Open Nav

Behind the Lyrics: “Something In The Way” by Nirvana

Posted on March 18, 2022

Are you a fan of superhero movies? Have you gone to see The Batman yet? Been on TikTok lately? Then you’ve definitely come across the track, “Something In The Way” off Nirvana’s 1991 album ‘Nevermind.’ Featured as the theme song in the latest Batman film, “Something In The Way” has surfaced past Nirvana fans and grunge lovers, right into the mainstream spotlight. So if you’re new to the scene and the track, we thought we’d break it down for you – no movie spoilers, promise 🤫

One of the more underrated songs — at the time — off Nirvana’s most popular record, “Something In The Way” concludes ‘Nevermind’ with a pensive state of melancholy. Fans have stated the opinion that it tells a story of vagrancy in Kurt Cobain’s life, but this has been disproven by various sources. In the 1993 biography, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Cobain explained the concept…

“…like if I was living under the bridge and I was dying of A.I.D.S., if I was sick and I couldn’t move and I was a total street person. That was kind of the fantasy of it.”

The bridge is alleged to refer to Young Street Bridge in North Aberdeen, Washington where Cobain grew up. This particular bridge now serves as a memorial spot for fans to leave tributes to the late frontman, as he would often use it as a hangout and fish along the Wishkah river in his teenage years.

Paul Dano, who plays The Riddler in the new Batman film, actually stated that the track inspired his version of the character. In an interview, Dano revealed that he would listen to Nirvana in between takes to remain in character; they were essentially the soundtrack to The Riddler.

“In the script, Matt had actually mentioned ‘Something In The Way’ by Nirvana. So that right there, that song, those words, that refrain, became hugely important to me. Nirvana became a part of that [character].”

Paul Dano

So let’s get into the meaning behind the song and why it held such an impact. Here is the lyric analysis…


Underneath the bridge
Tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I’ve trapped
Have all become my pets
And I’m living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling
It’s okay to eat fish
‘Cause they don’t have any feelings

Analysis: As quoted above, ‘underneath the bridge’ is a sort of fantasy of Cobain’s, so a lot of the lyrics can actually be debunked; they don’t necessarily refer to his life or views. An example of this is his view on animals: he sings that he trapped animals to keep as pets, to fend off loneliness with their company. But in reality, Cobain preferred docile pets, like turtles as he mentioned in an interview. Keeping on the animal theme, the line about fish refers back to the 1600’s philosophy that animals don’t have feelings/don’t feel pain, which he would later relate to his zodiac sign, Pisces.


Something in the way, mmm
Something in the way, yeah, mmm
Something in the way, mmm
Something in the way, yeah, mmm
Something in the way, mmm
Something in the way, yeah, mmm

Analysis: The ‘something in the way’ is often translated by fans to be Kurt himself. It’s as if he felt like he was literally just something in the way — of his own life, of others around him — he basically felt like a burden. But the story behind this song is in fact, fiction so don’t believe everything you read 👀

What are your thoughts on Nirvana’s “Something In The Way”? Let us know on twitter @umusic!