Writer(s): Kurt Cobain (see lyrics here)
Released: November 30, 1992
First Charted: December 12, 1992
Peak: 5 AR, 28 UK, 73 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK, 0.2 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.131 radio, 135.8 video, -- streaming
Awards (Sturgill Simpson):
About the Song:
Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain wrote “In Bloom” after their debut album, Bleach, was released on Sub Pop. The song was an attack on those outside the underground music community who started showing up at Nirvana’s shows, but didn’t understand the band’s message. WK Cobain said the song was an attack on “rednecks, macho men, and abusive people.” SF He told Melody Maker magazine, “I didn’t like the cheerleader type of girl or want to hang out with the jock boys. I chose to live the life of a recluse. I didn’t hang out with anyone else because I couldn’t handle their stupidity.” SF
The band first recorded the song in April 1990 for what was then intended as their second album for Sub Pop. They even recorded a video for the song. When Nirvana signed to DGC Records, they started work on Nevermind in May 1991 and “In Bloom” was one of the first songs they revisited. It ended up as the fourth single from Nevermind, released over a year after the album first dropped.
A new video for the song was shot which parodied variety shows from the 1960s, like The Ed Sullivan Show. The host introduces the band as “thoroughly all right and decent fellas” and mispronounces their name. A crowd of teenagers screams throughout the song and the band destroys the set and their instruments by the song’s conclusion. Two different versions were shot, one in which the band performed in dresses and another where they play in Beach Boys-style outfits. A third version combined elements of both videos and won Best Alternative Video at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards. It was also named top music video by critics in Village Voice. WK
Sturgill Simpson, a country artist, recorded the song for his 2016 A Sailor’s Guide to Earth album. A “swirl of strings and horns” SF made the song “completely unrecognizable.” SF Simpson said he was in seventh or eight grade when the album ame out and it “was like a bomb went off.” SF He explained that “In Bloom” “summed up what it means to be a teenager, and I think it tells a young boy that he can be sensitive and compassionate – he doesn’t have to be tough or cold to be a man. So I wanted to make a very beautiful and pure homage to Kurt.” SF
First posted 5/7/2020; last updated 9/22/2022.