On some level I can understand the reluctance to embrace Nirvana, who stood so obviously on the shoulders of those who had gone before. Never mind that Kurt Cobain himself was all too painfully aware of that. That said, I don't know how anyone denies this pure blast of kid pain and joy, which seems to me to go to the heart of who Cobain was, what he wanted and what he was capable of. It's only a little longer than two minutes but it's pretty much got everything we've come to associate with Nirvana: raw vocals, the exaggerated soft/noisy dynamics, squealing feedback, surprising flashes of melodics, and a certain amount of self-consciousness in the lyrics, which are more straightforward than usual. In fact, it's the lyrics that make it, a story of a kid's night with his grandparents babysitting him while his parents are out on a date. The details are just right: "I kicked and screamed, said please, oh no" and "Had to eat my dinner there / Mashed potatoes and stuff like that / Couldn't chew my meat too good" and "I fell asleep, and watched TV / Woke up in my mother's arms" and, maybe best of all, "Grandma take me home X19." He completely inhabits the world of a seven-year-old, the constant bewildering onrush of overwhelming crises and banal routines disrupted, bicycles and and roast beef, the rapid insensible switch back and forth between terror and fun and peace, all the familiarities that define the boundaries we push against, that hold us in place. In Cobain's case, of course—in many, many cases—the boundaries ultimately gave way, a defining tragedy, or trauma anyway, and in that sense "Sliver" also represents a critical piece in understanding Cobain and Nirvana, and ourselves.