With just four chords and unintelligible lyrics, Nirvana stirred a tidal wave of grunge that crashed over the mainstream – one that left an indelible mark on the musical landscape and the collective pop consciousness.

Grunge existed before Kurt Cobain came along, but it took his self-destructive poetry and unbridled charisma to unleash the unique amalgam of Black Sabbath-inspired sludge, Pixies-esque dynamics and arena-sized hooks upon the masses beyond the Pacific Northwest. Along with bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl, the trio was a revelation in 1991 – a time when radio was dominated by corporate rock (Bryan Adams) and innocuous rap (MC Hammer). Their unexpected level of success may have set forth a series of events that would ultimately lead to Cobain's suicide in 1994, but Nirvana's legacy isn't shrouded in darkness – the energy and originality of their music (released during just a four-year span) will forever signify a world of possibility.

In Worst to First, we usually only rank a band's studio albums. But since Nirvana only released three (the essential rarities collection Incesticide wouldn't even count), we decided to also cover their official compilations and live albums, too. Scroll through the gallery below to see how we rank the band's catalog.

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