Even in a genre as big as rock and roll, you can normally limit bands to specific genres. No matter what instrument they play or what kind of aesthetic they go for, you can usually get a good idea of the style they fit in based on a few songs. For anything on this list, there might as well not even be a gender.
From track to track, these are some of the most offbeat songs to ever make it onto mainstream albums, standing right next to knockout singles or leading the pack on their own. And these don’t just come from arthouse weirdos like Captain Beefheart or Frank Zappa. Most of these artists have had many hit records in the past, only to suddenly come up with songs no one would have even dreamed of then or since.
Compared to the usual top 40 songs that populate stations around the world, these are the ones that have you doing a double take on your speakers as you wonder who the hell you’re listening to. Weird doesn’t have to mean bad, and each of these songs was either influential or at the very least a good time to listen to throughout its runtime. If rock is meant to push boundaries, that’s basically pushing the genre off a cliff.
In a post-Nevermind world, Nirvana could have released anything it wanted and it would have sold like gangbusters. Ever since Kurt Cobain single-handedly changed the rock community overnight, all eyes were on him to see what new direction the grunge movement would take next. It was time to see what you could do, and Nirvana tested that theory multiple times on In Utero.
Even though snippets of songs like Very Ape or Tourette might be considered Nirvana’s weirdest song, Radio Friendly Unit Shifter is where things really start to go wrong. Sonically raw, never does a song title match its actual sound, as Kurt makes a caustic thump on his guitar before launching into a proto metal-style riff through most verses. Once things calmed down, Kurt just got started, dropping lyrics that paint a sad picture of how much he was hurting after the band’s rapid success.
Compared to the beauty notes on the rest of the record, it almost feels like the band are halfway to making a good piece of Nirvana with elements of torture sprinkled into the mix as well. Kurt could still write hit songs, but that was probably a more accurate description of what was going on behind the scenes. Beneath all those platinum records, things were slowly starting to fall apart.