Polly: Nirvana's Darkest Song

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Genre: Entertainment

License: UMG (on behalf of DGC); CMRRA, UMPI, Abramus Digital, LatinAutor - PeerMusic, ARESA, BMG Rights Management, and 15 Music Rights Societies

Family friendly? Yes

Wilson score: 0.9854

Rating: 4.9446 / 5

Engagement: 5.45%

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Shared July 24, 2019

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SOURCES

Jessica L. Wood, "Pained expression: metaphors of sickness and signs of 'authenticity' in Kurt Cobain's "Journals"
Popular Music Vol. 30, No. 3 (October 2011), pp. 331-349

NYTimes original review of Nevermind:
https://www.nytimes.com/1991/09/27/ar...

Band and producer talking about the track:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj3Vq...

Cobains 1991 NME interview:
https://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/n...

Cobain's 1992 Guitar World interview
https://www.guitarworld.com/artists/k...

Amazing site containing catalogue of Kurt's equipment, where I found the receipt for the Stella
http://www.kurtsequipment.com/

Polly wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polly_(...)

News clipping of '87 crime that inspired the song:
https://news.google.com/newspapers?id...

Duane Fish, "Serving the servants: An analysis of the music of Kurt Cobain"
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/10.10...

MUSIC

Blue Wednesday, "Birthday Girl"
https://soundcloud.com/bluewednesday/...

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Zachary Meyer

The more I learn about kurt cobain, the more I miss this man I never met

6 months ago | [YT] | 14,112

LordPadriac

The unplugged version of the song is much more powerful. The slight change to the lyrics make it clear the song was intended as a conversation between the rapist and his victim. A conversation dominated by the rapist to be sure but with just this tiny little voice of the victim that turns the whole thing like the victim did in the real story. People have to remember that it wasn't just another sick individual getting busted that prompted Kurt to write the song. If it had just been a story about another sick fuck getting busted he probably would have forgotten seeing it on the news by the end of the day and he sure as hell wouldn't have written a song about the fucker. The song is about Polly - not the rapist. The reason he wrote the song is because it is a story about a chick who was stronger and more badass at 14 than any of us will ever be. The chick was hitchhiking home after a concert when she took the wrong ride. She was tied up, tortured and raped repeatedly, but that's still not what prompted him to write the song. It was her strength and survival and how she got away that prompted him to write the song. This 14 year old chick stayed calm and rational enough through the rape and torture to play into the dude's sick fantasies to the point he started to believe she was into it and then made him believe it enough that he untied her and took her out for food where she escaped and ran into a convenience store to call the police. No one was going to help her so she helped herself. The song is dark to be sure but it was a celebration of the strength of the girl as well.

5 months ago (edited) | [YT] | 2,679

Anxietyprimev69

I don't know why, but I get the feeling that Kurt got a little annoyed every time people cheered after this one. The expression on his face when the song is finished at around 6:34 comes across to me as a "these guys are totally missing the point, but this is just a concert anyway, so I can't blame them" kinda look. But I'll stop trying to get into this guy's head. For all I know, he's just thinking about getting a Big Mac after the show.

2 months ago | [YT] | 230

Angelique

Some people are too deep and too beautiful for this harsh world- Kurt was one of them.

1 month ago | [YT] | 445

chadly63

In turn, the song "Rape Me" was written from the female's perspective, as if to say "Go ahead and do it, you'll get what's coming to you."

1 month ago | [YT] | 223

John Becic

thanks for ruining a song I thought was about a parrot

but no seriously, top content.

6 months ago | [YT] | 12,563

Crissy Sims

Kurt was an activist with a soul despite his own demons. A soft soul which is what i loved about him. His death wasn't scuicide but even if it was i don't blame his sweet nature for not being able to deal with the evil of the world which is likely the second biggest reason he loved heroin- for physical and emotional agony.

6 months ago | [YT] | 1,793

Monica S

After hearing this song 20 years later it's truly disturbing.

2 months ago | [YT] | 320

South Bay LA

He's the one
Who like all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he don't know what it means
Don't know what it means

1 month ago | [YT] | 207

Zoe Elizabeth

Love, kurdt. (The blonde one)

Me: im not gonna crack

6 months ago | [YT] | 1,544

Mark Slatin

...Cobain's look at the end when everyone claps for their song. It feels like a palpable disappointment -- that the audience didn't listen to the song and merely consumed the experience.

6 months ago | [YT] | 6,632

Olivia Grether

this is the first nirvana song I ever remember hearing, my dad had to inform me it wasn't about a bird

6 months ago | [YT] | 589

hsmv

Actually the chorus goes like this:
D5 (5th and 7th fret on A and D strings)
C5 (3rd and 5th fret on A and D strings)
G5 (3rd and 5th fret on E and A strings)
Bb5 (1st and 3rd fret on E and A strings)
For anyone playing :)

1 week ago | [YT] | 9

David T

That man was brilliant, and is extremely missed

1 month ago | [YT] | 41

Michael bronco

I read that when Bob Dylan heard them play Polly, he was impressed by Kurt's intellect.

5 months ago | [YT] | 617

pyrobryan

I wonder what he was thinking when he finished the song and people cheer like that.

6 months ago | [YT] | 7,457

ILOVEITWHENTHEYRUN

I’m a big fan of rap but kurt hits a wholeee different way

1 month ago | [YT] | 30

Michelle

And we still victim blame today. Why haven't men listened to who was essentially one of the most influential individuals of all time?

6 months ago (edited) | [YT] | 228

Grownass Mannn

Kurt, damn it why did Courtney kill such a great man

1 week ago | [YT] | 10

Guitarlbarker05

I love how you synced the music to him strumming in each little clip

6 months ago | [YT] | 729