Nirvana – Something In the Way | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review


On the 29th anniversary of the release of this classic track, we’re celebrating the life of Kurt Cobain and the band Nirvana. The song “Something In the Way” resurfaced in 2020 after being featured on the trailer for “The Batman” which will be released in 2021.

Nirvana’s “Something In the Way” was released on September 24, 1991, from their second studio album “Nevermind”. There are many interpretations of the song, ranging from Kurt Cobain’s actual experience himself to Kurt’s take on life. Either way, the song paints a very grim picture of life in general.

Nirvana singer and lead guitarist Kurt Cobain wrote this song, and because of this fact, the song’s strangeness is often compared to the life of Kurt Cobain himself. Cobain committed suicide in April 1994, after years of struggling with drug addiction and depression. This song, which talks about living “under a bridge” is yet another manifestation of Kurt’s life perspective.

It should also be noted that in Nirvana’s 1993 biography “Come As You Are”, Kurt Cobain explained his idea behind this song; “… Like I’m living under the bridge and dying of AIDS, if I’m sick and can’t move and I’m a street person. It was a bit of his fantasy.

Listen to “Something In the Way” by Nirvana

“Something In the Way” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review

Verse 1/2

There was a lot of lore behind Kurt Cobain actually living under a bridge when he was kicked out of his home by his parents at some point in his life. But that has since been debunked, and so it’s yet another glimpse into Kurt’s powerful imagination of the world around him in metaphorical form.

However, the song’s bridge may have been inspired by one of Kurt’s favorite fishing spots under the Young Street Bridge, near his childhood home in Aberdeen, Washington. In the “Come As You Are” biography, Kurt Cobain mentions that he enjoyed fishing the Wishkah River, over which the Young Street Bridge briefly flies over.

In the first verse of the song, Kurt Cobain draws a real image of being homeless. He lives under a bridge, and the faded tarp over his head isn’t doing its job perfectly now. He has tried to catch animals for food, but they all seem to avoid his traps, so he prefers to befriend them at this point. Cobain is content to eat grass on the ground and fish from the river because; “Because they don’t have any feelings. “

However, by digging deeper into these lyrics, we can understand that Kurt Cobain isn’t really talking about living under a bridge. If we take these lyrics in the context of Kurt’s life, the song takes on a whole new light.

Kurt Cobain fell victim to fame and the rock ‘n roll lifestyle. From the age of 13 he was exposed to drugs until the time of his death at the age of 27. The pressures of life reached him despite the massive success the group was able to achieve. The group’s success has contributed to the deterioration of Kurt Cobain’s physical and mental health. This is also evident in the story of their huge hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

In this context, Under a Bridge could be a metaphor for Kurt Cobain hiding from all of society, fame and fortune. He would likely find more genuine friends in isolation than millions of fans and “friends” all over the world. There is no pressure to produce hit records, smile at every random person in the street, be on your best paparazzi demeanor and push yourself to be someone they’re not every second. which passes under this bridge. Even the idea of ​​living under a bridge, disconnected from the outside world, must have been pleasant for Kurt Cobain.

Maybe this utopia is something Kurt Cobain wanted to cherish, even in the form of a song. In the recording of the song, Kurt Cobain settles in almost in a low voice, as if to cherish every word in his blissful escape from an imagination.

It’s good to eat fish
Because they have no feeling

Do animals feel pain? is a question that was raised from the earliest stages of humanity, when humans were descended from hunter-gatherer societies. Even if they feel pain or not, we should all think they do and act in a more humane way towards them. The mention of fish, in particular, in the lyrics can be seen as a correlation with Kurt Cobain’s astrological sign: Pisces. The zodiac sign of Pisces is represented by two fishes swimming in a circle. Through this is Kurt Cobain referring to himself? And through that benchmark, does he mention that the world assumes rockstars have no feelings and it’s okay to crush them whenever possible?


The song’s chorus is a repeat of the song title “Something On The Way” followed by a haunting buzz. The idea behind these lyrics could be that Kurt Cobain feels like there is always something between him and his destination.

Looking back, we could probably assume a dozen things Kurt Cobain wanted to accomplish in his life. Less stress, less anxiety, freedom, intimacy, self-esteem, having better relationships, etc. More success is probably not one of those goals for Cobain. So what was really in the way?

Many can argue that “something” was hampered by Kurt Cobain himself. In practice, there are very few instances where an external party could help someone overcome their mental difficulties. Medication can relieve pain, but only you can cure yourself. So, it makes sense if Kurt felt like he was the one standing in the way of his resurrection. But how can you help yourself if the problem was yourself from the start? There might be a way, but Kurt sure didn’t catch it in time.

Whatever Kurt Cobain meant through this song, it’s clear that part of Kurt’s life still resonates through those lyrics and that solemn voice.

Let us know what you think of this song in the comments below. Check out the full lyrics and breakdown of the senses on Genius.

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