We are rich with strange new versions of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 30 years after its release, our cups runneth over with everything from the Nirvana single in Classical Latin to covers that turn it into a new jack swing song and a hard-hitting ukulele jam. We’ve heard it horribly transposed into a major key and mashed up with tracks from Justin Bieber and Katy Perry or as fodder for a bizarre mix that also includes Adele, Alice In Chains, and, uh, Randy Savage.
At this point, in the year 2021, if a musician wants to do something novel with the song, they have to have a pretty good idea. Or, like Seth Everman, they need to put every single one of their ideas into a medley that stands out for its sheer breadth.
Everman, who has taken a similar approach to songs in the past, spends a little less than two minutes playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in basically every style he can think of. He starts off with a simple enough piano cover then continues on by playing the Nirvana track as if it’s music from a “video game water level,” as a “Bulgarian nightclub” banger, as “minimalist jazz” and Polish mazurka, and as a steel pan “tropical island” number.
The best approach comes from Everman getting inspired to break out a recorder, which he starts off using to accent his “hard rock version” but eventually discovers is the perfect instrument for a “flute destruction metal” cover where he warbles horribly over footage of breaking a classical guitar and keyboard apart in a parking lot.
Anyone thinking of recording their own “Smells Like Teen Spirit” covers better take note of what Everman’s just accomplished. If you want to stand out from the rest of the Nirvana-loving crowd, you better have at least a dozen new approaches to the song ready to go.
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