced Cobain to double-track his vocals on the song "In Bloom" by telling him "John Lennon did it."[2] While the sessions went well generally, Vig said Cobain would become moody and difficult at times: "He'd be great for an hour, and then he'd sit in a corner and say nothing for an hour."[5] After the recording sessions were completed, Vig and the band set out to mix the album. However, after a few days, both Vig and the band members realized that they were unhappy with how the mixes were turning out. As a result, they decided to call in someone else to oversee the mixing, with Geffen Records imprint DGC supplying a list of possible options. The list contained several familiar names, including Scott Litt
Scott Litt
(known for his work with R.E.M.) and Ed Stasium (known for his work with The Ramones
The Ramones
and The Smithereens). However, Cobain feared that bringing in known mixers would result in the album sounding like the work of those bands. Instead, Cobain chose Andy Wallace (who had co-produced Slayer's 1990 album Seasons in the Abyss) from the bottom of the list.[20] Novoselic recalled, "We said, 'right on,' because those Slayer
records were so heavy."[21] Wallace ran the songs through various special effects boxes and tweaked the drum sounds, completing about one mix per day.[22] Both Wallace and Vig noted years later that upon hearing Wallace's work the band loved the mixes.[23] After the album's release, however, members of Nirvana expressed dissatisfaction with the polished sound the mixer had given Nevermind. Cobain said in Come as You Are, "Looking back on the production of Nevermind, I'm embarrassed by it now. It's closer to a Mötley Crüe
Mötley Crüe
record than it is a punk rock record."[22] Nevermind
was mastered on the afternoon of August 2 at The Mastering Lab in Hollywood, California. Howie Weinberg started working alone when no one else showed up at the appointed time in the studio; by the time Nirvana, Andy Wallace, and Gary Gersh arrived, Weinberg had mastered most of the album.[24] One of the songs mastered at the session, a hidden track called "Endless, Nameless" intended to appear at the end of "Something in the Way", was accidentally left off initial pressings of the album. Weinberg recalled, "In the beginning, it was kind of a verbal thing to put that track at the end. Maybe I misconstrued their instructions, so you can call it my mistake if you want. Maybe I didn't write it down when Nirvana or the record company said to do it. So, when they pressed the first twenty thousand or so CDs, albums, and cassettes, it wasn't on there." When the band discovered the song's omission after listening to its copy of the album, Cobain called Weinberg and demanded he rectify the mistake.[25] Weinberg complied and added about ten minutes of silence between the end of "Something in the Way" and the start of the hidden track on future pressings of the album.[26] Music[edit]

"Come as You Are"

A sample of "Come as You Are", the second single from Nevermind. Guitarist Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
uses a chorus pedal when playing his guitar, creating a "watery" effect.


