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Where to begin? Nevermind is one of the most influential albums ever written. Once in a while, there comes along an album which really typifies that generation. Bob Dylan did it, The sex pistols did it and then at the start of the nineties, Nirvana came along and, in the words of Noel Fielding, made Guns and Roses look like a bunch of gay pirates.
Grunge was not new. It was popular on the underground scene, but had never done great business. The Pixies, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden all had modest success. Nirvana changed all that and alternative rock was introduced to the mainstream. Kurt Cobain was suddenly elevated to a level of stardom he never wanted, and was ultimately unable to cope with.
"Nevermind came along at exactly the right time. This was music by, for, and about a whole new group of young people who had been overlooked, ignored, or condescended to."
The three best tracks on Nevermind for me are Smells like teen spirit, In bloom and Breed. I've learned to play lead on all three and although none are hugely challenging to play, particularly if you like your power chords, they still move me. Lithium and Come as you are also regarded as classics in their own right, though I find Lithium a little too uninvolving.
These five tracks are all jammed in right at the start of the album with the result that the remaining tracks can never match the brilliance with which it began.
Key on many of the tracks were nonsensical lyrics, something that led itself to much lampooning.
Smells like teen spirit has its "A mulatto, an albino. A mosquito, my libido, yeah."
In bloom starts with "Sell the kids for food, weather changes moods."
Breed tells us "We could plant a house, we could build a tree. I don't even care, we could have all three."
Some people have been known to overanalyse and stick their own beliefs on the meaning with such one sided stubbornness that they have literally vanished up their own back passage. The simple fact is that Cobain knew what he meant, and even then probably not all the time.
Grohl said Cobain told him lyrics always came second to the music. There's undoubtedly anger and pain and loss in much of the more coherent songs. Those feelings Kurt did speak about, concerning a dysfunctional relationship that came to end around the same time. Then along came Courtney Love, so little change there.
The rough rasp of Cobain's voice can be heard on even the softest of songs, with some tracks having a quiet/loud split to them that he claimed to have lifted from the Pixies. In smells like teen spirit, it sounds downright painfull in the way that only Kelly from the Sterophonics comes close to.
Cobain came from a very small town out in the countryside near Seattle. He found the mindset and attitudes of many people there infuriating and would do a little lampooning of his own with in bloom. Ironically enough, his home town now bears a sign: Welcome to Aberdeen. Come as you are.
It's all gone a bit Pete Tong
To say that Cobain didn't handle the massive success of Nevermind very well is a bit like saying the Pope's a little religious. But to start with, he wasn't so much tortured young poet as drug addicted prodigy. He already had a serious heroin habit. Something him and his wife (Love) continued together.
Cracks appeared in the marriage. Cobain never wanted huge success. Love always craved it, but would never achieve it. In Utero (1993) would be Nirvana's last studio album. In 1994, he killed himself. There's been much speculation since, but it is overwhelmingly likely it was exactly what it looked like.
The core of Nirvana was Kurt Cobain (Lead and vocals), Dave Grohl (drums) and Krist Novoselic (Bass). Novoselic's music career would never reach the same dizzy heights. Grohl would go on to drum for Queens of the Stone Age in their breakthrough album, Songs for the deaf. Then he'd pick up the guitar and found Foo Fighters.
At a time when American Pop was indulged in sticky-sweet pop and not-so-block-rockin' dance artists such as New Kids On The Block, C&C Music Factory and M.C. Hammer, as well as long-haired made-up tough-guy rockers/balladeers such as Poison, Motley Crue and Nelson, the time was ripe for someone to come in and fark everything up.
Enter Nirvana, an unclean, rough, anti-establishment band from Seattle that introduced the rest of America to a sound unlike any other. When their video for the band's first commercial single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," premiered on MTV, youth culture knew the times were a-changin'.
But none of us knew what impact the band would have on popular culture for years to come. Some choose to deny they have.
I first heard Nevermind a couple of months before the band exploded into the mainstream. For the first time in my adolescence, I found an album I could identify with. After years of listening to mainstream pop, I had just started delving into the underground world of music. I felt all the confusion, uncertainty and rebellion that was unleashed in the album's sounds and lyrics. No, I didn't sit back and analyze every lyric on the CD. But for some reason unbeknownst to me, it was mine.
As part of the Nirvana backlash, I sold my CD in college to get a few extra bucks. However, a couple of years later, I missed that angered sound that so reminded me of my youth. I also found a new appreciation for the band, realizing that their music was worlds better than much of the popular "angst" music that is out today.
This copy of the CD is never going to leave my sight.
Smells Like Teen Spirit (Track 1): With the lights out it's less dangerous. Here we are now; entertain us. I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now; entertain us. This one opens with one of the most memorable guitar riffs in rock history, thanks to lead vocalist/guitarist Kurt Cobain. Follo
wing is a loud, crashing drum beat from Dave Grohl and a downbeat bassline from Chris Novoselic. I'm sure the band (especially Kurt) eventually came to regret this being as such, but this will always be the song that culturally defines Nirvana.
Come As You Are (Track 3): Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach, as I want you to be. As a trend, as a friend, as an old memory. An extremely dark song (as opposed to those bouncy, happy Nirvana songs) that has slight hints of an old Cure song, with a mysterious bassline, a guitar strapped with a wah-wah pedal and Kurt's loud, raspy, I-was-never-a-choirboy vocals.
Lithium (Track 5): I'm so lonely. That's okay, I shaved my head, and I'm not sad. And just maybe I'm to blame for all I've heard, and I'm not sure. Perhaps one of the more "melodius" tunes by the band, it is basically made up of Kurt's surprisingly intelligible vocals and lyrics and a plucked guitar. Each verse is broken with loud wails surrounded by raging guitar and drum. Almost like a ballad with attitude.
