Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Advertisements
Angol

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Load up on guns
and bring your friends
It's fun to lose and to pretend
She's over bored and self-assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word
 
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello
 
With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulato!
An albino!
A mosquito!
My libido!
Yeah!
 
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift, I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end
 
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello
 
With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulato!
An albino!
A mosquito!
My libido!
Yeah!
 
(Solo)
 
And I forget just why I taste -
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard, it's hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind
 
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, how low, how low?
Hello, hello, hello
 
With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulato!
An albino!
A mosquito!
My libido!
 
A denial! (x9)
 
Kűldve: Guest Szombat, 22/05/2010 - 00:20
Last edited by sandring on Péntek, 08/09/2017 - 05:09
Köszönetthanked 2 times

 

Advertisements
Videó
Translations of "Smells Like Teen ..."
Please help to translate "Smells Like Teen ..."
Hozzászólások
GabriHylian    Szerda, 03/06/2015 - 06:59

This part is wrong: "overboard self assured >>> overbored, self assured" Can any editor fix it? Thanks.

Fary    Szerda, 03/06/2015 - 23:22

Do you mean it should be "She's over-bored and self-assured"? That seemed to be in many other versions of these lyrics, but of course there are always other ones where the line is slightly different.

Guest    Szerda, 03/06/2015 - 15:05

Would it be possible to know why the current version is wrong?
Anyone?

GabriHylian    Csütörtök, 04/06/2015 - 06:09

probono - I've been a fan of Nirvana's work for over 18 years now, what I can say is that I've researched a lot about them, their history, lyrics/song meanings and read many articles/biographies/books about them and I even wrote a couple of college articles/works about Kurt and his life/career - he's voice and lyrics are hard to understand, that's for sure, but this song, and that part specifically, is about his ex-gf Tobi Vail, who was always extremely bored but also a self-assured person - I'm 100% sure he says "over-bored/over bored/overbored and self-assured (urban dictionary states overbored as slang, and I guess it's minimal but I forgot the hyphen unintentionally though) I'm not going to emphasize my knowledge of Nirvana further here because is not like I have a degree on it, it's just a (favorite) band I've really dedicated quite some time learning about, but if there's one place in the internet where you can find the right lyrics is this site here: http://www.nirvanaclub.com/ It's one of the oldest (if not the oldest) site dedicated to Nirvana, and these guys really have a passion for the band and only publish confirmed content. "Lyrics for all the songs on their officially released albums are available... This section does not offer lyrics for covers performed live, except if the song appears on an official release" Check Lyrics > Nevermind > Smells - that's the version from Nevermind - Later Kurt would sing "tribe" instead of "group" and occasionally changed the lyrics at will in concerts, but this is the one from the album and the right one to be here. =]

Guest    Csütörtök, 04/06/2015 - 08:19

This comment has been deleted.

GabriHylian    Csütörtök, 04/06/2015 - 10:20

Indeed it was shallow - I thought to myself "Such a famous and rather old song and no one here saw that?" I didn't realize there were many people understanding "overboard" and I just thought it was a simple error - my bad.

However, you asked why, for your information, the site DIDN'T come to mind at first, I was thinking about other sources (e.g DVD footage with subtitles), that's why, and just started telling my personal history as I'm sure it could be taken in consideration - It matters to me, it's absolutely IRRELEVANT if it doesn't for you, and I think you are being offensive towards me, since the other thread, where I listed 5 personal opinions, and all you did was complaining about one that you thought I was being bossy (to hell the other four), when I clearly wasn't. There are better way of pointing things: "Hey fella, that way you're sounding like you're giving an order, is that your intention?" "Hey my question was simple, no need for the big text buddy! I'd like to know the reason behind your request - the link was enough, thanks :)" and I would still realize my errors and refrain from repeating them. If that's how your attitude is towards people here, I'd rather (and gladly) not participate in any discussion/thread in the future if you are in. Best regards.

magicmulder    Péntek, 30/06/2017 - 10:43

I'd be interested in your opinion on "I know a dirty word". It seems pretty random here (since everybody knows many dirty words), unless it's understood as "I know, (that's) a dirty word", either referring to "overbored" or "self-assured". I.e. in the sense of "I know I'm not supposed to use that word as people will get upset". I've always understood it that way.

Fary    Szerda, 03/06/2015 - 17:49

I corrected that one line. Is there anything else that's wrong?

GabriHylian    Csütörtök, 04/06/2015 - 06:07

Thank you very much! Well, I think it's all right now, but we can always check! http://www.nirvanaclub.com/ (Lyrics > Nevermind > Smells)

Again, thank you! =]

Fary    Csütörtök, 04/06/2015 - 11:07

No problem! I didn't notice any other bigger differences, unless I missed something, but hopefully it's correct now.

Guest    Csütörtök, 04/06/2015 - 12:31

Thanks Fary for your help.