A sample of "Polly", which was inspired by a news article Cobain had read about the abduction, torture, and rape in June 1987 of a 14-year-old girl by Gerald Arthur Friend.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Cobain, Nirvana's main songwriter, fashioned chord sequences using primarily power chords and wrote songs that combined pop hooks with dissonant guitar riffs. His aim for Nevermind's material was to sound like " The Knack
The Knack
and the Bay City Rollers
Bay City Rollers
getting molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath".[27] Many of the songs on Nevermind
feature shifts in dynamics, where the band changes from quiet verses to loud choruses. Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl
said this approach originated during a four-month period prior to the recording of the album, where the band would experiment with extreme dynamics during regular jam sessions;[28] however; the Smart Studios
Smart Studios
recordings of songs such as "Lithium" and "In Bloom" show the band was writing songs in that style long before Grohl had joined the band. Guitar World
Guitar World
wrote, "Kurt Cobain's guitar sound on Nirvana's Nevermind set the tone for Nineties rock music." On Nevermind, Cobain played a 1960s Fender Mustang, a Fender Jaguar
Fender Jaguar
with DiMarzio pickups, and a few Fender Stratocasters with humbucker bridge pickups. The guitarist used distortion and chorus pedals as his main effects, the latter used to generate a "watery" sound on "Come as You Are" and the pre-choruses of "Smells Like Teen Spirit".[29] Krist Novoselic
Krist Novoselic
tuned down his bass guitar one and a half steps to D flat "to get this fat-ass sound."[14] Lyrics[edit] Grohl has said that Cobain told him, "Music comes first and lyrics come second," and Grohl believes that above all Cobain focused on the melodies of his songs.[2] Cobain was still working on the album's lyrics well into the recording of Nevermind. Additionally, Cobain's phrasing on the album is often difficult to understand. Vig asserted that clarity of Cobain's singing was not paramount. Vig said, "Even though you couldn't quite tell what he was singing about, you knew it was intense as hell."[2] Cobain would later complain when rock journalists attempted to decipher his singing and extract meaning from his lyrics, writing "Why in the hell do journalists insist on coming up with a second-rate Freudian evaluation of my lyrics, when 90 percent of the time they've transcribed them incorrectly?"[30] Charles R. Cross
Charles R. Cross
asserted in his 2001 biography of Cobain, Heavier Than Heaven, that many of the songs written for Nevermind
were about Cobain's dysfunctional relationship with Tobi Vail. After their relationship ended, Cobain began writing and painting violent scenes, many of which revealed a hatred for himself and others. Songs written during this period were less violent, but still reflected anger absent from Cobain's earlier songs. Cross wrote, "In the four months following their break-up, Kurt would write a half dozen of his most memorable songs, all of them about Tobi Vail." "Drain You" begins with the line, "One baby to another said 'I'm lucky to have met you,'" quoting what Vail had once told Cobain, and the line "It is now my duty to completely drain you" refers to the power Vail had over Cobain in their relationship. According to Novoselic, "'Lounge Act' is about Tobi," and the song contains the line "I'll arrest myself, I'll wear a shield," referring to Cobain having the K Records logo tattooed on his arm to impress Vail. Though "Lithium" had been written before Cobain knew Vail, the lyrics of the song were changed to reference her.[31] Cobain also said in an interview with Musician that "some of my very personal experiences, like breaking up with girlfriends and having bad relationships, feeling that death void that the person in the song is feeling–very lonely, sick."[32] Title and artwork[edit] The album's tentative title Sheep was something Cobain created as an inside joke directed towards the people he expected to buy the album. He wrote a fake advertisement for Sheep in his journal that read "Because you want to not; because everyone else is."[33] Novoselic said the inspiration for the title was the band's cynicism about the public's reaction to Operation Desert Storm.[14] As recording sessions for the album were completed, Cobain grew tired of the title and suggested to Novoselic that the new album be named Nevermind. Cobain liked the title because it was a metaphor for his attitude on life and because it was grammatically incorrect.[34] The Nevermind
album cover shows a naked baby boy, alone underwater with a US dollar bill on a fishhook just out of his reach. According to Cobain, he conceived of the idea while watching a television program on water births with Grohl. Cobain mentioned it to Geffen's art director Robert Fisher. Fisher found some stock footage of underwater births but they were too graphic for the record company. Furthermore, the stock house that controlled the photo of a swimming baby that they subsequently settled on wanted $7,500 a year for its use. Instead, Fisher sent a photographer, Kirk Weddle, to a pool for babies to take pictures. Five shots resulted and the band settled on the image of a four-month-old infant named Spencer Elden, the son of Weddle's friend.[35] However, there was some concern because Elden's penis was visible in the image. Geffen prepared an alternate cover without the penis, as they were afraid that it would offend people, but relented when Cobain made it clear that the only compromise he would accept was a sticker covering the penis that would say, "If you're offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile."[36] The back cover of the album features a photograph of a rubber monkey in front of a collage created by Cobain. The collage features photos of raw beef from a supermarket advertisement, images from Dante's Inferno, and pictures of diseased vaginas from Cobain's collection of medical photos. Cobain noted, "If you look real close, there is a picture of Kiss in the back standing on a slab of beef."[37] The album's liner notes contain no complete song lyrics; instead, the liner contains random song lyrics and unused lyrical fragments that Cobain arranged into a poem.[38] For the 10th, 17th and 25th anniversaries of the album, Spencer Elden recreated the front cover shot for photographers each time. He wanted to do the 25th anniversary shoot nude but the photographer preferred that he wore swim shorts.[39] In 2003 he also appeared on the cover of cEvin Key's album The Dragon Experience.[40] Release[edit] Nevermind
was released on September 24, 1991. American record stores received an initial shipment of 46,251 copies,[41] while 35,000 copies were shipped in the United Kingdom, where Bleach had been successful.[42] The lead single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had been released on September 10 with the intention of being a base-building cut among alternative rock fans, while the next single "Come as You Are" would be the song that would possibly garner more attention.[43] The band set out on a short American tour four days before the release date to support the album. Geffen Records hoped that Nevermind
would sell around 250,000 copies, which was the same level the record company had achieved with Sonic Youth's Geffen debut Goo.[44] The best estimate was that if all involved worked hard, the record could possibly be certified Gold by September 1992.[45] The album debuted on the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
at number 144.[46] Geffen shipped about half of the initial US pressing to the American Northwest, where it sold out quickly and was unavailable for days. Geffen reputedly put production of all other albums on hold in order to fulfill demand in the region.[47] Nevermind
was already selling well but, over the next few months, the momentum increased significantly as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" unexpectedly became more and more popular. The song's video had received a world premiere on MTV's late night alternative show 120 Minutes
120 Minutes
but it soon proved so popular that the channel began playing it during the day.[48] The record was soon certified Gold, but the band was relatively uninterested in the achievement. Novoselic recalled, "Yeah I was happy about it. It was pretty cool. It was kind of neat. But I don't give a shit about some kind of achievement like that. It's cool—I guess."[49] As the band set out for their European tour at the start of November 1991, Nevermind
entered the Billboard Top 40 for the first time at number 35. By this point, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had become a genuine hit and the album was selling so fast none of Geffen's marketing strategies aimed at different sales levels could be enacted. Geffen president Ed Rosenblatt told The New York Times, "We didn't do anything. It was just one of those 'Get out of the way and duck' records."[50] Nirvana found as they toured Europe during the end of 1991
that the shows were dangerously oversold, television crews became a constant presence onstage, and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was almost omnipresent on radio and music television.[51] Nevermind
became Nirvana's first number one album on January 11, 1992, replacing Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
at the top of the Billboard charts. By this time, Nevermind
was selling approximately 300,000 copies a week.[52] "Come as You Are" was finally released as the second single in March 1992, also becoming a hit; it peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart and at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
singles chart.[53] Two more singles, "Lithium" and "In Bloom", were released from the album, which peaked at number 11 and 28 on the UK Singles Chart respectively.[54] Nevermind
was certified Gold and Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in November 1991
and was certified Diamond in March 1999.[55] It was also certified Diamond in Canada (1,000,000 units sold) by the Canadian Recording Industry Association
Canadian Recording Industry Association
in March 2001[56] and five times Platinum in the United Kingdom.[57] In 1996, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs released Nevermind
on vinyl as part of its ANADISQ 200 series, and as a 24-carat gold Compact Disc. The CD pressings included "Endless, Nameless". The LP version quickly sold out its limited pressing but the CD edition stayed in print for years.[58] In 2009 Original Recordings Group released Nevermind
on limited edition 180g blue vinyl and regular 180g black vinyl mastered and cut by Bernie Grundman from the original analog tapes. It has been praised in reviews for sound quality.[59] 2011 Deluxe and Super Deluxe Editions[edit] In September 2011, in honor of the album's 20th anniversary, Universal Music Enterprises released a 2-CD Deluxe Edition and a 4-CD/1-DVD Super Deluxe Edition of Nevermind.[60] The first disc on both editions features the original album with studio and live b-sides. The second disc on both editions features early recordings of sessions that featured songs that would later appear on the album, including the Smart Studio sessions and some band rehearsals recorded with a boombox. The second disc is rounded out by two BBC
session recordings. The third disc, exclusive to the Super Deluxe Edition, features alternate mixes made by Butch Vig, dubbed the 'Devonshire Mixes', of all the songs on the album except "Polly" and "Endless, Nameless". The fourth and fifth discs on the Super Deluxe Editions are CD and DVD versions of Live at the Paramount. Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings

