The classic lineup of Nirvana – Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl – first recorded together on the first day of 1991. They ran through seven tracks, all captured in just one take. Cobain later added vocals to two of these songs and they were used as b-sides of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
‘Aneurysm’ is one of several Nirvana songs that references Cobain’s breakup with Tobi Vail, the drummer of Bikini Kill. From Nevermind, ‘Lounge Act’ and ‘Drain You’ are also about Vail. Vail also unwittingly inspired ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – she used a brand of deodorant named Teen Spirit,
There are two versions of ‘Aneurysm’ – the band later recorded another version for the rarities compilation Incesticide.
Even though it was never a single or featured on an album, ‘Aneurysm’ is one of Nirvana’s most popular songs. On a 2000 poll from BBC Radio 1, it was voted as the third-best Nirvana song, after ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Heart-Shaped Box’. There’s an iconic opening line – “come on over and do the twist” – and it’s one of the few Nirvana songs that approaches the rock anthem feel of its a-side.