Over the nearly 30 years since Nirvana released “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the track has been covered in pretty much every way imaginable. By our own records, the last decade alone has seen such creative interpretations of the song as: “Child Rocking It On Drums,” “Uncomfortable Major Key Renditions,” “New Jack Swing Cover,” and mash-ups that mix Nirvana’s track with Justin Bieber, Adele, Alice In Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots.
Though it seems like there’s nothing else that can be done to the song, this week has managed to surprise us with perhaps the most unexpected cover yet: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in Classical Latin.
The ancient performance by “Kurtus Cobeanus” comes from The Miracle Aligner, who’s previously run songs like “Pumped Up Kicks” and “House Of The Rising Sun” through his personal time travel machine. Like his other tunes, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” has been reworked to sound like something you would’ve heard long in the past, from the instrumental through to the lyrics. The translation, especially, provides some excellent results. As the song plays, subtitles show what happens when you change the words from English to Classical Latin and back again. Thanks to this process, we now have verses that include memorable poetry like, “Prepare the spears, bring your friends” and refrains with catchy lines such as, “Without the light, there’s less danger.”
It’s a pity that the actual ancient Romans couldn’t enjoy this song in their time. We can only imagine what the world would look like now if depressed teens from millennia past knew that they could channel their frustrations into shouted choruses of “Salve!” and smashed lyres.
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