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"You Know You're Right," recorded by Nirvana in late January of 1994 at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle, was the last complete song that Kurt Cobain would ever record.

The recording made itself known to the world in Spring of 2002, when Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl took Courtney Love to court after Love's refusal to release it. As of October 1, 2002, the legal battle is over and the song will be on a Greatest Hits album that is to be released in November.

The song was leaked onto the internet in late September of 2002 and found its way onto the airwaves soon after. Prior to this, the only available version of it was from a bootleg of a Chicago show on October 23, 1993. At this date, the song was titled "On The Mountain" and had slightly different lyrics.

The lyrics are as follows:

[Lyrics deleted for copyright reasons. - Ed.]

Not a very happy song.

Now, i don't follow Nirvana, so I'm quite sure the title of this song can be proved to be "You Know You're Right". With this title, and the refrain of this line serving as the chorus, you're given the impression that Kurt is almost acknowledging a voice, internal or external. A kind of reply which would seem to follow a comment like:

"Look at the sorry shape your life is in, man."

*Brief pause*
"You know, you're right."

So much imagery in these lyrics suggests a broken man, turning away. Trudging slowly into an earned space of non-existence.

Or perhaps the title refers to anger at someone's stubborness, maybe his own. "He/she/it is always, right, damnit". It's a source of constrant frustration, this thing's infallibility. Either way, if the title is "you're know you're right", I'm left with a feeling of exhaustion; of resignation. The kind that fills those leaving behind a lie or giving up a fight.

But i noted this nodeshell. and it got me thinking, what if this IS the correct title of this song? What if the refrain is actually, "You Know Your Right"? This subtle transition from contraction to pronoun changes everything.

This song is no longer a white flag of surrender. It's a call to arms. It's the sudden dawning of a very personal revolution. He will never bother, promise, or follow you again, to paraphrase. "If I speak a word again / I will crawl away for good". This is an ultimatum. To me, he doesn't seem to be wanting to go crawling anywhere.

And then, a thought appears - somewhere inside it focuses into clarity, in the space between blinks. "No thought was put into this. / I always knew it'd come to this." He knows now, it is his right. It is his destiny. He's "never failed to feel pain". Like Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining, he's always been here, in this moment. And what comes next is his right, given to him by his birth.

Yet I don't think this is in any meant to prophecy his death. Although, it definitely could be eluding to suicide, I think that if the title is "You Know Your Right", this song was meant as a closing of a chapter in time. This song was about severe transition and upheaval.

But that's just my opinion, I could be on drugs.

You Know You're Right is Kurt Cobain's suicide note, screamed over and over again to unsuspecting radio listeners worldwide.


In it, he tells a story of a man; here the lyrics are more coherent and structured than in any other of his songs; a man who lives in a world of pain and is surrounded by it in everything he sees. He sees the pain in all human beings and the pain they cause each other. The burden of his insight causes him to realise the futility of his existence and how, it would be a bane to those who love him and care for him, as he could never, at this point, see or feel or understand anything beyond the all-encompassing pain that has enveloped his life. He still recgonizes the dynamics and subtleties of everyday human interaction; but his judgement is clouded by all the hurt that swirls through his life.

He does his best; he knows the people around him might help him if he gave them a chance, if he helped them realise what he realises, without of course alluding to the pain that he knows so well, make them realise without realising the pain. But, he cannot lie and cannot delude himself. He either does not have the neccesary tools of the mind to articulate his thoughts or he doesn't really understand his own thoughts. Or, maybe he just isn't capable of the self delusion; that is so inherent in all of us; which enables us to pretend that everything is fine and nothing really bad has ever happened in this world. Maybe because of this latter, the pain wins over him and he succumbs to it, he relishes it and accepts it. In the course of the song, he comes to terms with it, and comes to terms with how it would forever distance him from all those that he loved, all those he knew and in fact all of the rest of humanity, for those who realise Pain in its totality never seek out company or solace in others like them, they only shun themselves and everyone else, refusing to break the bubble of suffering for fear of propagating that thing which is so dear and near to their hearts, or for fear of their very small worlds being invaded and conquered, or just for fear, pure, cold fear.

This man realises; that whatever he decides is the right thing to do; he cannot escape the harsh reality that has become his world and cannot escape the responsibility that comes with that reality, the responsibilty of making sure that the pain is contained, within him and him only. In the end, when the credits roll, whether he lives his life, or chooses to end it, or escape it; he knows that he is already a martyr and that the weight of all that pain and the responsibility that comes with it, rests solely on his hunched and broken shoulders. The final word screamed in this song is the word pain, its totality and utter finality inescapable to the man whose story is being sung.

In the case of Kurt Cobain, that man decided to end his life and cease the suffering. And in doing so, embraces and contains the pain inside himself, never to be vented outward, forever.

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