Negative Creep

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"Negative Creep"
Song by Nirvana
from the album Bleach
LabelSub Pop
Songwriter(s)Kurt Cobain
Producer(s)Jack Endino
Bleach track listing
11 tracks
  1. "Blew"
  2. "Floyd the Barber"
  3. "About a Girl"
  4. "School"
  5. "Love Buzz"
  6. "Paper Cuts"
  7. "Negative Creep"
  8. "Scoff"
  9. "Swap Meet"
  10. "Mr. Moustache"
  11. "Sifting"

"Negative Creep" is a song by the American rock band Nirvana, written by vocalist and guitarist, Kurt Cobain. It is the seventh song on their debut album Bleach, released in June 1989.

Origin and recording[edit]

Written by Cobain in 1988, "Negative Creep" was recorded for Bleach by Jack Endino at Reciprocal Recording in December 1988 and January 1989. It is the only recording on the album that ends with an extended fade-out, giving it a 1960s pop aesthetic.[2][3]

The song was debuted live on February 25, 1989 at the Husky Union Building at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

In his 1993 Nirvana biography Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Michael Azerrad described "Negative Creep" as "a first-person narrative from an antisocial person," with that person being Cobain himself.[5]

The song received some criticism from members of the Seattle music scene in the late 1980s because of the lyric, "Daddy's little girl ain't a girl no more," which closely resembled the lyrics to the 1988 song, "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More," by Nirvana's Sub Pop label mates, Mudhoney. According to Azerrad, Cobain claimed the similarity was an example of "subconscious theft."[6]


"Negative Creep" has been described as one of the "Sub Popiest" songs the band ever recorded,[7] and "a text book example of Seattle's true grunge sound".[8] The song has also been likened to thrash metal.[9][10]

Several critics have noted the intensity of Cobain's vocals on the studio recording, with Mark Richardson of Pitchfork writing, "Cobain's voice through the second verse terrifies me. There is no concern for his physical well being or even his future as a vocalist in a rock band. He sings as intensely as he can possibly sing. Sometimes, when I'm listening loud, I think my headphones might be breaking up from the volume only to realize that the membrane being excited to the point of distortion is actually Cobain's larynx."[11]

"Negative Creep" appeared in the 1996 grunge documentary, Hype!, and was included in the film's soundtrack. It also appeared in the bonus CD included with the 1995 book Screaming Life: A Chronicle of the Seattle Music Scene, which collected the photographs of acclaimed music photographer, Charles Peterson.


Year Publication Country Accolade Rank
1998 Kerrang! United Kingdom 20 Great Nirvana Songs Picked by the Stars[12] 9

Recording and release history[edit]

Demo and studio versions[edit]

Date recorded Studio Producer/recorder Releases Personnel
December 24 & 29-31, 1988 and January 14 & 24, 1989 Reciprocal Recording, Seattle, Washington Jack Endino Bleach (1989)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Chad Channing (drums)

Live versions[edit]

Date recorded Venue Releases Personnel
February 9, 1990 Pine Street Theatre, Portland, Oregon Bleach (20th Anniversary Edition) (2009)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Chad Channing (drums)
August 20, 1991 Sir Henry's, Cork, Ireland 1991: The Year Punk Broke (1992)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Dave Grohl (drums)
October 31, 1991 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (1996)
Live at the Paramount (2011)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Dave Grohl (drums)
February 22, 1992 Pink's Garage, Honolulu, Hawaii Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! (1994)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Dave Grohl (drums)
August 30, 1992 Reading Festival, Reading, England Live at Reading (2009)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Dave Grohl (drums)


Year Artist Album
1996 Tura Satana Relief Through Release
1997 Machine Head Take My Scars
2001 Dee Dee Ramone Smells Like Bleach: A Punk Tribute to Nirvana
2004 Velvet Revolver Slither


  1. ^ Clover, Joshua. 1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About. p. 82.
  2. ^ Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects - Kurt St. Thomas, Troy Smith - Google Books. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  3. ^ SPIN - Google Books. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Bleach (album review)". Sputnik Music. January 14, 2005. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
  5. ^ Azerrad, Michael (1994). Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday. pp. 100, 101. ISBN 0-385-47199-8.
  6. ^ Azerrad, Michael (1994). Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday. p. 101. ISBN 0-385-47199-8.
  7. ^ Crisafulli, Chuck (1996). Teen Spirit: The Stories Behind Every NIRVANA Song. Omnibus Press. p. 25. ISBN 0-7119-5809-2.
  8. ^ Gage, Josephine (September 23, 2009). "Nirvana Ultimate Mix". IGN. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  9. ^ "Nirvana - Bleach". John McFerrin Music Reviews. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Nirvana: Bleach [Deluxe Edition]". Pitchfork Reviews. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  11. ^ Richardson, Mark. "Happy Birthday, Kurt". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  12. ^ "The Hit List: 20 Great Nirvana Songs Picked by the Stars". Kerrang!. No. 709. July 25, 1998. p. 49. Retrieved July 21, 2019.

External links[edit]