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Lithium

by

Nirvana



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

There is a lot of self-loathing going on in this song, as Kurt Cobain sings, "I'm so ugly" and takes the voice of a man on the brink of killing himself - dysfunctional, random, and all of that. Cobain made it clear that most of the time, he wasn't singing about himself in his songs, but was pulling from what he saw in other people. This depressive theme crept into some of the songs on their In Utero album as well, which at one point was going to be called "I Hate Myself And I Want To Die." At live shows, Cobain would sometimes put this in perspective, asking the audience, "Hey everybody, why so glum?"
Lithium is a drug used by doctors and psychiatrists to treat patients with Manic-Depressive Disorder, also known as Bipolar Depression. This is a very volatile mental condition, and Lithium often helps regulate the mood of the patient. Mike Tyson is a famous Lithium patient.
The CD single contained a sonogram photo of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love's unborn child, Frances Bean; Kurt said he thought he saw Frances doing the heavy metal devil horn hand gesture when he watched the sonogram. The single also included all the lyrics to the songs on the Nevermind album, so people could finally figure out what Kurt was singing in "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
The album was produced by Butch Vig. He also produced the Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream and is the drummer for the band Garbage.
Kurt Cobain collaborated with Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan in an informal blues band during 1990. One of the names they considered for the group was Lithium. (thanks, Adam - Dewsbury, England)
There was a group called Nirvana that was around from 1967-1972 and had modest success in Europe. That band got back together and sued Kurt Cobain's Nirvana in the early 1990s for taking their name. The suit was amiably resolved, and the other Nirvana released their version of "Lithium" on their 1996 album Orange And Blue. (thanks, Andrew - Cape Town, South Africa)
Cobain spent a period of his life moving between the homes of various relatives and friends. One of these friends came from a family of reformed Christians, and in this song Cobain compares living in this house to having bi-polar depression. (thanks, fungus - Scotland)
Living Color guitarist Vernon Reid told Rolling Stone magazine: "My favorite song on Nevermind was 'Lithium.' Kurt Cobain tapped into something in the culture that nobody had given a voice to before: passionate ambivalence: 'I'm so ugly, but that's OK 'cause so are you.' He captured the idea of having incredibly powerful feelings about not having feelings." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Bruce Lash recorded a mellow lounge version that was used in the 2008 movie Marley & Me. Lash explains: "I recorded the song as part of an album I did called Prozak For Lovers II, in 2004. I did the first Prozak For Lovers in 1998. I was looking for songs that were hard or angry or alienated to make sort of loungy Bossa Novas out of. Calm them down. Make them soothing. 'Lithium' has such a beautiful melody, and I never realized how great the lyrics were until I started working on the Prozak version of it. it was a natural!
The thing about this kind of song treatment is that the lyrics really come to the front, and I find the result is especially pleasing when the lyrics are as good as they are in this song.

How did it get into Marley? The film's editor, Mark Livolsi, told me that he had put it in the cut fairly early on, and its placement was never questioned. I have no idea how he came across my recording of the song. I did, however, send him a fruit basket, as a thank you. :)" (Thanks to Bruce for filling us in. Prozak For Lovers II is available at CD Baby and on iTunes.)
Nirvana performed this at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. It was quite an eventful evening for the band, as they wanted to play "Rape Me" but MTV wanted "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Cobain had to check out of rehab to attend the show, and had made comments disparaging MTV in the past. At rehearsals, a standoff ensued where MTV threatened to go nuclear, banning not just Nirvana, but other acts from their label if they didn't fall in line. "Lithium" was the compromise, but Nirvana made the network sweat, playing a few seconds of "Rape Me" before going into their agreed upon song. During the song, after a bit of network-sanctioned stage diving from the crowd, they smashed up their instruments, with Krist Novoselic getting hit in the head by his bass - a fairly common event at Nirvana finales. Kurt Cobain also had beef with Axl Rose at the show, and Kurt made sure to spit on Axl's keyboard after a backstage altercation.
The video was made up of footage of the band performing at the Reading Festival in England, where they were the headliners in 1992.
Nirvana
Nirvana Artistfacts
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Comments (90):

