The meaning of the song «Rape Me» by Nirvana

The meaning of the song «Rape Me» by Nirvana songs

The song went on an unusual trajectory in terms of its writing. Solo acoustics is a rather lengthy initial work (admittedly degenerating into scratch lyrics). However, during a live performance in June 1991, almost everything was removed from it, leaving only a skeletal chorus. This form then continued until its show in Seattle on September 11, 1992. The final second verse and bridge is then created approximately fifty days prior to the October 26, 1992 demo session. It’s very typical for Kurt to keep the essence of the song and move the elements around that spine. But it’s unusual to find three different versions of the song. While some initially pointed out cosmetic similarities, suggesting that Rape Me was a reaction to Smells Like Teen Spirit,

Creation and recording

Rape Me was written by Kurt Cobain on acoustic guitar during the recording of the band’s second album, Nevermind, in 1991. Nirvana released the song to the public that year, although the lyrics were not fully written.

Cobain decided to perform the song during the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards: before the performance, he stated that he would be playing a “new song” (in fact, Nirvana had been playing it in concert for several months). The organizers, however, insisted on the performance of the hit Smells Like Teen Spirit . An hour before the show, the band refused to play, but fearing that the channel would boycott them if they refused to perform, the musicians ended up announcing that they would perform the song Lithium.

On stage, Kurt played the first few chords of Rape Me and sang the first line of the new song (he later explained that he wanted “MTV to have a little heart attack”); the organizers were about to close the show with an advertisement, but the band had already started playing Lithium.

The first recording of Rape Me was made during a two-day demo session with producer Jack Endino in Seattle, Washington in October 1992. Two versions of the song were recorded; the first version is instrumental, while the second included vocals by Cobain and backing vocals from drummer Dave Grohl. During the recording of the vocal part, Cobain held his daughter in his arms, and on the demo, you can hear her crying. In February 1993, the band entered the studio to record their third studio album, In Utero, with producer Steve Albini. The band recorded music on Rape Me on February 15th. The following day, Cobain recorded vocals for the album during a six-hour session.

Music and lyrics

Kurt positioned this song as a life-affirming anti-rape song. “Women who have been raped (…) go crazy with what they’ve experienced…” he explained in an interview. I believe in karma and I believe that this bastard will eventually get what he deserves. He will certainly be caught and sent to prison, where he, in turn, will be safely raped. be afraid, because something more terrible is waiting for you. ” He also noticed that this song describes his relationship with the media.

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The original lyrics of the song differed somewhat from the final one. Subsequently, Cobain shortened the poem and added the lines to it: “My favorite inside source, / I’ll kiss your open sores, / Appreciate your concern, / You’ll always stink and burn” (“My favorite inside source, / I’ll kiss your open wounds / I will appreciate your care / You will stink and burn”). The “internal source” was referred to in her articles by journalist Lynn Hirshberg, who announced that Kurt’s wife Courtney Love used drugs during pregnancy, which gave rise to the case of depriving the Cobains of parental rights (however, in the end they were still allowed to raise their newborn daughter on their own) . The couple suspected (as it turned out later – erroneously) the manager of the Soundgarden group of passing information to Hirshberg, to whom these lines were addressed.

What is the meaning behind the song «Rape Me» by Nirvana

The provocative lyrics of this song (“Rape me” translated from English – “Rape me”) often gave Nirvana all sorts of problems: for example, the Walmart retail chain refused to sell the album “In Utero”, which included “Rape me”, explaining that the title of this song looks “too controversial”.

The third verse of the song (“My favorite inner source, I will kiss your open wounds, I will appreciate your care – you will forever stink and burn”) is a reference to the scandalous case of depriving the Cobains of parental rights in relation to their newborn daughter Frances Bean. Journalist Lynn Hirshberg published an article about Courtney Love, which reported that she used heroin during pregnancy. The journalist referred to an “internal source close to the Cobains,” which she did not name.