Drain You (Track 8): Chew your meat for you. Pass it back and forth in our passionate kiss from my mouth to yours, 'cause I like you. Perhaps it's Kurt's vocals that hook me into this song. This is one of those tunes that defines the loudness and greatness that can be achieved simply among a guitar, a bass and a set of drums. Its disturbing lyrics, combined with loud, angered vocals, raging instruments and a unique, homemade, almost-science-fiction-like interlude make it sound like a love song in Hell.
On A Plain (Track 11): The finest day that I ever had was when I learned to cry on command. Love myself better then you. I know it's wrong, so what should I do? I'm on a plain. I can't complain. I'm on a plain. Ah, a song for those who want to have those "me" days. The lyrics are what make this song. Although they have a seriously depressing to
ne, they are like poetry, akin to Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath. It's a great rock song, with beautifully aching and harmonizing, loud instruments, nice background vocals and a classic early 90's beat.
Endless, Nameless (Hidden Track): Death is what I am. Go to hell. Go to jail. In back of that crime, here I am, take a chance. Dead. Die. The most disturbing track on the album, not only because it is hidden fifteen minutes after the last track, and not only because of its loud, unpleasant sound, but because of the lyrics. The simple lyrics, which are hard to decipher on the surface, are about death, over and over again. The words are somewhat prophetic glimpses of Kurt Cobain's future. The guitars and drums combine to create a dissonant sound that would leave Igor Stravinsky in awe. Although I don't find this song aesthetically pleasing, listening to it years after Kurt's suicide gives the song an entirely new perspective. Particularly in realizing how troubled Kurt Cobain was, even a few years before his suicide.
This album isn't supposed to be happy-go-lucky, pop fluff. That's pretty much a given. But nine years after its release, it has become a huge part of our history, musical and otherwise. Is this album for everyone? Certainly not. However, in order to gain an appreciation for popular music, this album is certainly a necessity.
I must have been one of the only people of my age who had never heard any Nirvana songs until I was actually at university. Smells Like Teen Spirit and a couple of other songs were played regularly at the clubs I used to go to and I ended up buying this album. Incidentally, 2011 marked the 20th anniversary of the album, and a remastered edition with a number of new songs and takes was released. My edition, however, is just the normal one.
Nevermind has been described as one of the defining albums of the 90s, marking the start of the grunge scene in music and inspiring generations of alienated teenagers. When I was younger, even though I had never heard any of Nirvana's music, I was aware of the cult of Kurt Cobain, who sadly committed suicide at the height of the band's success, and there were loads of people at my school and college wearing Nirvana hoodies.
The atmosphere of the album is grungy and dark. It should be played in a darkened room, or (even better) a smoky club. Preferably at night and with plenty of vodka to hand. It's an album for when you feel angry and want to rock out. This is relentless, guitar-based rock.
The music itself is brilliant. Smells Like Teen Spirit has a memorable guitar intro, while the yearning Come as You Are and angry Lithium are incredibly catchy. The album as a whole replays repeated listening and is full of real feeling.
The lyrics, though, do get a bit Kevin the Teenager. From the repeated "Go away" of Territorial Pissing, Stay Away and the "oh well, whatever, never mind" of the opening track, it's easy to see why this music appeals so much to teenagers. Some of the emotions expressed are a bit more sympathetic: "I'm so happy, 'cause today I found my friends" will appeal to anyone experiencing feelings of alienation, while Something in the Way's repeated melancholic phrasing adds a softer note to the album.
I couldn't give this album any less than five stars, really. It's not something to I listen to all the time, but it's perfect for the right mood and it's a well-made and powerful album that made a huge impact when it was released and has stood the test of time.
1. Smells Like Teen Spirit
2. In Bloom
3. Come As You Are
7. Territorial Pissings
8. Drain You
9. Lounge Act
10. Stay Away
11. On a Plain
12. Something in the Way
Just over twenty years ago, on the 24th September 1991, one of the most significant albums in music history emerged from the underground rock scene to become a record destined to be more than just a cult classic. In fact, 'Nevermind' is still celebrated today as one of the most important albums of all time: it infested in the ears of mainstream music lovers and garnered the American trio, singer, song-writer and guitarist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl, much unexpected commercial success. Nirvana's first album 'Bleach' failed to make quite the same impact upon its release in 1989 and Cobain in particular wanted to ensure that the group's second album was one created because of their influences instead of succumbing to the pressures of the grunge scene. The grunge sound, a genre famed for its distorted guitar arrangements and punk/metal aspirations, is still a notable facet of 'Nevermind's' appeal but Cobain wanted to craft melodies comparable to his idols, The Pixies and R.E.M.
'Nevermind' is an album which I've had in my record collection for many years but it's not one that I listen to very often; at first, I thought that the twelve songs were too similar and not as imaginative or as intriguing as those from the group's next release, 'In Utero'. Yet it's undeniable that 'Nevermind' illustrates an unmistakable, brooding sound which manages to be bold and insecure all at once. 'Nevermind' will for many people be Nirvana's signature record, their 'Sgt. Pepper' or 'Ziggy Stardust', but does that mean you should rush out and buy it if it's not already in your CD collection?
'I FEEL STUPID, AND CONTAGIOUS' (Lyrics from 'Smells Like Teen Spirit')
The solitary scratches of the electric guitar opens the record on a much quieter note than some would expect until the bass and drums intrude to create one of the most distinctive song introductions of all time. 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' was a song born out of Cobain's desire to make the definitive pop record a la The Pixies but has become an anthem in the truest sense of the word: the song fluctuates seamlessly between anarchic and quieter moments as the narrator stares directly into the eyes of puberty before melting into a puddle of anxiety. The album's opener is very much a self-destructive voyage back into the world of youth where everyone - and everything - is scary and all you can do is try and lose yourself in a carefully crafted, self-assured alter ego. There are many reasons as to why this song has become an anthem over the past two decades and I think that's primarily because everybody, at least in my generation and a little before that, can identify with the narrator as they battle to try and fit in amongst other teenagers who feel just as self-conscious as they do. Cobain's voice is at its jagged best throughout track number one and, in my opinion, helps make 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' such a raucous, disgruntled song with unparalleled energy.
