Nirvana’s hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” embodies the culture of the angsty, grunge youth in the early 1990’s—one marked by a generation struggling with identity. However, flipping the track from its original key of F-minor into a major scale weirdly turns it into a summery pop-punk jam.
Vimeo user Sleep Good used major scale to transform the song, taking listeners to an alternate reality in which they can imagine Kurt Cobain cruising down Pacific Coast Highway. The rock element is definitely still present, but the song becomes a little less Smashing Pumpkins and a lot more Weezer.
Sleep Good, who cleverly titled the song “Teen Sprite,” made a note that this 180-degree flip of Nirvana is not from gloomy Aberdeen, Washington as Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic were. Instead, this new band called “Nirvirna” hails from sunny Southern California town La Jolla.
Ironically, Cobain originally wrote “Teen Spirit” in an attempt to “write the ultimate pop song,” Novoselic told The Rolling Stone. The famous line from the chorus, “Here we are now/Entertain us,” was a phrase Cobain used to talk to people at social functions. “That could have been him watching TV,” Novoselic noted, “aghast at popular culture.”
Listen to 1991’s song of the summer below, along with the original anthem for comparison.