"Something In The Way" is the twelfth and final track1 on Nirvana's breakthrough album, Nevermind. It is one of the slower, more clearly enunciated songs on the album, giving a somewhat gentle, introspective ending to a album whose screamed lyrics and angry guitars had made such a splash. The song also, perhaps, derives a little lyrical and musical inspiration from The Beatles' Something.

The song is an autobiographical sketch, where Kurt Cobain describes his time living homeless under a bridge in Aberdeen, Washington as a teenager. Apparently, there is some controversy about how much Kurt embellished the story, but it would seem to be difficult to find solid evidence about whether or not Kurt ever lived homeless under the bridge. I do know, that as a teenager, even my brief forays into voluntary homelessness made a big impression on me. Even if Kurt used some poetic license, the song seems to very authentically communicate the feelings of being lost and abandoned.

Along with other things, Nirvana is credited with bringing realism back to rock music. Ripped jeans and plaid shirts replaced the elaborate make-up of glam rock. Small shows in local venues replaced arenas. And the street cred of living under bridges replaced throwing television sets out of hotel rooms. Cobain had some precedent for this---for example, on Nirvana Unplugged, he covered In the Pines, a Ledbelly song that also deals with themes of homelessness and isolation. Rock music has always had an urban side and a rural side, a glamorous side and a raw side, and Cobain quickly staked out his turf. He was a product of living underneath a bridge, in Aberdeen, Washington. And not even Aberdeen's biggest bridge: the bridge that is generally considered to be the inspiration for the song, is not the main Highway 101 bridge across the Chehalis River, is not even the smaller Highway 12 bridge over the Wishkah River, but the Young Street Bridge over the Wishkah, a narrow, two lane bridge connecting the main part of Aberdeen to a smaller, suburban area across the Wishkah. Even if Kurt Cobain did invent part of the song, he seemed to use a very real, and very definite place to set his story.

1 There is an additional "hidden" track, "Endless Nameless", but this was not included on all releases of the album.

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