In his solo acoustic performance, Rape Me’s true pedigree goes back to his youth, all the way to the Laminated Effect on the Fecal Matter demo. Essentially, the first verse is about a key character who, “raped by his dad”, eventually dies of AIDS, and the song ends with the chorus “made not born”, suggesting that his father made his destiny. Rape Me doesn’t start out as an anti-rape song, but as a song in which a father rapes his son. In the first case, the next line is “they said he was guilty,” while in “Rape me,” the motive for the next line is “my embarrassment.” This intriguing combination is that it is the victim, not the perpetrator, who is left with guilt and negativity. This is the connection he made again in Floyd the Barber, with the raped victim,

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Even in his Youth is explicitly and consciously associated with this effect by inserting the line “keeped his body clean”, taken entirely from the last song. This directly links the disappointing and embarrassing son in Even as a Young Man to the unsympathetic attitude and ultimately doomed son in The Laminated Effect. Despite the absence of a rape motive in “Rape Me” and “The Lamination Effect”, the crucial connection is the association of the father in all three cases with the protagonist’s guilt and acceptance of responsibility for perceived shortcomings.

The first ghost of this song lived inside Kurt; he retained the memory of what was originally the song’s inspiration and script, even long after all visible motives for male-to-male rape had been erased. This can be seen in the way his diaries offer two video introductory messages to the song; one tells of the forced feminization of men in prison; in the second, the man takes on the female role and is examined in stirrups in the gynecologist’s office. Whenever these records were written (late 1993?), they are still about feminization and abuse of a man, not a woman. He confirmed this once again by using the image of a seahorse on the cover of the single, specifically because with seahorses it is the father who raises the cubs.

The song thus evolved from a song about the incestuous rape of a male child to an anonymous refrain, to the final version in which the refrain was used as a commentary on the media’s treatment of his family. The same connection between past family and current family seems to haunt Kurt, given that it’s the exact same sandwich he made in Serve the Servants.

On the October 26, 1992 demo of Rape Me, it was creepy that Kurt insisted on inserting his two-month-old baby’s screams into the theme song. And yet—as with the picture of the male seahorse raising a child, as with the chorus “made not born,” as with the son admitting that his father’s disgrace was his own fault— it has real meaning. The image of the seahorse fulfills a deeper purpose in that it is present not only as a role reversal, but also because it shows the father influencing the fate of the child at a very early stage of existence.

It was a song about family and, in particular, about the fact that a father genetically inherits his child – the essence of the problem is in guilt and self-critical negativity, and not in the rape itself. In the initial demo of Rape Me and in The Laminated Effect, what is happening is not literal rape, but that the father imposes on the child, against his will, destiny and identity through the sexual act that created them. Thus, the phrase “our favorite inner source” has a double meaning: the alleged traitor in the Cobain camp in late 1992, but also the inner source of his inspiration. Again, this is the same gimmick as in the movie Serve the Servants, where “this legendary divorce”, despite its sarcastic wording, is indeed a defining event for Kurt – the fact that he is fed up with this rumor does not detract its importance.

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«Rape Me» by Nirvana facts

Nirvana was supposed to perform “Rape Me” at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, but they weren’t allowed to because they weren’t allowed to. the song was considered too provocative. They agreed that the team would perform the song “Lithium”, but, going on stage, Cobain suddenly began to play “Rape Me” and sang the first line (“Rape me, my friend”); only then did the musicians move on to “Lithium”. Cobain later said that he wanted to give MTV a “little heart attack”. And it’s true: the leaders of the ceremony, who did not expect this, already wanted to close the group’s performance with an advertisement, but they did not have time – the musicians had already played the assigned song.

The provocative lyrics of this song (“Rape me” translated from English – “Rape me”) often delivered “Nirvana” all sorts of problems: for example, the Walmart retail chain refused to sell the album “In Utero”, which included “Rape me”, explaining that the name of this composition looks “too controversial” (considering that Walmart is one of the most “influential” retail chains in America, the company had to publish an alternative version of the record, where the title of the song was replaced by “Waif Me” – “Throw Me Out” ).

The song’s third verse (“My favorite inside source, I’ll kiss your open wounds, I’ll appreciate your care – you’ll stink and burn forever”) is a reference to the controversial Cobain deprivation of parental rights to their newborn daughter, Frances Bean. Journalist Lynn Hirshberg published an article about Courtney Love, Cobain’s wife, which reported that she used heroin during pregnancy, which served as a pretext for the case; she referred, in particular, to “an inside source close to the Cobains,” which she did not name. Kurt and Courtney assumed (wrongly, as it turned out later) that she was referring to the manager of the Soundgarden team, and even sent him a Christmas card: “Our favorite inside source.”

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