“Something In The Way” has always had something in the way—namely, 11 other tracks on Nirvana’s breakthrough album, Nevermind. Tucked away on the album’s B-side, behind hits like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come As You Are,” and “In Bloom,” the atmospheric ballad was never bound for Billboard…or was it?
Thanks to Batman of all people, Cobain’s acoustic lament is finally getting some respect from the streaming charts. Per Billboard (via Consequence), within four days of The Batman’s release (March 4 through March 7), the song received “3.1 million on-demand official U.S. streams.” The number is “up from 372,000 on-demand official U.S. streams” from the four days prior.
The Nirvana deep-cut has benefited from its friends in Gotham since the first trailer was released last fall. Thanks to The Batman trailer, “Something In The Way” charted on Billboard for the first time, reaching No. 2 on Rock Digital Song Sales and No. 45 on the all-genre Digital Song Sales.
The Batman director Matt Reeves has long cited Nirvana as an influence on the film. The Riddler himself, Paul Dano, even said that “Something In The Way” gets name-checked in the script. According to an interview with Esquire, Reeves imagined Bruce Wayne as “a kind of drug addict,” whose “drug is his addiction to this drive for revenge.”
Early on, when I was writing, I started listening to Nirvana, and there was something about “Something in the Way,” which is in the first trailer, which is part of the voice of that character. When I considered, ‘How do you do Bruce Wayne in a way that hasn’t been seen before?’ I started thinking, ‘What if some tragedy happened [ie: Wayne sees his parents murdered] and this guy becomes so reclusive, we don’t know what he’s doing? Is this guy some kind of wayward, reckless, drug addict?’ And the truth is that he is a kind of drug addict. His drug is his addiction to this drive for revenge. He’s like a Batman Kurt Cobain.”
To paraphrase Robert Palmer, “Might as well face it, The Batman’s addicted to revenge.”