Something in the Way
|"Something in the Way"|
|Song by Nirvana from the album Nevermind|
|Recorded||May/June 1991 at Sound City, Van Nuys and Devonshire, North Hollywood|
|Genre||Alternative rock, acoustic rock|
|Length||3:52 (20:37 with "Endless, Nameless")|
"Endless, Nameless" : Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic
|Nevermind track listing|
"Something in the Way" is a song by the American grunge band Nirvana and written by its frontman Kurt Cobain. It is the final song on their 1991 studio album Nevermind (without counting the secret track included on most CD editions of the album, "Endless, Nameless").
Origins and Composition
It was thought that "Something in the Way" was written during a time in which its author, singer Kurt Cobain, was homeless and slept underneath a bridge in his native town, Aberdeen, (Washington). This myth, propagated by Cobain, was refuted in 2001 with the publication of his biography Heavier than Heaven, written by Charles Cross, who affirmed that if Cobain really had spent nights underneath the bridge mentioned in the song, he would have been in danger of being swept away by the tide of the Wishkah River. In fact, Cobain had passed his time sleeping at the houses of his friends, where he also left his possessions in cardboard boxes during daytime. He also allegedly slept in waiting rooms of hospitals in the town.
"Something in the Way" was written in 1990 by Cobain, and it was performed by him for the first time at The Off Ramp Café on November 25, 1990 in Seattle.
According to Nevermind's producer Butch Vig, Cobain had originally wanted to record "Something in the Way" with the full band, but when initial attempts at this proved unsuccessful, Cobain sat down and played the song for Vig by himself, to show him how he thought it should sound. Vig was impressed with the way Cobain's solo rendition sounded, and after having the air conditioner and all telephones turned off in the control room of the studio, proceeded to set up microphones and record the song the same way: with Cobain singing and playing guitar.
This became the core of the track; drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic added their parts later, though both had some difficulties with the relatively slow timing of the song. Novoselic also had trouble tuning his bass to Cobain's guitar (a rickety old 12-string Stella acoustic strung with 5 nylon guitar strings which barely stayed in tune) and Grohl was forced to repress his natural inclination to pound on the drums, in order to match the song's gentle mood. On the final day of the Nevermind sessions, Kirk Canning, a friend of the band's, came in and completed the song with a cello line, though he too had difficulties tuning to Cobain's guitar.
- A live version of the song, recorded in Osaka, Japan, on 14 February 1992, appears on the 1994 home video Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!, which was re-released on DVD in 2006.
- Another live version of the song appears on the 1994 MTV Unplugged in New York album and was used as a B-side for the "About a Girl" single from that album. This version of "Something in the Way" was re-released on vinyl and Japanese CD editions of the compilation album Nirvana in 2002.
- Another live version of the song, recorded at the BBC sessions, appears on the deluxe version of Nevermind.
- A much heavier electric demo of the song is available on several unofficial bootlegs.
Appearances in films
- A humorous version of Something in the Way was touched by Jerry O'Connell (that Frank Cushman interpreted to the star of American football) in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, directed by Cameron Crowe.
- The original Nirvana recording of the song from the Nevermind album was used in the 2005 film Jarhead, directed by Sam Mendes.
- Azerrad, Michael. Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Doubleday, New York: 1993, ISBN 0-86369-746-1