I've been a fan of this song and of Nirvana since the early Nineties. And now, in 2013, Nirvana's popularity is still very strong. They were just nominated as inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame too. But the RRHOF is now a dubious award because it has ignored some of the early rockers. Anyway, much has been written about "Lithium" so I won't add more. It is what it is. Although the surviving members of Nirvana have disbanded, their music and influence continue to inspire future generations of rockers. That's the way to do it!!
- Raunchy, Tulsa, OK
Whether the lyrics relate to Kurt or not, I don't really care. If I heard the song when he was still alive I would have still loved the song. I don't love it because I 'feel' for the dead singer. I love it because Lithium is a great song. Kurt, Chris and Dave were an extremely talented trio.
- Zach, Joliet, IL
This is kind of a bi-polar song.
- aaron, los angeles, CA
I suffer from bipolar disorder but I do NOT think of taking medication as being brainwashed. Without my meds I wouldn't be alive today. Different medications have different effects on different people, so I can understand why sometime people have bad recations from some and condemn them. I myself was told to never let anyone put me on Lithium because it would have devastating effects. I have never done drugs either (I was born with a faulty brain) but I don't look down on people who do, but some of my friends have been junkies and it never got them anywhere. My point is, don't be afraid to get help if you sense that something is wrong. Medication is not the enemy, though it takes sometime getting used to. I am happier now than I ever was without it.
- Zero, Nowhere, NJ
Cobain said the song is about a man who, after the death of his girlfriend, turns to religion "as a last resort to keep himself alive. To keep him from suicide".
- Brad, Austin, TX
The idea for Kurt Cobain and the Evanescence's Lithium came from news articles in 1983 when the real Amy Lee (not Amy Lynn Hartzler) met Kurt Cobain. The news articles were about a study where Lithium might be able to reduce the craving for alcohol. In an article about Lithium on May 16, 1983 the songwriter Amy Lee saw another article titled "Poker Face" and where she got the idea to write the song which was performed by Lady Gaga. You can google it. The name for the band Evanescence came from a Oct. 1983 review by Frank Rich of the New York Times of The Chorus Line titled "A Chorus of Love". It is also where she got the idea to write Like A Virgin performed by Madonna.
- Amy , Pensacola, FL
Ok I'm sorry Rebecca person. But this song is NOT about the Jews. I don't know where the f--k you got that, but Kurt did not write that about WWII. P.S. I'm pretty sure you said something about Jews being bred to be ugly? Not cool dude.
- Lucy, bethel, CT
In my opinion this is song is about feeling overwhelmed but after a bit becoming too numb to feel anything at all. Part of this is the maddening lonliness "I'm so lonely, that's ok I shaved my head" and the need for friends when no one is around "today I found my friends, they're in my head." Also the knowing that while being overwhelmed, you know you can't break down so you hold it all back "I'm so horny, that's okay my will is good" and willing yourself to keep it together "I'm not gonna crack." Kurt Cobain is comparing this natural numbness to the effects of lithium, an artificial numbness.
- Lucy, bethel, CT
its about a guy who killed his wife\girlfriend and finds god and sanity
"i like it im not gonna crack
i killed you im not gonna crack"
- Dave, Covington, GA
The song is actually about Kurt living with a foster family who were Christin's. "Lite my candles in a daze cause i found god"
- Steven, Beloit, OH
I think its about someone so obsessively in love with someone that they are paranoid of rejection and choose to torture themselves by staying away from the person..and theyre not "gonna crack".
- Dillon, Bradenton, FL
The title lithium is quite cool. Lithium is a metal that has a dull silver outer layer. When you cut into it, it goes shiny, but quickly as it reacts with oxygen it returns to that dull silver. Prehaps Kurt was trying to show that on the outside he may of been worn down and broken by drug addiction and illness(the dull silver colour), but on the inside he was pure and loving, but as the world and music buisness (the oxygen) got to him, his passion and love slowly started to fade away (the returning of the dull silver). He talks about this in his suicide note. Peace. love. Empaphy. xx
- Bluu-munkyy, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Lithium is such a great song. Cobain's lyrics might not be logical most of the time, but you can spend days pondering them and their meaning. I'm 18 (and I like it) and I so wish I had been old enough to see them when they were around. Thankfully their concert at the Reading Festival comes out on CD/DVD in 2 days! Viva Nirvana!
- Mike, Glendale Heights, IL
people need to stop trying to understand kurts songwriting... he said in many interviews that most of his writing was just filler... whatever he could come up with to fit the melody...