The album's second song 'In Bloom' is an address to the critics who fail to understand Nirvana for their musical direction and lyrics; arguably, this is a song that was written a little before its time and before the aftermath and impact of 'Nevermind's' release, but that doesn't stop track number two from being every bit as impressive as its predecessor. What I think really stands out about 'In Bloom' is the fact that the chorus lasts longer than the verses; it seems as if Cobain is trying to draw attention to his 'pretty songs' and dismiss the everyday occurrences the verses discuss, such as the way the weather changes and fruit bruises. There is a double entendre with such lyrics: a sexual undercurrent that's as powerful as the slick guitar work and fuzzy bass line which is signified in the promotional video as the band, dressed in restrictive suits reminiscent to those worn by 1960s group The Beach Boys, plays to crowds of pre-pubescent, screaming girls. 'In Bloom' is a little similar to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' in its musical arrangement too, with the way the chorus is more vibrant and shouty than the verses, but the tone and message of the song is different enough for both tracks to be distinguishable in their own right.
'Come As You Are', another infamous singles release from 'Nevermind', is a marked change to the two tracks beforehand: 'Come As You Are' is not overwhelmed by its instruments at any point, making it easier to hear the many clichés Cobain has crammed into the song's three and a half minutes. The clichés, I feel, are sardonic, as if the narrator is noting how most decisions and actions in life are far from being our own but it's Kurt's voice that is really allowed to shine throughout 'Come As You Are': he sounds apathetic, almost dazed, which works well alongside the more insipid guitar melody. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy 'Come As You Are' and it's well placed on the album as it offers the listener a change to the chaotic first two tracks, but it's a song which stays on one level throughout and lacks that moment that lifts it away from its indifferent tone.
Track number four is an entirely different 'Breed' altogether with a scorching, incessant riff and quick fire drum roll. What I think stands out the most about 'Breed' is the fact that the tune is deafeningly loud yet Cobain's vocals almost reach the same level of noise. The scratchier quality of his voice, which was dulled a little during 'Come As Your Are', re-emerges again and helps to ensure that 'Breed' is a song with its roots firmly planted in the punk genre. The lyrics are about a couple's desire to settle down and to start a conventional family life together, even though the rebellious melody contradicts the lyrics throughout the song. I personally like this contrast as it suggests that love and the desire for a family life is an aspiration for many people, whoever they are and however they were raised. To me, 'Breed' stands out for its confident combination of such a harsh melody and grounded lyrics.
'LIGHT MY CANDLES IN A DAZE COZ I FOUND GOD' (Lyrics from 'Lithium')
'Lithium', the album's fifth track, was another song released for public consumption and another song which utilises the band's desire to create records with contrasting instrumental moments, from the quiet to loud. Although that musical pattern is not yet tedious, for most people I imagine 'Lithium' would sound quite similar to 'In Bloom' and a little like 'Come As You Are' but it's one of the songs on 'Nevermind' which boasts a succinct story, about how one person finds God and desperately needs to preserve their new religion. I enjoy 'Lithium's' narrative but the tune is a little lifeless; even during the rockier moments, it seems stunted somehow and lacks the genuine madness of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and 'Breed'. However, 'Lithium' is a notable song as it demonstrates a more restraint vocal effort from Cobain, one that suits the tone of the song greatly.
Song six is a remarkable change to anything else on the album: 'Polly' is 'Nevermind's' only acoustic song and it relies heavily on the softer tones of Cobain's vocals and the folk-like guitar is the only instrument present besides the slight cymbal clashes. 'Polly' is a true story of how a fourteen year old was kidnapped after a punk rock show and was tortured by her capturer for several days until she charmed him into releasing her. 'Polly's' lyrics are amongst the seediest and most insightful on the album and I think Cobain does a really good job of letting the hostage-taker's thoughts emerge gradually throughout the song's mere three minutes. The fact that the girl was christened Polly was also a smart move as it's a name traditionally associated with parrots and acts as a metaphor for how the young girl was trapped against her will, forced into behaving however her capturer wanted her to. I'm also glad that the band decided against trying to make this song an up-tempo number because the simpler speed allows the story to unravel alongside an uncomplicated backdrop.
'Territorial P***ings' allows the album to return to its high-energy vibe but begins with the cult-like claims that everyone should love one another unconditionally at all times. The squeaky voice is directly juxtaposed to Cobain's gruff yells as the song repeatedly urges the listener to find another way of living, away from paranoia and isolation. What is most striking about 'Territorial P***ings' is the way that when Cobain talks from one person's perspective, the music is calm and allows his voice to shine but when he's talking about the collective force of a cult, his voice becomes almost unrecognisable as his screeches merge into the music. At less than two and a half minutes in length, 'Territorial P***ings' is not one of 'Nevermind's' essential songs and appears weak in comparison to the subtle presentation of 'Polly' but I bet it would be a hell of a live track for its speed alone.
The first time I heard 'Drain You', I instantly thought of 'Bruise Pristine', a Placebo song which features a middle-eight of a similar quality with tinny chimes which break away from the full force of a rock track into something more placid. 'Drain You' is a song about how a couple eventually becomes a shameless parody of another: how in the beginning it's all about love yet the relationship disintegrates over time because of how the two lovers become too reliant upon one another. 'Drain You' has some of the most memorable lyrics from the entire album and Cobain sings this one in a way which allows you to smirk at the words without becoming totally sidetracked by the rhythm. It took me a couple of listens to really like it but 'Drain You' is one of the finest songs not to be released from 'Nevermind' as it showcases Cobain's more observational, sarcastic song writing style.