Review scores

Source Rating

AllMusic [61]

Blender [62]

Chicago Tribune [63]

Christgau's Consumer Guide A[64]

Entertainment Weekly A−[65]

Los Angeles Times [66]

NME 9/10[67]

Rolling Stone [68]

The Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Guide [69]

Select 4/5[70]

Geffen's press promotion for Nevermind
was lower than that typical of a major record label. The label's publicist primarily targeted music publications with long lead times for publication as well as magazines in the Seattle
area. The unexpectedly positive feedback from critics who had received the album convinced the label to consider increasing the album's original print run.[42] At first, Nevermind
did not receive many reviews, and many publications ignored the album. Months after its release and after "Smells Like Teen Spirit" garnered airplay, print media organizations were "scrambling" to cover the phenomenon the album had become. However, by that point, much of the attention fell on Cobain rather than the album itself. The reviews that did initially appear were largely positive.[71] Karen Schoemer of The New York Times
The New York Times
wrote, "With 'Nevermind,' Nirvana has certainly succeeded. There are enough intriguing textures, mood shifts, instrumental snippets and inventive word plays to provide for hours of entertainment." Schoemer concluded, "'Nevermind' is more sophisticated and carefully produced than anything peer bands like Dinosaur Jr.
Dinosaur Jr.
and Mudhoney have yet offered."[72] Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
gave Nevermind
an A– rating, and reviewer David Browne argued that on Nevermind, Nirvana "never entertain the notion" of wanting to sound "normal," compared to other contemporary alternative bands.[65] Concluding his very enthusiastic review for the British Melody Maker, Everett True
Everett True
wrote that "When Nirvana released Bleach all those years ago, the more sussed among us figured they had the potential to make an album that would blow every other contender away. My God have they proved us right."[73] Spin gave Nevermind
a favorable review stating that "you'll be humming all the songs for the rest of your life—or at least until your CD-tape-album wears out."[74] Select compared the band to Jane's Addiction, Sonic Youth, and the Pixies, stating that the album "proves that Nirvana truly belong in such high company."[70] Some of the reviews were not entirely positive. Rolling Stone originally gave the album three out of five stars.[75] Reviewer Ira Robbins wrote, "If Nirvana isn't onto anything altogether new, Nevermind
does possess the songs, character and confident spirit to be much more than a reformulation of college radio's high-octane hits."[68] The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
was less enthusiastic about the album; reviewer Steve Morse wrote, "Most of Nevermind
is packed with generic punk-pop that had been done by countless acts from Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop
to the Red Hot Chili Peppers," and added "the band has little or nothing to say, settling for moronic ramblings by singer-lyricist Cobain."[75] Nevermind
was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll; "Smells Like Teen Spirit" also topped the single of the year and video of the year polls.[76] Nevermind topped the poll by a large majority, and Village Voice critic Robert Christgau wrote in his companion piece to the poll, "As a modest pop surprise they might have scored a modest victory, like De La Soul
De La Soul
in 1990. Instead, their multi-platinum takeover constituted the first full-scale public validation of the Amerindie values—the noise, the toons, the 'tude—the radder half of the [Pazz & Jop poll] electorate came up on."[77] Legacy[edit]

