What was it about Kurt Cobain’s voice that made Nirvana so special? He had the perfect amount of gravel. There was a certain world-weariness. And you could tell that the guy had seen pain.
You can’t teach any of this. Kurt had a once-on-several-generations type of voice that once heard cannot be forgotten.
When Nirvana went to Sound City Studios in the spring of 1991, “Teen Spirit” was a recent composition in which all three members of the band shared in its writing. Kurt’s original motivation was to write a pop song in the LOUD-quiet-LOUD-quiet style of the Pixies. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic helped him shape things into the final product.
When Kurt sang the vocals, he was only about to run through three takes before his voice was shredded. What we hear is a composite vocal put together by producer Butch Vig.