'I CAN'T LET YOU SMOTHER ME' (Lyrics from 'Lounge Act')
With a bubbling bass line introduction, 'Lounge Act' starts in a different way to the majority of the album but then succumbs to Nirvana's knack for creating louder and quieter moments throughout their songs. For the most part though, the music itself is not responsible for such a contrast: it's mainly Cobain's voice which controls the dynamic and 'Lounge Act' is one of the few songs on 'Nevermind' which really displays all sides of his voice, from the less angsty, more melodic tones to the ruthless rasps. Track number nine seems to be a narrative about one girl going from one man to another with the friendship of the two men being highlighted as a point of friction. 'Longue Act' is comparable to the general sound of the Gin Blossom's from the more restraint tone of Kurt's voice to the bouncy guitar work which loses its optimism because of the vocal effort. I really enjoy 'Longue Act' for its concise storytelling and I feel it's one of the best songs on the latter stage of the album for that reason.
'Stay Away' picks up the pace a little more as it bounds into action with the booming drums before resulting into one of the rockiest songs on the second half of the album. I like the way that the guitar twitches throughout the song: it seems as if Cobain has almost lost control of his instrument which is highlighted as the tune flickers to a conclusion. The lyrics contrast two scenarios but there does not seem to be a deeper meaning to this track: instead, it's one of the rawest, most incomplete songs on the album, both in musical style and lyrical presentation. I enjoy the tense musical aspect of 'Stay Away' but it's not one of 'Nevermind's' defining songs.
'On A Plain' boasts a similar musical pattern but lyrically, it's much more memorable and laconic, discussing the way the narrator loves themselves more than anybody else around them because love has never been reciprocated before. One of the best things about 'On A Plain' is the way that Nirvana have utilised harmonies to emphasise the narrator's love for themselves: the echoing vocals really highlight the point which brings a different flavour to a song that otherwise would have sounded too similar to its predecessor. The song's guitar introduction was ripped from the Leo Sayer song 'Long Tall Glasses' and some of the track's lyrics are revived from the demo recording of 'Verse Chorus Verse', a song Nirvana recorded at the time of the 'Nevermind' sessions. 'On A Plain' stands out to me as it shows a different side to the production values of 'Nevermind' because of the harmonising.
The album's final song begins in a mellower manner with just the lone strums of a guitar before Cobain's melancholic voice lurks over the tune. 'Something In The Way' has been recorded to emphasise the chorus more than the verses but this is more dramatic than the contrast between those two extremes on other songs and I personally like that; in my opinion, the band never truly got to grips with such instrumentation until 'Heart-Shaped Box' from 'In Utero' but 'Something In The Way' is the purest, least complicated example of such a vision from 'Nervemind'. Whilst the juxtaposition of the musical presentation is at the forefront of the song, I do feel that track number twelve leads the album to a somewhat dreary conclusion; lyrically, it's a haunting song which discusses how one individual only has animals for company and such eeriness is emphasised by Cobain's vocals. Yet, the song seems to melt away without a real killer moment which lessens its impact in general.
OVERALL: WHY SMELLING LIKE TEEN SPIRIT AIN'T A BAD THING...SOMETIMES
Whilst I do enjoy all of the songs from this album to different degrees, and I enjoy listening to the album as a whole from time to time, I still stand by my original sentiment that the album is a little samey in places: to the untrained ear, and by that I mean those who're not fans of rock music, I think they would find this album a little overwhelming because of there being very little variation, with the exception of 'Polly'. To somebody that does listen to a lot of rock music, I can understand why this album is so readily celebrated: the lyrics are not so much poetic but rather raw, words spoken through the eyes of a soul who dislikes many but is desperately seeking security and salvation. As I said, I don't think Nirvana fully got to grips with their desired melody construction until their following album but I think that's an essential part of 'Nevermind's' appeal: it sounds like a record made on impulse rather than one which had been rewritten and re-recorded several times over.
Some may feel that 'Nevermind' is over-hyped but to me it really tells the story of a generation who attempt to pass from their teenage years into the adult world seamlessly whilst contending with pressures from all around. What's even more frightening is the fact that such an attitude is echoed around the world today. Ultimately, that was the band's greatest achievement: to create such an honest, unintentionally thought-provoking record at a time when they were abandoning their previous identity. Yes I do recommend 'Nevermind' but I feel that you'd have to be a part of the younger generation from the past twenty or so years for it to be a record that really resonates with you; it's not as friendly or as colourful as other iconic albums from the last century, such as 'Sgt. Pepper', but 'Nevermind' is a record which is loud, unapologetic and oddly addictive due to the layers of sounds throughout each song and its attention to the change in adolescent identities.
Length: 42.39 minutes approx.
Genre: Alternative rock with grunge influences
(Please note: review may appear elsewhere under the same username.)
The video to the lead single, Smells Like Teen Spirit, benefited from saturation airplay on MTV, swiftly installing the band as the new champions and, some would say, saviours of rock. The video primarily focused on Kurt Cobain peering into the camera, hair ruffled, half-sneering and snarling his way through lyrics that soon developed legendary status. Disillusioned kids in the audience, boredom sketched on their faces, reacted by jumping with liberation to their feet and started dancing like US teenagers hadn't done since the sixties.
There is no question that this riff-heavy song is ultra-important in rock history, but some nagging doubts linger surrounding its complete originality. Did Nirvana borrow riffs from Boston's More Than A Feeling? Yes, there are slight similarities but it's an identifiably common problem for musicians to always be original, as Cobain subsequently confessed during On A Plain. Whether Smells Like Teen Spirit was a 100% original piece of work or slightly borrowed would, as time passed, become a redundant concern. For now, dejected youth had a hero in whom they could relate - the so called Generation X had been born.
