Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” Lyrics Meaning

As the title suggests, in “Come As You Are”, the singer (Cobain) is presenting himself as someone who is ready to accept the addressee’s friendship, no ill will attached.

Now according to Kurt Cobain’s own words, the lyrics are “about people and what they’re expected to act like”. He also went on to expound, as the listener likely picked up on him or herself, that “the lines in the song are really-contradictory”. This dichotomy is made most evident in the first verse. And combining Cobain’s explanations points us back to the thesis as mentioned above, that the singer is ready to accept the addressee as is, i.e. whether friend or foe, fast or slow.

There have also been other popular theories concerning the meaning of this tune. For instance, some have postulated that it may actually be about drugs. But at the end of the day, this may simply be a friendship song presented by the tortured genius we know as Kurt Cobain. Indeed along those same lines, it has also been put forth that he actually got the title of this track from the motto of a hotel he used to frequent during his vagabond teenage years.

Music Video

The director of the music video to this classic track is Kevin Kerslake. He also served the same role for a couple of other Nirvana classics.

Writing Credits for “Come As You Are”

This track was written by the late music icon and former Nirvana frontman the one and only Kurt Cobain (1967-1994). And it was produced by the band’s frequent musical collaborator, Butch Vig.

When was “Come As You Are” released?

The song was officially released by DGC (a subsidiary of Geffen Records) on March 2nd, 1992. It actually was the second-standard single from Nirvana’s highly influential album, “Nevermind”.

There was a debate as to whether or not Nirvana should have released this as a single.  The argument was due to the fact that there have been noted similarities between “Come As You Are” and a track a band called Killing Joke dropped in 1984 entitled “Eighties”.  However, they opted to do so anyway because it was deemed “Come As You Are” had more commercial appeal than the other song they were considering to release at the time, that being “In Bloom”. And when they did do so, it caused a major beef between Nirvana and Killing Joke which reportedly died down after Kurt Cobain passed away.

Song meets with Success

Ultimately those who predicted the track’s commercial viability were correct. “Come As You Are” charted in 20 nations, including appearing on the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart. And the song has also been certified Platinum in the UK and Italy.

Moreover in 2011 Rolling Stone magazine went on to place this track on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

And the title of this track also served as the title of the biography of the band published in 1993.

“Come as You Are” has had a notable presence in pop media. For instance, it was featured in the 2019 Disney/Marvel hit film entitled “Captain Marvel”.

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