Nirvana, “Lithium”

If you really want to know what makes a song tick, sometimes the best source is someone who has done their own interpretation of it. “Lithium” is known as one of the individual explosions found on the collective Big Bang of grunge that was Nirvana’s Nevermind album, released in 1991. But when sisters Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne took a shot at it on the album Not Dark Yetin 2017, they managed to find new layers of intrigue and insight in this brilliant composition. Moorer spoke to American Songwriter about the special nature of the song. “Lithium” has always been one of my favorite Nirvana tunes,” Moorer says. “The introspective (and funny) verses juxtaposed with the primal scream of the chorus checks all the boxes of what a great rock and roll song should be. When my sister and I recorded it, we found lots of room in it to play and we took that further every time we performed it. That's another hallmark of a great song — it’s wonderful and mysterious when one can be interpreted in so many ways.” Kurt Cobain wrote the song by imagining a scenario where a man, grieving over the death of his girlfriend, finds solace in religion.…

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