Much in common with the Grunge movement, Nirvana's influences were readily evident. Anyone familiar with Black Sabbath during the period when Ozzy fronted the band identified them as a major inspiration source, coupled with a healthy obsession with Punk/New Wave. The collision between Punk and vintage rock was never more apparent than on Lithium, with its wonderful use/borrowing/ pilfering of the loud-quiet-loud technique perfected by Sabbath in 1973 on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Cobain declared he was happy on this song thanks to friends in his head but in truth he was far from it, his disposition to a depressive state aggravated by the conflicting struggles of fame and fortune, whilst yearning privacy. Lithium was a simplification of the album, characterised by wild mood swings swaying randomly from gentle to aggressive, with little room for compromise.
On Territorial Pissings it was pure maximum adrenalin Punk all the way as Cobain prophetically shrieked his desire for escape. Elsewhere could be found sedate acoustic numbers, providing shelter from the storm, notably on the two bookends that closed sides one and two (vinyl/cassette versions), Polly and Something In The Way.
In just a few weeks Nirvana were thrust from nowhere towards a global stage, with media interest attracted to the lead singer. Cobain found fame difficult to handle. Falling into the same trap that snared so many icons before him, he became entangled with drugs. From there onwards his life spiralled hopelessly beyond control, culminating in tragedy in April 1994. Speculation and conspiracy theorists dwelled over the album's first three songs with their lyrical references to guns. Despite his assurances on Come As You Are that he didn't possess a gun, as dramatic events unfolded in 1994 the truth concerning his relationship with the weapon took a sinister twist. In the wake of Nevermind new bands sprang up overnight trying to emulate the Nirvana sound, oblivious that it had existed for years already, only in two different camps.
Nevermind was the second studio album to be released by grunge band Nirvana. The album was released in 1991 and nothing much was expected of it after Nirvana's first album Bleach only sold 30,000 copies when it was released. However, after the first single off the album, Smells Like Teen Spirit, was released and reached number 7 in the UK singles charts more was expected of this album. Nobody though, could have predicted the amount of succes that followed the release of the album. Nevermind knocked Michael Jackson's Dangerous off the top of the billboard charts in January 1992 and had been cerified platinum in November 1992.
The quality of the tracks on Nevermind is very high and every song is great and very original. The lyrics on the album are very interesting and quite strange with some of personal favourite lyrics being 'I'd rather be dead than cool' from the song Stay Away and 'I'll keep fighting jelousy until it's f*****g gone' from the song Lounge Act.
This album is quite rightly regarded by many people is the greatest album ever because of it's originality, interesting lyrics and good melodies. For £5 you should definitely buy it.
Nevermind is undoubtedly Nirvana's most accessible and commercially successful album. If you only own one Nirvana record, chances are it will be this one. With songs like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Come As You Are" this is the album that catapulted Nirvana onto the world stage.
For me it is far from their best work, but I still love the album. You can't beat the crunching riffs and the polished perfection of the production on this album. For all the polish and production however, there are still genuine moments of raw and frustrated angst. "Territorial Pissings" is just brutal and "Drain You" is up there with the best tracks on the album. Conversely, songs like "Polly" and "Something In The Way" take an acoustic approach and exude a deep brooding sense of torment.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kurt Cobain said that despite the album being on CD he still hoped that people would here 2 distinct different 'sides' of the album (as if it was on tape or LP). I would say this is definitely the case, with both sides starting with a heavy rock anthem ("Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Territorial Pissings" respectively) and finishing with the more melodic, acoustic numbers ("Polly" and "Something In The Way").
I would certainly recommend this album to anybody who is into hard rock. With its balance of crunching riffs and haunting acoustic tracks "Nevermind" is a masterpiece in its own right. In my opinion "In Utero" and "Bleach" are Nirvana's best work but "Nevermind" is also a fantastic album. For me, it is a good introduction to the band and if, like me, you find yourself yearning for something a bit heavier Nirvana have an entire back catalogue of angst and anger for you to check out.
In 1985 Kurt Cobain met fellow Melvins fan Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington and formed a band. After a series of name changes they finally settled on Nirvana and released their debut album, 'Bleach' (working title; 'Too many Humans') with Sub Pop in 1989 with Chad Channing as drummer (he would later be replaced by Dave Grohl). Listing their influences from a diverse range of musicians including Mudhoney, the Pixies, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, Kurt Cobain sought to create a mixture of punk and pop music.
After Cobain's tragic death in 1994 Krist Novoselic went on to form the less than successful 'Sweet 75' and later 'Set Adrift' with Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets) and Bud Gaugh (Sublime). Dave Grohl went to drum for just about everybody including Queens of the Stoneage, Tenacious D and Nine Inch Nails and then formed the 'Foo Fighters'.
Released in September 1991 'Nevermind' was possibly the most underrated album ever at pre-release. The first album to be released on Geffen with Dave Grohl as the new drummer had predicted sales in the region of 250,000. By the following January it was selling 300,000 copies a week and was number one on the Billboard charts and is now generally considered one of the defining moments of the 90s.
Produced by Butch Vig with some help from Andy Wallace (who had previously co-produced Slayer's 'Seasons in the Abyss') its working title was 'Sheep' in reference to the Cobain's sudden wealth of followers.