R.I.P Kurt
- Jesse, Bob, Aruba
I saw a video of Kurt speaking on this song or read an essay-can't recall. He said that it's about a man who finds religion after his girlfriend dies, and he can't wait to join her but he 'doesn't crack' because he has faith. Kurt said that some people need to find comfort in things like religion.
- Nika, Seattle, WA
also kurt cobain suffered from major stomach issues (ulcers) and he done heroine and other drugs to ease the pain and if you think that it is wrong for him to do heroine because of that then you're stupid just think if you were suffering from major stomach issues that everytime you eat the pain so so excrusiating that you want to kill your self and then you find something that eases the pain and even if it causes harm to your body you don't care because you dont have to feel the pain also i happen to know that he had premonitions and also really messed up dreams that scared the s--t out of him and through him into shock or a mental break down i know how this feels because it happends to me and i havent been tested for being bipolar but i have the same symtoms and parts of nirvana's songs are talking about kurt's mental breakdowns and the videos are based on his dreams
- Kristian, Morrilton, AR
would it make more sense to say "cry" instead of "crack" ?
- walter, orlando,
take the lyrics as they are, nirvana isn't that hard to understand
- Matt, Dayton, OH
this is actually the first time ive heard this song...its pretty good. I think its about someone who is slowly going insane...but he's "not gonna crack"
- Nate, Syrause, NY
I agree Landon it really doesn't have a true meaning but still it is a great song
- Daniel, Winchester, OH
I don't think there really is a direct meaning to this song, since different people will always have their own opinion. It's actually one of the more upbeat Nirvana songs, with a catchy title, and with laid back vocals. Well done.
- Landon, Winchester, OH
I read on Allmusic its about a man who joins a religious cult. I also read that Kurt said the man in the song needed religion to help him.
- Austin, Smallsville, New England
the muddy banks version of anything is better than the album version, btw i think this song has deep song meaning, and don't we all know about it heather don't we all. Yes this song implies deep hatred and is satanic. i listen to it all the time when i'm f***d up on PCP and want to hurt something, joking its a great song it is not evil at all wtf is the matter with all you.
- Chris, Ontario, Canada
This song, in my humble opinion, is about bieng
manic depressive. When Kurt says he is not going to crack he means he isn't going to lose it and do harm to himself. Kurt was also hooked on herion and that may have contributed to his state of mind. Sadly he shall never really know what happened. Another great musican gone. Sorry about the spelling I'm taking meds right now and that (deleted) up my ability to edit.
- Patient X, Columbia, SC
nothing i can say...the song implies deep hatred and broken heart
- defri, samarinda, Indonesia
i read this comment when i was browsing the site

"all the ignorant Nirvana Fan's are all the same.. "i know more about him then you do and i'm more crazy".. like every song writer says. there will never be a true meaning to my song, it can and will be interpreted by different people.. why waste time flaming enjoy the song.. learn it play it listen to it
- Justin, Georgetown, IN"

and i totally agree. kurt was messed up on drugs, he was a genius, and he was really, really creative. combine the three and you've got songs like lithium. end of story
- Daniel, Montreal, Canada
You guys read into things way to much. Kurt was an insane, troubled, tramatized individual, and to even begin to understand him, have to have experienced similar things. People with mental issues percieve EVERYTHING different and they're hard to understand unless you also have issues of the same sort.
P.S. I've been crazy for a while and understand more than 98% of Nirvana fans. true fans don't have to TRY and understand, they just do, and they fall into the 2%.
P.P.S If you are a TRUE fan, e-mail me at wackytobacky55@gmail.com
- Sanitarium, Sharon, KS
it's called metaphors.
and sarcasm.
and kurt.
- Echo, Normalville, MA
Oh boy. It looks like most people still aren`t able to notice any irony in Nirvana`s lyrics. They think that it`s all for real. Oh that`s upseting. Did you know what was that famous writing appearing regularly on Kurt`s favourite guitar? It said "VANDALISM, AS BEAUTIFUL AS A ROCK IN A COP'S FACE". Nice isn`t it. And you know why were they always smashing their music instruments on the stage at the end of each show. That was just an excuse for not playing an encore. They hardly ever intended to do that, and that`s all.
- Kuzma, Moscow, Europe
Right now I'm a bit ticked at some of the comments given. First, I'd like to say that Kurt did not write this song cause of WW2. Whoever was enough of an idiot to interpret that is just getting in TOO deep. Kurt would not have wanted to give away a special interpretation, because he would want us to ponder the meaning, not get so stuck with it we go Crazy!!! I do agree that hes just stating the different symptoms of bipolar disease because the song is called lithium, which is used to treat people with the disease. About his letter(which i believe he was killed, but not by Courtney), he was not writing to buddha. If you read his bio, he has an imaginary friend named Boddha!! And Ive never read that the header was written differently, just the 4 last lines and the footer.
- Gregory, Manalapan, NJ
Thanks for taking the words right out of my mouth, Zachary. You people get so choked up over the meaning of the song, you actually forget to just listen to the beautiful randomness of the music.
- Echo, Normalville, MA
It is said that Kurt got inspired to this song, during the time he lived at his friend Jesse Reed's family. Jesse's parents was born-again Christians, and apparently they are reflected in Lithium as the person who 'found God'.
- erin, tulsa, OK
OK I'm bipolar, so was Kurt. The lyrics all descibe the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