Bassist Krist Novoselic
Krist Novoselic
at a Nevermind
20th anniversary show in 2011

not only popularized the Seattle
grunge movement but also brought alternative rock as a whole into the mainstream, establishing its commercial and cultural viability.[78] Nevermind's success surprised Nirvana's contemporaries, who felt dwarfed by its impact. Fugazi's Guy Picciotto
Guy Picciotto
later commented: "It was like our record could have been a hobo pissing in the forest for the amount of impact it had. [...] It felt like we were playing ukuleles all of a sudden because of the disparity of the impact of what they did".[79] Karen Schoemer of the New York Times added that "What's unusual about Nirvana's "Nevermind" is that it caters to neither a mainstream audience nor the indie rock fans who supported the group's debut album."[80] In 1992, Jon Pareles of The New York Times
The New York Times
described that in the aftermath of the album's breakthrough, "Suddenly, all bets are off. No one has the inside track on which of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ornery, obstreperous, unkempt bands might next appeal to the mall-walking millions". Record company executives offered large advances and record deals to bands, and previous strategies of building audiences for alternative rock bands had been replaced by the opportunity to achieve mainstream popularity quickly.[81] Michael Azerrad
Michael Azerrad
argued in his Nirvana biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana (1993) that Nevermind
marked an epochal generational shift in music similar to the rock-and-roll explosion in the 1950s and the end of the baby boomer generation's dominance of the musical landscape. Azerrad wrote, " Nevermind
came along at exactly the right time. This was music by, for, and about a whole new group of young people who had been overlooked, ignored, or condescended to."[82] In its citation placing it at number 17 in its 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
said, "No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation—a nation of teens suddenly turned punk—and such a catastrophic effect on its main creator."[83] Gary Gersh, who signed Nirvana to Geffen Records, added that "There is a pre-Nirvana and post-Nirvana record business...'Nevermind' showed that this wasn't some alternative thing happening off in a corner, and then back to reality. This is reality."[84] Nevermind
has continued to garner critical praise since its release. The album was listed at number 17 on Rolling Stone's list "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[83] Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
also rated Nevermind as the number one best album of the 1990s, calling it the "album that guaranteed the nineties would not suck."[85] Time placed Nevermind, which writer Josh Tyrangiel called "the finest album of the 90s", on its 2006 list of "The All-TIME 100 Albums".[86] Pitchfork named the album the sixth best of the decade, noting that "anyone who hates this record today is just trying to be cool, and needs to be trying harder."[87] In 2006, readers of Guitar World
Guitar World
ranked Nevermind
8th on a list of the 100 Greatest Guitar
Recordings.[88] Entertainment Weekly named it the 10th best album of all time on their 2013 list.[89] In 2005, the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
added Nevermind
to the National Recording Registry, which collects "culturally, historically or aesthetically important" sound recordings from the 20th century.[90] On the other hand, Nevermind
was voted the "Most Overrated Album
in the World" in a 2005 BBC
public poll.[91] Track listing[edit] All tracks written by Kurt Cobain, except where noted.

No. Title Length

1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (writers: Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic) 5:01

2. "In Bloom" 4:14

3. "Come as You Are" 3:39

4. "Breed" 3:03

5. "Lithium" 4:17

6. "Polly" 2:57

7. "Territorial Pissings" (writers: Cobain, Chet Powers) 2:22

8. "Drain You" 3:43

9. "Lounge Act" 2:36

10. "Stay Away" 3:32

11. "On a Plain" 3:16

12. "Something in the Way" 20:35


Later pressings include "Endless, Nameless", a hidden track which begins after 10 minutes of silence following "Something in the Way", making track 12's total length 20:35. The first disc of the deluxe edition was issued individually as a Target exclusive. The deluxe edition was later issued as a special limited 4-LP set.