The sound is cleaner and more pop influenced than their debut with many of the songs featuring shift dynamics changing from quiet verses to loud ferocious choruses and centring on an amalgamation of power chords and pop hooks. This was the first time alternative rock would meet the mainstream.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
'With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now entertain us'
Kicking off with the song that would launch Nirvana into the mega star status, '... Teen Spirit' is based around a simple 4 power chord progression using loud and quiet dynamics to signal the section changes and is the only track to credit Novoselic and Grohl as well as Cobain as song writers. It has been played so many times it's easy to miss how great it was the first time you heard it with the controversial video featuring burnt out cheerleaders and moshing students in a school gym. No-one had ever heard anything like this before. These geeky misfits suddenly became heroes overnight. It was alternative rock turned into mainstream pop with a sing-a-long quality. It is the simplicity of this track that makes it so appealing and an instant hit when it was released as a single. It opens on a distinctive riff that bares a passing resemblance to Boston's 'More than a Feeling' with a vocal arrangement so basic that there is hardly any melody at all. It became anthemic for a generation though that was never what it was trying to be. There are no clever solos or effects. The genius here lies in its simplicity. The bass and guitar keep the track together with the same riff. It is angry in places and pleads in others, capturing the emotion of disaffected youth with quiet verses backed by simple guitar notes and emotion filled chorus that is instantly addictive. The bridge provides a grinding reverberated guitar impression of the vocal melody. It has been covered by Tori Amos with an acoustic piano version and Paul Anka with a swing version.
'Likes to Shot his gun but he
Don't know what it means'
The fourth single released from 'Nevermind' was aimed at the fans outside of the underground music community that didn't understand the bands message. Again we are confronted with quiet verses lead by the bass in-between loud choruses. It features Dave Grohl singing harmonies resulting in a more melodic second half of the chorus with less croaky vocals (though of course they are still prevalent) and originally had a bridge section that was cut to a shorter whiney guitar solo which is so distorted it sounds like barely controlled feedback. The ends of each verse builds up to the chorus as the guitar riff changes and becomes more distinct with drum rolls punctuating the ends of the lines during the chorus, other than that it is largely snare and cymbal percussion. It comes in heavy from the start with long droning vocals and the bass providing the main riff.
Come As You Are
'Came as you are, as you were
As I want you to be'
The second single from 'Nevermind' is about 'People and what they are expected to act like' (Cobain). It features a long guitar solo and uses a chorus pedal to create a watery effect. Again it has a simple, but distinctive opening riff and catchy vocals, but at times the vocals sound alien due to heavy post production and the chorus pedal causes much of the guitar notes to run into each other while the bass picks out a quietly indistinct riff. The bridge makes the track come alive and takes away from the more subdued main body using a guitar with a slide and chorus pedal. Here, the guitar notes ooze into each other with a second layer of the watery effect behind them. The vocals lead out with largely repetitive vocals.
'Even if you have
Even if you need
I don't mean to stare
We don't have to breed'
'Breed' has a much rougher sound than 'Come as You Are' and is heavier than anything preceding it. To begin with the bass and guitar follow the same distorted riff, but once the vocals come in, the guitar changes to follow the repetitive and reverberated vocal melody while the bass remains consistent. The simple, fast paced vocal melody constructed in short verses leads the listener and helps keep pace while the bass is distorted and angry, alternating between winding down and then winding back up again. There is some echo on the vocals added to the end of the chorus for emphasis.
'I'm so ugly, but that's ok, cause so are you
Broke our mirrors'
Again, we hear the quiet verses against loud chorus dynamic. This track tells the story of a man who finds religion after the death of his girlfriend. It was written before Cobain met his recently dumped girlfriend, but was rewritten to reference her. The chorus has a sing-a-long quality to it aided by the fact there are no lyrics, just 'yeah' sung to a catchy melody, while the verses form a gentle haze between them. It is a vocally lead, simple composition with gentle percussion for the verses and heavier for the chorus. The verses also feature a subdued bass playing a surprisingly jolly and simple melody. This bass goes on during the bridge playing a nice riff behind straight forward heavy vocals and guitar. The outro and bridge are tagged onto the end of the chorus with short lines and alternate repetition.
'Polly wants a cracker
Think I should get off her first'
The acoustic version featured on this album is probably the most well known, but there are eight versions of this track in total appearing on a number of live albums and B sides. It is based on the story of a rape victim. As always the lyrics vocalise the thoughts of the attacker and here better than other recordings the vocals take on the cold blandness of the villain in a horror film. It is all the more chilling as the violent acts are described in an almost pretty track. There is a delicate main riff backed by a bass following the pitch changes. It is only in the bridge that the bass comes through clearly playing through a couple of bars by itself. The chorus is lightly stronger, but lacks the chaotic emotion of other tracks on the album.
'Just because you're paranoid
Don't mean they're not after you'
This track opens with the highly produced screech of a voice and heads into a cacophony of noise lead by vocals that break during the chorus. It takes the listener by surprise after 'Polly' with the feel of stripped down punk, rather than the normal Nirvana sound. The sentimental message played in an aggressive manner that acts as the introduction for this track acts as a connector between them. Most of the vocals are indiscernible apart from the often quoted lines above, but are used to dictate the pace. The bridge features a brief guitar riff that leads into a chaotic outro that finally collapses with exhaustion.
'I don't care what you think
Unless it is about me'
The next two tracks are my favourites on the album. 'Drain You' is formed of 1 clean track with 5 distorted guitar over dubs. The strange noises in the middle are actually children's toys bought in by Cobain that when put through post production sound scary. It opens with solitary vocals that are soon joined by a distinctive guitar riff using 4 power chords in a conventional progression, providing between them a catchy rhythm. The lingering, drawn out guitar and bass chords slowly form a heavy melody before returning to the original riff. It is more poppy and accessible than the rest of the tracks, featuring layered and harmonized vocals for the chorus. The bridge features a slow build up with the scary toys and feedback guitars slowly pulling together a melody before an ominous bass riff leads the track into an explosive reprise of the first verse. The track refers to Cobain's ex-girlfriend and the power she had over him.
'Don't tell me what I want to hear
Afraid of never knowing fear'
Another track relating to Cobain's recently terminated relationship; it opens on a surprisingly catchy and upbeat bass riff given the lyrical topic. This great bass riff then leads the entire track with the guitar following the bass' single notes with chords. Later, the guitar and the catchy and pop vocals work together while the bass becomes feint, though surprisingly funky. The outro features an elongated version of the chorus with more energy and painfully screamed vocals bringing the track to a slow end.