I'm so happy [mania]cause today I found my friends-they're in my head[psycosis].
I'm so ugly [depression], that's ok cause so are you, we've broke our mirrors [irrational behavior].
Sunday mornings are everyday, for all I care, and I'm not scared [religous fervor].
Light my candles in a daze cause I found God [religous fervor].

"Yeah's" [Mixed state]

I'm so lonely, [depression] that's OK, I shave my head [irrational behaavior] and I'm not sad.
And just maybe, I'm to blame for all I've heard, and I'm not sure [guilt from depression].
I'm so excited, I can't wait [mania] to meet you there, and I don't care.
I'm so horny [hyper sexuality] that's OK my will is good.

[Represents the damage and regrets brought on from bipolar disorder]

There you go, all symptoms.
- Dan, syracuse, NY
Wow another song about being high, and how it make you feel. If I was high all the time on heroine I would feel I found God in the drug, with all the mixed emotions
- noe, los angeles, CA
The drug Lithium is actually Lithium Citrate. Lithium is an alkali element and is unstable by itself.
- Tom, Marble Falls, AR
The "Friend" he stayed with was a young Krist Novoselic who he looked up to as a father figuer. Most of the lyrics are about living under his parents roof.
- Evan, Canyoun Country, CA, CA
kurt was diagnosed as bipolar before he died.
an interesting interview w/ a cousin (who is a nurse)
cites two other men in the cobain family who killed themselves with guns.
link to interview:
http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/cobainqa
- tito, ann arbor, MI
This is my favorite Nirvana song! Great lyrics and vocals from Kurt.
- Emmie, Long Island, NY
wow, well, i'm bipolar...in his music i find comfort and a kindred spirit. i don't try to dissect the lyrics for meaning, they are so much more meaningful in their entirety. i don't think courteny love killed him...she is a talented musician as well...has anyone taken the time to listen to, and read some of her lyrical poetry?
- Kitty, carthage, NY
A good song one of their best using the quiet/loud contrast. One of my favorites and trully touching lyrics becasue I can relate to it. Peace Out
- Matt, Hubbard, NE
Kurt had a relative who said he suffered from untreated bipolar (manic-depressive) illness. Finding the friends in your head is the best description of what the onset of a manic episode feels like (I'm bipolar). Mania, for some like me, feels better than any combination of drugs or alcohol or sex or anything. It is also common to feel very close to God, to the point that one feels like Jesus Christ (sun. morning is every day for all I care. "I'm so scared...but so are you," I think, reflects the fact that while mania feels amazing, it usually ends up in psychosis and unpredictable behavior (scaring Kurt and those around him). "I'm not going to crack OVER and OVER." "I killed you, I'm not going to crack," could be related to the fact that taking Lithium kills the relationship one often feels with God during mania. Mania also makes you really horny.
- Jeff Matheny, Gaithersburg, MD
I don't know if this has been suggested yet (haven't read all posts) but I think the "today I've found my friends -- their in my head" could be about self medicating. Thinking of the little drugs and receptors shooting off and on in the brain.