20th-anniversary edition bonus tracks

Disc one

"Endless, Nameless" ( Hidden track on some pressings of Nevermind) – 6:44 "Even in His Youth" ("Smells Like Teen Spirit" B-side) – 3:03 "Aneurysm" (Cobain, Novoselic, Grohl) ("Smells Like Teen Spirit" B-side) – 4:46 "Curmudgeon" (Cobain, Novoselic, Grohl) ("Lithium" B-side) – 2:59 "D-7" (Greg Sage) ("Lithium" B-side) – 3:45 "Been a Son" (Live, "Lithium" B-side) – 2:31 "School" (Live, "Come as You Are" B-side) – 2:33 "Drain You" (Live, "Come as You Are" B-side) – 3:53 "Sliver" (Live, "In Bloom" B-side) – 2:04 "Polly" (Live, "In Bloom" B-side) – 2:47

Disc two – Smart Sessions, Boombox
Rehearsals, BBC

"In Bloom" (April 1990, Smart Studios) – 4:32 "Immodium (Breed)" (April 1990, Smart Studios) – 3:15 "Lithium" (April 1990, Smart Studios) – 4:31 "Polly" (April 1990, Smart Studios) – 2:59 "Pay to Play" (April 1990, Smart Studios) – 3:29 (Originally released on the DGC Rarities Vol. 1
DGC Rarities Vol. 1
compilation album in 1994, this song was recorded in 1990 and eventually evolved into "Stay Away" on Nevermind
in 1991
with new lyrics). "Here She Comes Now" (John Cale, Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker, Sterling Morrison) (April 1990, Smart Studios) – 5:01 (Originally released on the Heaven & Hell: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground compilation album in 1990). "Dive" (April 1990, Smart Studios) – 3:54 "Sappy" (April 1990, Smart Studios) – 3:57 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (March 1991, Tacoma rehearsal space) – 5:40 "Verse Chorus Verse" (March 1991, Tacoma rehearsal space) – 3:14 "Territorial Pissings" (March 1991, Tacoma rehearsal space) – 2:12 "Lounge Act" (March 1991, Tacoma rehearsal space) – 2:38 "Come as You Are" (March 1991, Tacoma rehearsal space) – 4:12 "Old Age" (March 1991, Tacoma rehearsal space) – 4:32 "Something in the Way" (March 1991, Tacoma rehearsal space) – 5:31 "On a Plain" (March 1991, Tacoma rehearsal space) – 3:21 "Drain You" (September 1991, BBC
Studios) – 4:04 "Something in the Way" (November 1991, BBC
Studios) – 3:23

Super Deluxe Edition bonuses

Disc three – Nevermind: The Devonshire Mixes

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" – 5:02 "In Bloom" – 4:16 "Come as You Are" – 3:40 "Breed" – 3:04 "Lithium" – 4:18 "Territorial Pissings" – 2:14 "Drain You" – 3:41 "Lounge Act" – 2:37 "Stay Away" – 3:27 "On a Plain" – 3:28 "Something in the Way" – 3:55

Disc four and DVD – Live at the Paramount

"Jesus Don't Want Me for a Sunbeam" (Eugene Kelly, Frances McKee) – 3:29 "Aneurysm" – 4:49 "Drain You" – 3:46 "School" – 2:51 "Floyd the Barber" – 2:27 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" – 4:45 "About a Girl" – 3:13 "Polly" – 3:03 "Breed" – 3:10 "Sliver" – 2:11 "Love Buzz" (Robbie van Leeuwen) – 3:34 "Lithium" – 4:38 "Been a Son" – 2:15 "Negative Creep" – 2:43 "On a Plain" – 3:04 "Blew" – 4:09 "Rape Me" – 2:59 "Territorial Pissings" – 2:55 "Endless, Nameless" – 6:25

DVD music videos

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" – 4:38 "Come as You Are" – 3:46 "Lithium" – 4:15 "In Bloom" – 4:59

Personnel[edit] Nirvana

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
(credited for the "Monkey Photo" as Kurdt Kobain) – vocals, guitar, photography Dave Grohl – drums, backing vocals Krist Novoselic
Krist Novoselic
(credited as Chris Novoselic) – bass guitar, vocals on the intro of "Territorial Pissings"

Additional musicians

Kirk Canning – cello on "Something in the Way" Chad Channing – cymbals on "Polly" (uncredited), drums on the "Smart Studio Sessions" (Deluxe Edition)

Technical staff and artwork

Craig Doubet – assistant engineering, mixing Spencer Elden – infant in cover photo Robert Fisher – artwork, art direction, design, cover design Michael Lavine – photography Bob Ludwig – mastering on 20th Anniversary Edition Jeff Sheehan – assistant engineer Butch Vig – co-producer, engineer Andy Wallace – mixing Kirk Weddle – cover photo Howie Weinberg – mastering