'Monkey see, monkey do (I don't know why)
Rather be dead than cool (I don't know why)'
Starting with a drum roll, this excited track has a basic composition using the vocals and uses the bass to keep up the pace and the guitar to punctuate vocal lines, loosely following the same melody. The whole track is emotion packed and relentless with a slow wind down ending on chaotic drums and feedback guitars. There is great rhythm and pace kept by the bass and percussion, but added to by vocals for the chorus and lead by the vocals in the verses. The bridge is formed of a few bass and guitar bars punctuated by vocals that carry through to another chorus.
On a Plain
'It is now time to make it unclear
To write off lines that don't make sense'
This track sits right on the boarder between pop and punk. A discordant, brief and jam-like introduction kicks off this track leading into a simple chord riff composition and a catchy chorus melody with an addictive vocal rhythm backed by layered humming vocals. The vocals have an addictive rhythm. During the verses a solo vocal line alternates with a chorused tag line while the bridge uses elongated vocal syllables to lead the track gently back to the main body.
Something in the Way
'It's ok to eat fish
Because they don't have any feelings'
This dirge-like track has quite possibly the most miserable opening chords of any track I have ever heard. It has a darker edge to the composition than more obvious candidates for such treatment such as 'Polly'. Along with whispered vocals, it brings the listener down from the rest of the album, especially the simple happiness of 'On A Plain'. The verses feature just vocals and bass while the chorus is beautifully crafted with the addition of a cello following the vocals to lend a more sombre note (like it need it, but it does bring more depth). The verses are ominous and quiet with a sense of hopelessness and dark confusion. The chorus uses reverberated layers to take the edge off the usually harsh vocals. The cello comes through again for the final chorus at a higher pitch making it sound more desperate and standing out from the rest.
Here I am'
This track was obviously not meant to be listened to on its own or very often and is therefore probably not worth this much consideration, none the less here it is. Originally left off the master by mistake, this track goes through many different parts. It consists mainly screaming and indistinct moaning vocals and heavy guitars playing a vague melody. There is some measured control, but not much. There is screaming guitar that takes a full minute before it finally dies, then turns to screeching and feedback followed by what sounds like something revving up. There is a vague verse and chorus composition, but I can't for the life of me tell which is which with the largely indistinguishable lyrics. Just before the half way point the track loses all form with the guitar become completely erratic with only the bass and percussion helping to keep things under control. Added to this, the audio positioning changes along with the volume so you really have no idea what is going on. At some there is a few seconds of bass melody, but it never returns or goes anywhere so I'm not entirely sure what it is doing there.
"Nevermind" was the 1991 release from Nirvana and finds the Washington-based Grunge band coming with what is considered to be a classic record as the late Kurt Cobain leads them and enables them to push Alternative Rock to success like it had never been seen before once they had dropped "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and everything else fell into place afterwards. It was their second of three albums before the death of the lead singer ad guitarist.
1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
This, for me, was the perfect way to get the album underway as you find that they throw down a hardcore jam by coming out with their breakthrough single and letting it hype up the listeners as you here how they create a song that does exactly what you want form them with Kurt Cobain's raw vocals that are almost impossible to get the lyrics from and from here the rest of them go off in a way that can't be matched outside a Grunge setting.
2. "In Bloom"
They keep it all rolling as they pull out another single here and in this case you fidn that they come out with another tune that has lots of power within it, but in this case it seems to be suppressed somewhat in order to allow the general Classic Rock influence come through as you get a mix of both this, through its pace, and Punk in the way that the song is structured. This one wasn't quite as good as the first, but still can't be considered to be weak.
3. "Come As You Are"
This one dropped as the follow-up single to their lead (and the one that started up the album) and I felt that really it wasn't what was expected of a tune to come off the back of it as really it doesn't compare to the sort of quality that what seen there. For me it didn't have enough energy to really connect with it, and I felt that you got quite a bit of repetition coming through with this and what occurred with the opening track.
They seem to be able to come in much better as the dive into this one and escape the lifeless material in exchange for something that they are much likely to pull in Punk fans more with as they bring out a chaotic display that has them playing in a high tempo with some raging beats and an engaging guitar hook to pull you in as they finally appear to be capable of coming close to matching what came with "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
This was a fairly successful single from the band, considering where they had got to prior to this point and it is one that as them coming out with a tune that I felt didn't really do all that much to really be excited about as they come out with a rather plain one that has them using the repetitive structure of the lower sections with a heavy breakdown coming for the chorus, and I felt that it got tiresome quickly.
This was an early track from Nirvana as it was a track that was originally devised in 1988 and the stripped-down nature of the music seems to match this, however I felt that by having an acoustic offering such as this one, it seemed to lose all that was going for it as it just doese't support the general direction of the Grunge movement and I felt that it did more to just be off-putting than anything.
7. "Territorial P**sings"
In this short, sharp recording you find that they are ale to recover things somewhat as they come out with an empowering display that uses all the energy that they had saved up through the last one to come out with a track that takes things to a new place with its powerful rage and a farily well-composed tune that underlies the chaos that you get from Cobain's vocals and the heavy percussion.
8. "Drain You"
This was the B-Side to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and so was relatively well-known at the time and I felt that it was a good choice to do so as it seems to bring together lots of the same sorts of things that that single does with similarities in Cobain's deliver style and the overall manner in which the song is composed to make for a tune that is bound to appeal to those who enjoyed their breakthrough track.
9. "Lounge Act"
This is anther of the fairly short ones from the act and one that you would expect to stand out as a result, however I can't say that this was really the case at all as they record a tune that doesn't particularly do a lot and for me, not knowing what Cobain's saying for this long wasn't really happening as it became by this point. I felt that it gets better through its duration, but still isn't as good as some of the others.