Fetida603    Szombat, 07/01/2017 - 16:00

This song's also performed by One OK Rock

Sophia_    Szombat, 07/01/2017 - 16:26

Да эту песню кто только не перепевал, одна из самых известных.
Я добавила One OK Rock, спасибо за инфо.

Fetida603    Szombat, 07/01/2017 - 17:55

Это конечно хд Просто очень нравится их кавер
Отлично, не за что с:

Sophia_    Csütörtök, 26/01/2017 - 17:49

By the way, I like this perfomance

magicmulder    Szombat, 25/08/2018 - 07:18

Note to translators:
While the song is certainly subject to a lot of subjective interpretation, I would like to clarify two lines that are, IMHO of course, usually misunderstood. Feel free to agree or not. Wink smile

1. "Oh yeah, I know, a dirty word" - the source here omits the second comma which creates a misunderstanding. He doesn't want us to know that he knows a dirty word (we all know many, don't we?) but he acknowledges that one of the things he said (maybe "over-bored/overboard" or "self-assured") is considered a "dirty word" in the minds of square people. So this line would mean "I know, I'm not supposed to say that out loud".

2. "Here we are now, entertain us" - a typical misunderstanding is to take most common meaning of "to entertain" and think this line means "Here we are now, do something interesting for us, make us happy". However, "to entertain" can also mean "to listen to" / "to ponder if something may be true" ("I'm not in the mood to entertain your lies"). So this line would mean "Here we are now, now listen to what we have to say".

GabriHylian    Hétfő, 27/08/2018 - 03:26

Hey there Magic, how are you? I haven't logged in here for a while (adult life is stressful lol), so sorry for the late response, I will respond to this comment and that other comment that I suppose you were asking for my opinion:

"I'd be interested in your opinion on "I know a dirty word". It seems pretty random here (since everybody knows many dirty words), unless it's understood as "I know, (that's) a dirty word", either referring to "overbored" or "self-assured". I.e. in the sense of "I know I'm not supposed to use that word as people will get upset". I've always understood it that way."

I understand the confusion, since the whole song is pretty random, I will try to clarify, so when he says "I know a dirty word" he says like a kid would say: "Oh, I discovered some dirty word, that adults don't like to hear me saying!". It's definitely not referring to any other word in the song - she's "overbored" just means "extremely bored", and "self-assured" just refers to a girl, that is, Toby Vail, Cobain's former girlfriend, who's "too assured of herself" - her mind was always made up about subjects. So they're not dirty words, not at all! Also, there's no comma being ommited whatsoever..

"Here we are now, do something interesting for us, make us happy" - This is precisely what the line means! This was something that Kurt would tell people when he was invited to their houses, being sarcastic like that to break the ice, letting the host know he was a down-to-earth, no-bullshit guy.

So yeah.. I'm disagreeing in both instances, again, very late, sorry! hehe. Hope you adjust your translation accordingly. BTW I'm working on my essay on Kurt Cobain's life and battle against chronic depression and drug addiction, your question made me realise once again that Kurt's lyrics are so, so very different from modern/traditional music writing and basically any other musician's way of writing lyrics, they're so sarcastic and metaphoric, that it is really necessary some research to fully understand it. In comparison, most songs are just to straightforward and mundane: "I love you but you cheated on me now I hate you, baby!" This always fascinates me, I wish there were more lyricists like that.

magicmulder    Hétfő, 27/08/2018 - 07:51

Thank you for your feedback. Regular smile

GabriHylian wrote:

so when he says "I know a dirty word" he says like a kid would say: "Oh, I discovered some dirty word, that adults don't like to hear me saying!".

But does it make sense? (I know, not a lot in the song makes sense.) It's such a completely random and content-free statement, just like "Oh, I know a good coffee shop". I find that hard to believe, especially in context.

GabriHylian wrote:

"self-assured" just refers to a girl, that is, Toby Vail, Cobain's former girlfriend, who's "too assured of herself" - her mind was always made up about subjects. So they're not dirty words, not at all!

To me, these lines are a comment on mainstream opinion - which, not just at the time but still today, considers a self-assured woman a threat to male-centric culture. That's why "self-assured (woman)" is considered "a dirty word" (just look how US conservatives use the word "feminist", it's almost synonymous with "terrorist" to them).

GabriHylian    Csütörtök, 30/08/2018 - 21:37
magicmulder wrote:

But does it make sense? (I know, not a lot in the song makes sense.) It's such a completely random and content-free statement, just like "Oh, I know a good coffee shop". I find that hard to believe, especially in context.

