Most of Bleach, Nirvana‘s major label deflowering, dropped on this day in 1989, was crunchy grunge fodder dressed up that way because there was this movement called grunge, and Sub Pop put on the pressure to get three more angry white kids from the pacific northwest to ascribe to it.
Or at least that’s the dichotomy Kurt Cobain would forever detail post-release. That, combined with quotes from the 22-year-old artist about how he “didn’t give a flying fuck what the lyrics were about,” and thrasher, feedback rampant throat-squalls like “Negative Creep” and “Paper Cuts” put plenty of proof behind the sentiments.
All fine and well, really, as the subsequent critic write-off that the band were a mere played-out one-trick pony allowed the trio to incubate the landmark Nevermind two years later, forever praised as the stone in the proverbial grunge water, blending their secret love for pop with a few weapons from punk.
And if you listened intently enough to Bleach, there were a few cues that things would smell like teen spirit in the future. Notably, “About a Girl,” a frustrated jangly tune about Cobain’s first girlfriend, in stark sonic contrast to the rest of the record, that’s a perfect mirror into the grand relationship that the band would forever have with the world, Cobain yearning:
I need an easy friend
I do with an ear to lend
I do think you fit this shoe
I do but you have a clue
I’ll take advantage while
You hang me out to dry
But, I can’t see you every night