Also, Kurt has said that when writing lyrics, he would introduce one line and then contradict it or mock it in the next or a later line. So I would take a lot of his lyrics with a grain of salt. While they are not meaningless, the whole "he was really high at the time" thing really explains a lot.
- Kevin, Calgary, Canada
Ok, would everyone please stop obsessing over his death. Yes, it was horrible that he died and that he was so young. Some think he committed suicide, others think he was murdered, but what does it matter? I personally tend to lean toward murdered simply because of the letter that he left, the header and the footer aren't in his handwriting and it says "Dear Boddha" meaning buddha, and if it were truly written by him and he were a buddhist, he would put buddha, not bOddha. Also, he wouldn't be writing to buddha as if he were a god, because buddhists think of him as a teacher, not a diety. Also, if you take away the header and the footer it looks like it's just a going away speech like he was going to leave the business to spend time with his daughter. Also, none of their songs have anything about suicide, or anything that can be interpreted as a suicidal person. Oh, and for those of you calling Courtney a bitch, the only reason people say that is because they say the header and footer look like her handwriting, although i don't think they're that similar, however she is stupid as heck, especially now. Anyway you can say i wasn't alive when he died, but you'll be wrong, i was 4 or 5, and i was sad because I loved nirvana thanks to my sister, then i looked into his death later on. I'm not in denial, it just seems to make the most sense to me because he just didn't seem like he would kill himself. Anyway, just drop the subject, none of their songs are about it.
- Paul, zion, IL
Cory man, not only did you prove what Nelly said right in a single post, but you also made yourself look like a dickhead. The police file says kurt cobain killed himself. He did. It's not some huge conspiracy against you by courtney love. I won't write something stupid like "you are not a true nirvana fan" because I have a mental age over that of a 5 year old.
To me this song seems like a derranged person just piling out their thoughts, I've never liked it as much as the other songs on nevermind.
- Mupple, London, England
Ok Nelly from Canada this one is for you. Nelly you have no right in this world to tell me anything about Kurt and his problems. If u believe that Kurt killed himself then you should go marry Courtney Love now. Personnally I would rather have my "Genitals" cut off by a (deleted) then marry that whore. Nelly you are a stereotyper and u need to get a life now. You are not a true fan of Nirvana. Bye
- Cory, nunya, AR
Richard-Newport....if he was never perscribed the drug Lithium how could he have interpreted the meaning and effects of it so well? Have you ever suffered from manic depression or did you learn from a text book? This makes me kinda mad because text book people have no idea really only what they get from their guinea pig patients to go by. Sorry if I sound offensive but you live and learn.
- Kez, sydney, Australia
To me this song is about ok...he suffered manically..he endured the psycholical disturbances "cause today I found my friends" ect, he sought help and was prescribed Lithium and yes that does dull the mood (Nicholas). Anyone with manic depression enjoys the mania but come the down time it can be the pits and yes, drugs may seem to be the answer cause at first, you find a new side, it gives inspiration but when the mania is taken from you as Lithium does, you feel a loss. The drugs become inaffective to and so you are left with the depressive side. I can so relate to Kurt as many of you writers can too. It is sad to think that such a brilliant person could have faced the outcome he did but because we understand, he will never die :)
- Kez, sydney, Australia
that movie sucked and had very little to do with his last days
- Erik, Willow Hill, PA
So has anyone seen the movie Last Days. You guys have to,its a kick-ass movie inspired by the last days of Kurt
- SugarFree_Anarchy, Lethbridge, Canada
aka : Broken Mirrors
- dan, sydney, Australia
My favourite part- I'm so happy cause today I found my friends, they're in my head
- Ashley, Moncton, Canada
Just a few comments: (1) "a drug used by doctors and psychiatrists" - Psychiatrists are doctors; they are a kind of specialist doctor, just like a surgeon or a dermatologist. I should know, I am one. (2) Lithium can be used to treat several different illnesses, including bipolar affective disorder (manic depression), depressive disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. Also, it is rarely used (with varying degrees of success) to treat outbursts of anger and other unstable moods in people with damaged personalities. (3) The lyrics of this song suggest that the author is psychologically distressed, and perhaps suffered from instability of his mood. However, he is unlikely to have bipolar disorder, as his mood appears to change very rapidly throughout the song; he is more likely to be suffering the rapid mood changes experienced by somebody who has a damaged personality. (4) My understanding of Cobain is that he did not have bipolar disorder, which would have been likely to have resulted in him having multiple admissions to mental hospitals, thus severely interfering with Nirvana's recording and touring schedule. To me, he resembles somebody with a severely damaged personality, resulting in an unstable mood, poor self-esteem (sometimes to the point of self-loathing), and impulsivity. This is not to suggest that he was anything other than a highly intelligent and loving individual whose musical talent is undisputable. (5) It seems to me, therefore, unlikely that Cobain would ever have been prescribed Lithium, although he was clearly aware of this drug and its mood-stabilising properties. Perhaps he thought it would be a fitting title (remember - "Lithium" is not mentioned in the lyrics, a pattern in common with several Nirvana songs, e.g. SLTS) for a song about mood swings. On the other hand, we know that Cobain did use heroin and other street drugs (unsuccessfully) to try to alleviate his mental suffering - this is very common amongst people whose personalities have been damaged in some way during their childhoods.
- Richard, Newport, Isle of Wight, England
This song seems to me that lithium is used as a methaphor for God, it represents, to me, an extremely depressed person eventually finding God and finally finds happiness. Hac, believing in God isn't gonna hurt you. It will actually do the opposite, but consider this now before you die and are eternally screwed.
- Max, Austin, TX
I also love this song because I can relate to it. Songs that you can relate to are the best, Love Killed Cobain,
-peace
- grunge=dead, nowhereville, CA
The best Nirvana song, it gives you mixed feelings, and that is what a song is supposed to do for you, ingenius, seriously! This is also a great song to listen to if you are a seriosly mediacaly depressed loser like me! RIP Kurt, I ache without you, <3
- grunge=dead, nowhereville, CA
the muddy banks of the wishkah version of this, i believe, is better than the song that appears on Nevermind.
- Matt, Millbrae, CA
Wow I liked that WW2 interpretation

