Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana

The Meaning of the song “Heart Shaped Box”


Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana is one of their bizarre renditions that sounds like it could have several interpretations. Upon studying the words to the song one will find sex in Heart Shaped Box, childbirth in Heart Shaped Box, and women in Heart Shaped Box. You simply have to understand what Kurt Cobane was trying to say.

The symbols in Heart Shaped Box can be tricky to navigate, but this song was actually written as a love song to his wife Courtney Love. The lyrics, while very explicit at times, can make little sense if you don’t read between the lines. For starters Cobane mentions “she eyes me like a Pisces” and then goes on to say “I wish I could eat your Cancer when you turn your back.” He was a Pisces, which is why she eyed him like one, she was a Cancer, his alteration about what he wishes to do needs no explanation. But it makes for a great symbol in Heart Shaped Box of his feelings for her and her for him. It also plays into the sex in Heart Shaped Box since he’s made it pretty clear what he wants to do.

Sex in Heart Shaped Box continues. The second verse of this song refers to “meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet” and continues on to say “broken hymen of you highness I’m left back.” Cobane loved to use symbols in Heart Shaped Box to keep the lyrics from being too explicit but he is essentially speaking of them having sex, man eating orchids referring to her and the broken hymen of course happens after a woman loses her virginity.

Childbirth in Heart Shaped Box is a little more elusive. Fans of Nirvana and Courtney Love knows that the pair had a daughter during their marriage. The marriage is symbolized in the line “cut myself on angel’s hair and baby’s breath” which are types of flowers often seen at weddings. The birth of their daughter can be seen in the line “throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back.” Not only does this refer to child birth, with the umbilical cord, but it also back to sex with his closing statement of “climb right back.”

In and of itself, the song Heart Shape Box, meanings are those of a love story. Cobane was desperately in love with Courtney Love during their courtship and marriage. There aren’t a bunch of women in Heart Shaped Box, rather one women. This entire song is dedicated to her and their intimacy that they experienced during their courtship and marriage.