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Original release

Charts (1991-1992) Peak position

Australian Albums (ARIA)[92] 2

Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[93] 2

Canadian Albums (RPM)[94] 1

Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[95] 3

Finnish Albums (The Official Finnish Charts)[96] 1

French Albums (SNEP)[97] 1

German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[98] 3

Hungarian Albums (Mahasz)[99] 12

New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[100] 2

Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[101] 2

Spanish Albums (Spanish Albums Chart)[102] 2

Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[103] 1

Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[104] 2

UK Albums (OCC)[105] 7

US Billboard 200[106] 1

Charts (2015) Peak position

Polish Albums (ZPAV)[107] 11

20th Anniversary Edition

Chart (2011) Peak position

Belgian Albums ( Ultratop Wallonia)[108] 7

Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[109] 16

Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[110] 41

French Albums (SNEP)[111] 5

Italian Albums (FIMI)[112] 20

Japanese Albums (Oricon)[113] 26

Portuguese Albums (AFP)[114] 1

Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[115] 12

US Top Catalog Albums (Billboard)[116] 2


Region Certification Certified units/Sales

Argentina (CAPIF)[117] 3× Platinum 180,000^

Australia (ARIA)[118] 5× Platinum 350,000^

Austria (IFPI Austria)[119] Platinum 50,000*

Belgium (BEA)[120] 3× Platinum 150,000*

Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[121] Platinum 250,000*

Canada (Music Canada)[122] Diamond 1,000,000^

Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[123] 5× Platinum 100,000^

Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[124] Gold 46,830[125]

France (SNEP)[126] Diamond 1,690,000[127]

Germany (BVMI)[128] 2× Platinum 1,000,000^

Italy (FIMI)[129] 2× Platinum 200,000*

Japan (RIAJ)[130] 3× Platinum 600,000[131]

Mexico (AMPROFON)[132] 2× Gold 200,000^

New Zealand (RMNZ)[133] 7× Platinum 105,000^

Poland (ZPAV)[134] Platinum 100,000*

Sweden (GLF)[135] 2× Platinum 200,000^

Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[136] Platinum 50,000^

United Kingdom (BPI)[137] 5× Platinum 1,807,142[138]

United States (RIAA)[139] Diamond 10,640,000[140][141]

*sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1992) Position

Australian Albums (ARIA)[142] 17

Chart (1995) Position

Australian Albums (ARIA)[143] 35

Chart (1996) Position

Australian Albums (ARIA)[144] 49

Chart (2015) Position

Australian Albums (ARIA)[145] 98

Italian Albums (FIMI)[146] 98

UK Vinyl Albums (Official Charts Company)[147] 13

Chart (2016) Position

Italian Albums (FIMI)[148] 89

Polish Albums (ZPAV)[149] 96

UK Vinyl Albums (Official Charts Company)[150] 10

Chart (2017) Position

Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[151] 72

UK Vinyl Albums (Official Charts Company)[152] 15

US Billboard 200[153] 182

Decade-end charts[edit]

Chart (1990–1999) Position

U.S. Billboard 200[154] 32

Singles charts[edit]

Year Song Peak chart positions Certifications

US [155] US Main [156] US Mod [157] AUS [158] BEL [159] CAN [160] FIN [96] FR [161] IRE [162] ITA [163] NLD [164] NZ [165] SPN [166] SWE [167] UK [168]

1991 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" 6 7 1 5 1 9 8 1 15 3 3 1 1 3 7

US: Platinum (physical)[169] US: Gold (digital)[169] AUS: Gold[170] DEN: Platinum[171] IT: 2× Platinum[172] NZ: Gold[173] SWE: Gold[174] UK: Platinum[175]

1992 "Come as You Are" 32 3 3 25 15 27 8 12 7 8 16 3 16 24 9

IT: Platinum[172] UK: Gold[175]

"Lithium" 64 16 25 53 28 83 1 — 5 16 17 28 13 — 11

UK: Silver[175]

"In Bloom" — 5 — 73 — — 16 — 7 — 87 20 — 30 28

"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Song Peak positions

US Mod [176]

1992 "On a Plain" 25

See also[edit]

in music Classic Albums: Nirvana – Nevermind Nevermind
It's an Interview List of best-selling albums List of best-selling albums
List of best-selling albums
in the United States Off the Deep End