All I interpreted it as was depression/ no self confidence

ye I know thats kinda crappy but lol I don't care every1 could come up with there own meaning for the song for all I care as its not exactly obvious
- Declan, Liverpool, England
This is like every other Nirvana song ever, nobody knows what it actually means except Kurt and the boys. Its useless to even try to interpret the lyrics cause they could mean anything.
- Zachary, Charlotte, NC
great song, one of my favorites from nirvana. most of their songs don't really make sense, and can be interperated in a lot of different ways...like lithium.
- renee, Corona, CA
Jeezus christ, way to look into a song to much. Have any of you read his Journals? Yea, and don't get started on the 'invasion of privacy' BS. Anyway, he states how he hates how people misinterprate his lyrics. How the hell do you get WW2 out of this song? When I hear this song, I can picture someone on Lithum. It's like a negative though, with a postive thought evening it out. Like the Lithum correcting you. I don't look to much into it. I didn't even try to understand this song until I found out what Lithum was. Then it just made sense. I didn't try to compare to WW2 or Kurt commiting suicide, which by the way DID HAPPEN. You guys are just in denial because your demi-god who you left at the alter for PEARL JAM is dead. Get over it.

Nirvana is one of my favorite bands, and I hate how you kids with the spelling abilities of a 4 year old say you know about Kurt and his prolems and how he didn't kill himself and it was Courtney. Quit living in the past, most you guys weren't even ALIVE when his death happened, so you have no right to say anything. :)
- Nelly, Bumsville, Canada
whoa that actually makes a lot of sense...not sure if i agree but it could definitely be interpreted that way.
- Matt, Millbrae, CA
Have you consittered it being on a less personal level? Kurt was a pacifist(spelling). Yeah on a shallow level it was about his numb state due to lithium (like brain washing drugs they give to all depression sufferers). Look at this on a more broad level, think WWII. "Ifound my friends they're in my head" the jews only had a friend in them selves at this time. "Im so ugly thats okay cuz so r u" they were all "manufactured" to look alike plain, dirty, starved, beaten, and over all ugly "break my mirrors" do you really think they had mirrors at work camps. NOt to mention the symbolism of a broken mirror alone, bad luck for one, but also a loss of the veiw of who you are (like the the jews lost who they were). "sunday morning is every day for all i care" Jews didnt neccesarily believe in the christian and catholic holy day. "Light my candles" cna either be taken as vidual or mourning for a lost religion or identity. "In a daze cuz i found god" the camps wanted them to either give up their religion and find god in theirs, or it can be taken as finding god in a now weakend state (kind of like religious fasting). "Im so lonely thats okay I shaved my head" the jews were robbed of their families and then their identities when they where completely shaved. "im not sad. And just maybe im to blame from all i've heard. But im not sure." The jews where of course blamed for everything and perhaps this is in reference to the confused state wondering if maybe they where wrong. 'im so excited I cant wait to meet you there" perhaps this is in reference to finally dieing and reuniting, or maybe in reference to those who would sneak them food at organiozed meeting places. "im so horny thats okay my will is good" obviously they werent gettin any in the concentraition camps. "i like it im not gonna crak" acceptance but still holding on. "I miss you im not gonna crack" missing family but still refuseing to give up. "I love you im not gonna crack" a love for their god perhapps. "I kill you im not gonna crack" being willing to face death befopre giving up values. Kurt was not a jew im sure u all know he was a buddhist, but he's pretty creative, or i just read too deeply into his words. Imma WWII freak, but think about it it makes sence.
- Rebecca, Elkton, MD
As someone who has suffered from Bipolar Affective Disorder for many years, I think I can safely say that these lyrics are the lyrics of a man who misses his manic side when he is taking Lithium. Being manic is better than any drug you can take, and when the lithium takes that away you feel stunted, you know it's good to take it but you miss the manic moods. You hate them, but you love them.
