Something in the way by Nirvana: Decoding The Song

You grow more and more despondent as Cobain takes you along with him through each line in Something in the Way. Nevertheless almost no one can deny the calm and decaying emotion that this song depicts. Cobain wrote this song in 1990 and wished to record the song's instruments with a full band. In May 1991, when Producer Butch Vig and Kurt tried recording it with a band, they were unsuccessful in producing it in the way Cobain envisioned. Kurt then played the song to Vig, sitting on a couch, to show him how he thought it should sound. Vig was so impressed with it that they recorded it right there and which later on went to become the core of the recording,with the first vocal take being used for the verses.


Cobain played the song on a 12-string Stella acoustic guitar which had five nylon strings that he had never tuned. The Drums and bass were added on later, with Dave Grohl on the drums playing a very subtle role to maintain the song's overall tone. Kirk Canning later on added cello to the instruments which is present in the final version of the song.


The lyrics have a somber sense to them that tell us of a homeless person who is living under a bridge with only his thoughts at his expense. The words reek of isolation and loneliness. Although Cobain himself had run away from his home during his teenage years, he had never actually come to a point where he lived under a bridge. 'Something in the way' has a lighter shade of the poignant 4 month long period of homelessness that Cobain lived through. Cobain told Nirvana biographer Michael Azerrad that the lyrics were "like if I was living under the bridge and I was dying of AIDS, if I was sick and I couldn't move and I was a total street person. That was kind of the fantasy of it".

DIY/Cover for the song:

The song is played on a Drop D tuning with all the other strings tuned down half a step. It's a simple 2 chord progression which is a decent feat for a beginner level player. They are a F#(i.e pressing down on the 4th fret on the 4th,5th and 6th string with your first finger and strumming them) and a D chord.