^ "This Day in Music Spotlight: Nirvana Begins Recording 'Nevermind'". .gibson.com. Retrieved 2014-04-05.  ^ a b c d e f g h i Classic Albums—Nirvana: Nevermind
[DVD]. Isis Productions, 2004. ^ Azerrad, 1993. p. 145 ^ Azerrad, 1993. p. 162 ^ a b Hoi, Tobias. "In Bloom." Guitar
World. October 2001. ^ Live Nirvana Session History. http://www.livenirvana.com/sessions/studio/april-1990.php ^ Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 29 ^ Azerrad, 1993. p. 137 ^ Club Underground Show Flyer Live Nirvana http://www.nirvanaguide.com/images/1990/040690.0001.jpg ^ WORT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3HPfBZcXX0 ^ Nirvana Guide http://www.nirvanaguide.com/1990.php ^ Azerrad, 1993. p. 138 ^ Azerrad, 1993. p. 164–65 ^ a b c d Cross, Charles R. "Requiem for a Dream". Guitar
World. October 2001. ^ Sandford 1995, p. 181 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 167 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 169 ^ a b Azerrad 1993, p. 174 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 176 ^ di Perna, Alan. " Grunge
Music: The Making of Nevermind". Guitar World. Fall 1996. ^ Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 96 ^ a b Azerrad 1993, p. 179–80 ^ Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 99 ^ Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 102 ^ Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 103 ^ Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 104 ^ Lewis, Luke. "Nirvana – Nevermind". Q: Nirvana and the Story of Grunge. December 2005. ^ di Perna, Alan. "Absolutely Foobulous!" Guitar
World. August 1997. ^ "Cobainspotting". Guitar
World. October 2001. ^ Cross 2001, p. 182 ^ Cross 2001, p. 168–69 ^ Morris, Chris. "The Year's Hottest Band Can't Stand Still." Musician, January 1992. ^ Cross 2001, p. 154 ^ Cross 2001, p. 189 ^ Bachor, Kenneth (September 23, 2016). "The Baby From Nirvana's Nevermind
Is 25 Now". Time. Archived from the original on October 4, 2017.  ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 180–81 ^ Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 108 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 209 ^ Romano, Nick (25 September 2016). "See the Nirvana Baby Recreate the 'Nevermind' Album
Cover 25 Years Later". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017.  ^ Smith, Kerry L. (August 19, 2003). "Nirvana Baby Resurfaces". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 6, 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2017.  ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 196 ^ a b Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 113 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 227 ^ Wice, Nathaniel. "How Nirvana Made It". Spin. April 1992. ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 193 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 198 ^ Berkenstadt; Cross, p. 119 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 199 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 202 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 228 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 203 ^ Azerrad 1993, p. 229 ^ Nirvana - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved on 14 July 2013. ^ "Nirvana - Artist Chart History". Official Chart Company. Retrieved on 14 July 2013. ^ RIAA Searchable Database Archived June 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.. RIAA.com. Retrieved on March 10, 2007. NB user needs to enter "Nirvana" in "Artist" and click "search". ^ Gold & Platinum – March 2001 Archived October 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.. CRIA.ca. March 2001. Retrieved on September 27, 2007. ^ Certified Award Search – Nirvana – Nevermind
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in the search field and then press Enter. ^ Harris, Bill (17 November 2006). "Queen rules – in album sales". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 23 October 2011.  ^ "American album certifications – Nirvana – Nevermind". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH ^ David, Barry (February 18, 2003). "Shania, Backstreet, Britney, Eminem And Janet Top All Time Sellers". Bertelsmann Music Group. New York: Music Industry News Network. Archived from the original on July 3, 2003. Retrieved May 11, 2017.  ^ Rutherford, Kevin (September 23, 2016). "Nirvana's 'Nevermind': 9 Chart Facts About the Iconic Album". Billboard. Retrieved May 11, 2017.  ^ " ARIA Charts
ARIA Charts
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ARIA Charts
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Peaks within the top 50: "australian-charts.com > Nirvana discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2015-09-30.  Peaks between 51-100 until December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 

^ Nirvana Belgiam Ultratop Charts. ultratop.be/nl. Retrieved on September 17, 2012. ^ "Nirvana Top Singles positions". RPM. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2010.  ^ "Search for: Nirvana". LesCharts.com. Retrieved 2007-08-22.  ^ "Search the Charts". IrishCharts.ie. Retrieved 2007-08-22.  ^

For "Smells Like Teen Spirit": Billboard magazine - 21 August 1992 - p. 659 - "Hits of the World" section under "Italy" americanradiohistory.com. Retrieved June 21, 2016. For "Come as You Are": Billboard magazine - May 30, 1992 - p. 42 - "Hits of the World Section" under "Italy" americanradiohistory.com. Retrieved July 3, 2016. For "Lithium": Salvatori, Dario. (1999). 40 anni di hit parade italiana: [le canzoni, gli interpreti, i record e le curiosità di tutte le classifiche dal 1957 a oggi]. Firenze: Tarab. ISBN 88-86675-55-0.

^ dutcharts.nl. "Dutch Chart Archives". Retrieved 18 June 2010.  ^ Nirvana - New Zealand Singles Chart Positions charts.org.nz. Retrieved December 16, 2014. ^

For "Smells Like Teen Spirit": Billboard magazine - 21 August 1992 - p. 59 - "Hits of the World" section under "Spain" americanradiohistory.com. Retrieved June 21, 2016. For "Come as You Are" and "Lithium": Salaverri, Fernando. Sólo éxitos, año an año, 1959-2002. Madrid: Fundación Author-SGAE, 2005. ISBN 84-8048-639-2, p. 602.