- nicholas, Lancashire, UK, England
My alltime favorite Nirvana track is Lithium since 91. Just recently I'm looking into the suicide of my mother in 97 and discovers that she was on Lithium 3 months before she died...
How about that?
- mike, copenhagen, United States
this is probly my second fave nirvana song behind drain you.
- Matt, Millbrae, CA
My dad and I used to sing this song in the car together when I was 12. I had no clue what it was about back then; just knew it was my favorite Nirvana song (still is). I guess it's about trying to find stability and failing to stick to or change anything - can't kid yourself.
- John, Beaufort, SC
listening to this song you can almost feel transported into kurt's mind......lot of things
swirled around in there....made for great rock
anyway......
- Scott, chicago, IL
<> The technical name is bipolar affective disorder.
- Nessie, Sapporo, Japan
sick accoustic version of this song on the box ser
- clay, bostos, MA
you know what...i dont think necesarily (i know i cant spell) that this song is about anything specific. it can be about everything that went on and had happened in his life. and the only reason he was crazy at all is cuz of courtney love. she did it to him. the only reason i have any respect for her is because he loved her. their daughter looks exaclty like him, not her. but this song...the lyrics are awesome. so many people can relate to just one line or many. its awesome
- Sarah, Quito, South America
I think this song is about someone on lithium. All of their worries are gone now because of the medication. Because of that hes happy and doesnt care that hes ugly.
- Jack, St. Paul, MN
The bass line and drum beat to this song remind me ever so slightly of Grease's "Summer Nights". Tell me more, tell me more, 'cause I'm not gonna crack.
- Kent Lyle, Palo Alto, CA
This song rocks, and is one of my favorites. Just some random fact about the element lithium is that is's very reactive... if that has to do anythin with the song I don't know, but whatever.
- Michael, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I heard that this song is about a member of a religious cult who is forced to eliminate all his frears and anxieties. In this cult "Sunday morning is everyday" and during the chorus all of this persons denial about himself explodes (I missed you, I killed you, I'm not gonna crack). This person pays emotionally for not liberating themselves. Thank you to allmusic.com, a very unique and thought provoking interpretation.
- Joe, Stoughton, MA
The song's about depression, anxiety and alienation and it seems to be a reflection of how he felt before taking medication compared to how he felt at the time of writing the song. Kurt Cobain was obviously a very tormented man with a fragmented mind and serious psychological pain.And basically after taking the lithium he could probably handle his day to day existence a lot better with the correct chemical balance. The only negative about that is Kurt was an artist and all he could really do is be an artist, and he's instability was a fundamental component to his songwriting. I think that is one of the things that eventually lead to his self-destruction. When his life started getting better he had already established himself as a tortured individual and his fame meant that he could never really escape that. People looked up to him as some kind of demi- god and it almost became a responsibilty for him to uphold that status as a spokesman for all the troubled souls in the world.
Which he obviously couldn't handle. So he topped himself.
- Dave, Brisbane, Australia
I think its a song of suicidal contemplation which i know all about
heatherz@wcs.k12.va.us
- Heather, Bristol, VA
hey we're learning about Bipolar in health class! I'll have to bring this up somehow
- Will, Electric Ladyland
the bipolar thing makes perfect sense. like teenagers, people with bipolar disorder have raging hormones in an upswing, and think they are ugly and everything in a depressed mood. finding his friends in his head could be attributed to the somewhat schizophrenic symptoms that some people with bipolar disorder encounter...when i was diagnosed all they would do is ask me how many one night stands i had and such, because it is very much like a bipolar person to just impulsively do anything and anyone they feel like doing.
