Best Smells Like Teen Spirit Covers

3 minute read

Covers of songs are nothing new: Most are bad, some are good. Today, UpVenue decided to take a look at eighteen very different covers of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. The results range from piano solos, to giant orchestras, to cappella and more.

First the original by Nirvana:

And on to the covers in no particular order.

FlyLeaf (Regular Cover)

Pros: The music is spot on and very energetic, much like the Nirvana original. Lacey Mosley apologized for her singing before starting.
Cons: Vocals are a little shrieky but Mosley still managed to sound like a female Cobain. Musical arrangement isn't much different from the original.

Tori Amos (Piano Acoustic)

Pros: Vocals are great. Very different from the original, the piano is a nice touch.
Cons: It's a bit hard to mosh to this and you shouldn't feel like you need to cry when listening to a Nirvana song.

Paul Anka (Swing)

Pros: Are those Bongos?
Cons: It's a little on the creepy side, but still fun!

Western Branch Freshmen Orchestra (Orchestra)

Pros: It's a freaking Orchestra!
Cons: No vocals.

The Bad Plus (Jazz)

Pros: A Jazz version of the classic. Drumming is good.
Cons: It's a bit of a mess at times.

Ukulele Orchestra (Ukulele)

Pros: They're headbanging while they play.
Cons: I'm pretty convinced that the singer is a serial killer outside of his orchestra job. Check out the 3:15 mark in this video if you don't believe me.

Patti Smith (Added Poetry)

Pros: The musical arrangement is solid. The changes to the vocal track are weird enough to make it sound Nirvana-ish.
Cons: The poetry makes it feel like a bad hash trip.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers (Choir)

Pros: Sunday school should always sound like this.
Cons: Little girls singing in unison is spine tingling.

The Flying Pickets (Cappella)

Pros: Major Kudos for originality.
Cons: This probably has Cobain spinning in his grave.

Dokaka (BeatBoxed)

Pros: It does eventually end.
Cons: I'd rather hear Alvin and the Chipmunks sing this.. or maybe not. Can someone please punch this guy in the face?

Palladium (Regular Cover)

Pros: Audio is pretty decent.
Cons: Fairly generic. Not much is changed besides Palladium's mediocre singing.

The Hackley School Incident (Catastrophy)

Pros: "This is so bad it's almost good"
Cons: "This is so bad it's gone past good and back to bad again."

Kelis (Hip Hop)

Pros: Good guitar track, keyboard is a nice addition. Very energetic.
Cons: The thank yous and shoutouts are really out of place for a song like this.

Magni Asgeirsson (Rock)

Pros: A good rock take on this grunge classic.
Cons: The singer is often off key.

Melvins (Grunge / Punk)

Pros: Very good rendition. Nice mix of grunge and punk. Solid vocals.
Cons: The Melvins rejected Cobain when he auditioned for them pre-Nirvana.

Ten Tenors (Tenors)

Pros: You'll get a chuckle out of this.
Cons: Not the full song, missing the chorus.

Shazi (electronic)

Pros: Different for sure. Isn't too repetitive.
Cons: No voice samples.

Moog Cookbook (synthesizer)

Pros: Synthesizers were the coolest things ever in the 80s.
Cons: Some things are best left in the 80s.

Smells like Teen Spirit Dubstep remix

Pros: This is an awesome take on the song.
Cons: The need to load up our guns isn't quite there.

BONUS: Weird Al - Smells Like Nirvana