^ "Search for: Nirvana". SwedishCharts.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved 2007-08-22.  ^

For all: "Nirvana UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
Positions". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 

^ a b "Search Results". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2009-11-12.  ^ "The ARIA Chart – Best of 1992". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved September 23, 2016.  ^ Nirvana Smells Like teen Spirit - Denmark IFPI Certification - Track ^ a b Nirvana - Italian Certifications in 2018 fimi.it. Retrieved February 5, 2018. ^ The Official New Zealand Music Chart Top 40 - 24 May 1992 nztop40.co.nz. Retrieved 11 July 2016. ^ "Swedish single certifications – Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit" (in Swedish). Swedish Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on November 11, 2015. Retrieved July 11, 2016.  ^ a b c "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on February 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-04.  Note: User needs to enter "Nirvana" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Search" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history. ^ Nirvana - Alternative Songs (Previously Modern Rock) chart history (2nd page) billboard.com. Retrieved August 8, 2016.


Classic Albums—Nirvana: Nevermind
[DVD]. Isis Productions, 2004. Azerrad, Michael. Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday, 1993. ISBN 0-385-47199-8 Berkenstadt, Jim; Cross, Charles. Classic Rock Albums: Nevermind. Schirmer, 1998. ISBN 0-02-864775-0 Cross, Charles. Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain. Hyperion, 2001. ISBN 0-7868-8402-9 Sandford, Christopher. Kurt Cobain. Carroll & Graff, 1995. ISBN 0-7867-1369-0

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Nevermind

at YouTube
(streamed copy where licensed) Nevermind
at MusicBrainz
(list of releases)

v t e


Kurt Cobain Krist Novoselic Dave Grohl

Aaron Burckhard Chad Channing Dale Crover Jason Everman Dave Foster Dan Peters Pat Smear

Studio albums

Bleach Nevermind In Utero

Live albums

Unplugged in New York From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah Live at Reading

Compilation albums

Incesticide Nirvana Sliver: The Best of the Box Icon

Box sets

Singles With the Lights Out Nevermind: The Singles

Extended plays

Blew Hormoaning


"Love Buzz" "Sliver" "Smells Like Teen Spirit" "Come as You Are" "Lithium" "In Bloom" "Heart-Shaped Box" "All Apologies"/"Rape Me" "Pennyroyal Tea" "About a Girl" "You Know You're Right"

Promotional singles

"On a Plain" "All Apologies" (Unplugged) "The Man Who Sold the World" "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" "Lake of Fire" "Aneurysm" (live) "Drain You" (live)

Split singles

"Candy/Molly's Lips" "Here She Comes Now/Venus in Furs" "Puss/Oh, the Guilt"

Other songs

"Do Re Mi" "Dumb" "I Hate Myself and Want to Die" "Marigold" "Negative Creep" "Old Age" "Polly" "Sappy" "Something in the Way" "Spank Thru"


Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! MTV
Unplugged in New York Live at Reading Live at the Paramount Live and Loud



Discography (Bootlegs) Awards and nominations Songs Concerts "Smells Like Nirvana" Frances Bean Cobain Suicide of Kurt Cobain 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief Verse Chorus Verse


Dain Bramage Eyes Adrift Fecal Matter Flipper Foo Fighters Melvins The No WTO Combo Scream Sweet 75 Them Crooked Vultures Queens of the Stone Age


Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana Heavier Than Heaven Journals Letters to Kurt


It's an Interview The "Priest" They Called Him Smells Like Bleach: A Punk Tribute to Nirvana Newermind: A Tribute to Nirvana In Utero, in Tribute, in Entirety Whatever Nevermind Doused in Mud, Soaked in Bleach Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings

Films and documentaries

1991: The Year Punk Broke Teen Spirit: The Tribute to Kurt Cobain Hype! Kurt & Courtney Classic Albums: Nirvana – Nevermind Last Days Nirvana – A Classic Album
Under Review – In Utero Kurt Cobain: About a Son Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck Soaked in Bleach Autopsy: The Last Hours of...Kurt Cobain

Book Category

v t e

of the Year


1990 Happy Mondays - Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches 1991 Nirvana - Nevermind 1992 Sugar - Copper Blue 1993 Björk - Debut 1994 Oasis - Definitely Maybe 1995 Tricky - Maxinquaye 1996 Beck - Odelay 1997 Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space 1998 Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs 1999 The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin


2000 Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R 2001 The Strokes – Is This It 2002 Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head 2003 The White Stripes – Elephant 2004 Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand 2005 Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 2006 Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not 2007 Klaxons – Myths of the Near Future 2008 MGMT – Oracular Spectacular 2009 The Horrors – Primary Colours


2010 These New Puritans – Hidden 2011 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake 2012 Tame Impala – Lonerism 2013 Arctic Monkeys – AM 2014 St. Vincent – St. Vincent 2015 Grimes – Art Angels 2016 The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It 2017 Lorde&