Oh boi if you get to read some of his other compositions, you gonna see that this song is one of the few that is quite straight-forward and actually makes enough sense haha https://lyricstranslate.com/en/Nirvana-Plain-lyrics.html

For comparison, in the song "On a Plain" there's this piece: "My mother died every night" Where's the sense in that? How can a mother/human die every night? How'd you translate it? Even the title and other sentences in the song are hard to interpret. Interesting, uh? If you seek the logical sense behind it, you're gonna have a hard time. Then you can search the abstract sense behind it, and find out that it may be about Kurt's mother being upset with his drug use, or when she was going away to parties, thus leaving him alone and he was worried, or even getting in fights with her husband, or simply drug-related paranoia, etc, etc. It's endlessly complicated - what you can and should do is to translate it directly to your language - "My mother died every night" in German, simple like that - Let the meaning form in the mind of the beholder - that's what I usually go for (or add a note to say what you think and how you got to that, this can be good, but usually people go full Illuminati-theory when doing that lol)

Quote:

To me, these lines are a comment on mainstream opinion - which, not just at the time but still today, considers a self-assured woman a threat to male-centric culture. That's why "self-assured (woman)" is considered "a dirty word" (just look how US conservatives use the word "feminist", it's almost synonymous with "terrorist" to them).

You're right in trying to connect his lyrics to feminist ideals since he was a feminist and would, sometimes, write towards those views, but not always, he refrained from putting straight-forward political views into his lyrics (but not intimate and social feelings, which could be considered political, but not bluntly as some punk bands would do). An example would be "Rape Me", instead of singing "Don't rape women you bastards!" he basicly sang the contrary, to most people (and MTV back in the day) chagrin and confusion. He would always choose the abstract / ironic / weird path.

So I see how you got to that concept, but after all this time interpreting that song since the first time I listened to it, I still don't think that the song as a whole or that stanza, in particular, are about feminism. It is pretty well documented that that part was about his ex-gf characteristics, which may coincide with feminism (but is being overbored regarded as a feminist thing though?) Anyway, even if it was, you would be taking the (interrelational) focus away from her and would put it onto another field, a plain political one, which Kurt, with some exceptions, wasn't known for doing so. Lastly, that wasn't the only girlfriend he wrote lyrics for, so there's that.

Now, the song "Been a Son" is definitely on the line of feminism, but that has a much clearer, identifiable meaning: His father didn't want to have a daughter (Cobain's sister) which can be, and probably is, always extended to "some fathers in this society don't want to have daughters", but I wouldn't take away the important fact that he was primarily referring to his own father and sister, got that? "Serve the Servants" is another song where he's talking directly to his father, it's common in his songwriting to refer to specific people.

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/nirvana-been-son-lyrics.html

So with that said, when translating Nirvana songs, don't seek logical sense. Kurt liked to rhyme and sing uncommon words and random stuff (check "Heart-Shaped Box", "Stay Away", "Lounge Act", to name a few, they may be a real pain in the a** to translate lol especially the first one) because people weren't going to hear that stuff from any other band, making it unique.

About that dirty word line, notice that later he says "how low!" which is a way someone could respond to a dirty word being said in an upper-class place, so there you go, a "sense" I could find, but that's about it, no connection to other words. And, you know, if the lyrics are "I know a good coffee shop" just translate it as it is, if it's too complicated and illogical don't overthink it that much (although I do that myself and it's kinda good and necessary for a translator, buuuut don't overdo it =)

GabriHylian    Csütörtök, 30/08/2018 - 22:38

God, I talk too damn much. So sorry for the long reply. I will have to quickly add some stuff though - I checked the first German translation, I don't know German so I can't evaluate, but I noticed that that fella didn't translate the "Teen Spirit" title because of its relation to the deodorant thing, and that is true, but Cobain didn't know that when he released the song, he only got to know that much later, so when he wrote the title he truly meant the absurd statement "Smells like teen spirit" - So I guess you're on the right track, having the right title, and trying to make a more concise translation, go for it!

By the way, this convo reminded me that I had translated Been a Son to Portuguese a long time ago in another site, but not in here, so I translated it now, Great song! Though it has one particularly confusing, controversial word placement, as usual, lol, but at least it's a short song.
It lacks a German translation, so, I've requested one, just in case, you know, if there's a German warrior out there feeling like taking on a little challenge =D Heard you like them.

I checked my Heart-Shaped Box translation too. One of the most challenging songs I've ever translated, mostly for being so crazy and bilateral. I also, out of pure curiosity, took a look at the German translation of it, and with 2 votes not achieving 5 stars and not having been updated since 2011, it seems to me to be the perfect contestant for a newer, updated translation. If you're up for the task, you should try that, not a small task though. https://lyricstranslate.com/en/heart-shaped-box-herzfoermige-box.html

magicmulder    Péntek, 31/08/2018 - 07:13

Thank you for the detailed and insightful reply, I will take my time reading it over the week-end. Regular smile Have a nice one!

(I just took a look at "Heart-Shaped Box" which I haven't heard in years; that's indeed a massive challenge. Just the line "Throw down your umbilical noose..." can be translated in so many ways because of all the connotations and different meanings of the expressions.)