- Jesus, New York, NY
What I had always read was that this was about teenagers and their mood swings...which makes more sense than the bipolar thing...
so horny-that's okay my will is good (teenagers raging hormones, that are usually mistaken for being perverted and of ill-will)
so ugly-that's okay cus so are you (insecurity)
I'm so excited-I can't wait to meet you there (getting together with friends)
I'm so happy cus today I found my friends were in my head (feelings of lonliness, self-doubt and many different options opinions to consider)
Look at the lyrics, people.
- Chuck, Joppa, MD, MD
ah, this is one of my favorite Nirvana songs because i have bipolar and have to take Lithium also. I guess i feel better after listening to this song sometimes.
- Eric, Nashville, TN
this song is about a guy who dosn't care what happens "sunday morning is everyday for all i care" meaning that if he never worked again he'd be ok with that. he sing about nothing bothering him. and all the problems he has can be fixed ie. breaking your mirrors. even though its very hipacritical i think that noone should try to get in to kurts head he was a genus... his songs are deeper then anyone will ever understand... or were they??? did kurt write there songs as metafors or to be taken literal???
- gary, hamilton, Australia
I think this song is about a person who suffers from Bipolar Depression and takes lithium for his problem
- Johnny, Richmond, VA
come on people stop saying this is a song about him wanting to commit suicide. if you're looking for musical suicide notes, here are your three nirvana songs: all apologies, dumb, and you know you're right.
- alatriel, lothlorien, Other
This song is about Bipolarism, a mental disorder where the patient suffers from severe mood swings, hence the constant switch of the singers feelings ("I'm so happy...""I so horny...""I'm so lonely..." etc.) Lithium is a drug used to treat this disorder, hence the title. Don't look into the "In a daze 'cause i found God" line too much. People who are bipolar tend to have a sudden obsession with religion when they are more depressed because it gives them hope of a better life after this one (as a radical atheist and a cynic, i'm here to tell you there isn't one)
- Hac Barton, Las Vegas, NV
If this were the song that made him finally realize to "kill himself" he would have done it sooner. He died in '94, this song on the otherhand was written in '91. This song has nothing to do with the death of Kurt Cobain. I dont believe he did kill himself and if he did he didnt write about actually coming right out and killing himself. It took them 3 days to find his body after he was dead. Honestly, people who actually commit suicide dont tell anybody when it's going to happen.
- Rachel, Waurika, OK
I once read that this song is about a man who decides to find God before he kills himself... I personally do not believe that a single song done by Nirvana leads up to his "suicide". The reason I leave that in quotations is because there are different beliefs on the suicide vs. murder. There is enough evidence that points towards murder but it was closed as a case of suicide.
- Desiree, Church Hill, TN
ok, I think this song is about Kurt being a manic depressive who is taking lithium and is all f*cked up,"I'm so happy,
cause today I found my friends.
They're in my head."
But, I also think that's when he finally knew he would kill himself because he's talking about finding God, and he probably accepted the fact that he would because death has 5 stages,and plus, he was probably a little messed up when he wrote this song, so that's pretty much where everything else came in.
- Beth, Boynton Beach, FL
By far my favorite Nirvana track. Great lyrics. Cobain was the best poet/song writter i think i have ever seen. Long live the Cobain legacy!
- travis, sacramento, CA
Its a song about a fictional person who needs religon as a way to stay sane.
- Blake, Texarkana, AR
First of all Kurt was manic so that's probably were he got the insperation for this .........but the song is about a nervous break down and it was Kurt's way of expressing this to everyone. RIP Kurt.......Mal
- Mallory Jem, Bremerton, WA
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