By Tom Whitcomb
There aren’t many (any?) Nirvana songs you could describe as lighthearted. But the heaviest of them all is definitely “Polly.”
Nevermind’s midpoint is a haunting acoustic piece that’s based on a true story. Kurt Cobain wrote the song after reading a newspaper article about a serial rapist in his home state of Washington. The song’s history is outlined in a recent video essay by The Nerdwriter, right down to Cobain recording it on a $30 guitar he got at a pawn shop. But “Polly” also stands out on that iconic album for a different, less horrifying reason: It’s the only Nevermind track recorded at Madison’s Smart Studios.