10. "Stay Away"
They blast through with another high-tempo join here as they lay down a track that comes through in a way like you really wouldn't expect as they bring in much more with the Metal and Punk seemingly coming together in this one to come out with the desired Grunge tune that suits their mood at the time. I felt that the balance appeared to be perfect for them in finding just what works as they do another rebellious one.
11. "On A Plain"
This one didn't really go anywhere for me and I felt that it just wasn't able to compete enough with the rest of the album and the sorts of things that were able to capture your attention through the rest of it and o this one can be easily forgotten about as they don't do much with it. The samey writing style comes through ere and the mid-tempo approach seems to leave it without any real drive.
12. "Something In The Way"
The album ends with a track that I really didn't have any support for at all as they end the thing with a haunting song form them where Cobain sings on a low level to minimal backing and is able to create tension as a result of this and the chilling pace and so it does nothing but seem to get you in the mood for another breakdown (that doesn't come in the end) I understand for some can get something from it, but it wasn't for me.
I can't say that I expected to get much from this one as I knew from the get-go that the offering that is "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is just a perfectly-constructed track and nothing can really get ay better than it, so I knew that I'd only enjoy a few others form the album and thins is the case here. It wasn't really for me, but I can see where the appeal is (although the massive changes in direction did how me quite a bit).
Nirvana are a heavy grunge band hailing from Seattle who release their debut album, Nevermind, in 1991 and by the late nineties they had basically taken over the world. As heavy rock music started to rear it's beautiful head back into the underground, grunge rock began to take over and Nirvana were at the forefront of that whole scene. Nevermind burst them into mainstream success.
Unfortunately by 1994 troubled and heroin-addicted frontmand Kurt Cobain had committed suicide by blowing his own head off with a sawn-off shotgun. Some say it was from the exposure and that he couldn't handle the fame. However, during those three years Nirvana released some excellent albums.
Opening track and hit single, probably the most famous Nirvana song, Smells Like Teen Spirit, with it's monsterous heavy chorus and raw vocals became a regular on MTV and was parodied by wacky American Weird Al Yankovic. My next favourite track from the album would be Come As You Are, which is not as heavy but it's very catchy and has a great simple but hugely effective guitar riff which is fun to learn to play. Some great alternative lyrics also.
My other favourite tracks from the album include Lithium - a very well written, original and thoroughly enjoyable song to listen to which is also fun to learn to play and the rather amusing Polly - ridiculously basic in plot and a track that anybody can learn to play on the guitar, though with some very eccentric lyrics.
The album ends rather pleasantly with a much more toned down, mellow and light song called Something In The Way which ends the album efficiently and is just as entertaining to listen to as all the other songs.
So whilst Nirvana had a relatively short career and all the other members have now moved on to other projects, such as Foo Fighters, Nevermind remains the album that thrust them into their mainstream and will always remain a classic in it's own right.
Nirvana are often considered an overnight success story, but anyone who has read Charles Cross' book of Kurt Cobain will know that by the time Nevermind was released and launched them to worldwide fame, they had been touring for years and had built up a fantastic reputation on the Seattle scene as the kings of grunge music.
Nevermind is Nirvana's second album and it was really kicked off by the success of the single 'Smells like Teen Spirit', this song caught the attention of a generation with the high school video where the punks invade and it ends in a warped mess of bodies and screeches, this heralded a change in direction for American music and really gave soft rock a bit of a kicking.
Made up of lead singer Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl, this album was the culmination of years of soul searching for the pizies loving Cobain.
Produced by Butch Vig subsequently of Garbage fame, the album worked partly because of the exceptional music and words, but also because Cobain's style of quiet reflection followed by hellish rock brought a real contrast and allowed people to gain access to the music unlike some rock which is so heavy it intimidates outsiders.
This album was huge all over the world and knocked Michael Jackson off the top of the charts, it combines punk ethics with pop melodies to great effect and reached a generation of disaffected people with Cobain's heartfelt cries about how life was so difficult.
The album cover in itself is iconic with a baby swimming after a dollar bill in a swimming pool, it is one of those unforgettable covers that truly great albums have. The album sold over 10 million copies worldwide and changed the bands lives forever.
1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
2. "In Bloom"
3. "Come as You Are"
7. "Territorial Pissings"
8. "Drain You"
9. "Lounge Act"
10. "Stay Away"
11. "On a Plain"
12. "Something in the Way"
For me Smells like Teen Spirit is a great anthem and still appeals to teenagers now but it is not the best song on the album, In Bloom is a great song with such spirit and loneliness which Come as you Are is as angry and confrontational as Smells like Teen Spirit but with a more complex melody, for me personally the best song on the album is Polly a really affecting song about pain and abuse, it really hits home what a great lyricist Cobain was but, in truth every song on the album is lyrically strong, the melodies are wonderful and play up to Cobain's pop sensibilities whilst the heavy drums and bass of Novoselic and Grohl give it the harder edge which made it so different to anything else on the scene at that time.
Listening to the album now it still retains a freshness and air of confrontation and fear which many albums lose with time, it is a timeless and frighteningly poignant album which truly established Cobain and his bands as the musical leaders of a generation.
The album is available second hand via Ebay or Amazon Marketplace for under £2, it truly is an exceptional album and well worth a listen for fans of all music genres.
had been born in 1992 a period following the release of this album. I never really knew Nirvana. I do not know why but the band had never came to my attention until about a week ago a friend mentioned it to me, he was saying how good they were and was joking for the fact that I had never listened to them I decided that I should listen to one of their albums so them and I rooted though some odd music collections then found this one. It was the only Nirvana cd that I could find.
I put it on and within moments of listening to it I was in another world the music had taken me away. I was listening to Smells Like Teen Spirit I thought that the track is amazing It was just making me focus on the music and the lyrics I was listening to it in a different way that I have ever listened to music before. The rest of the songs was playing and I was listening to the lyrics that Kurt was singing the lyrics are so moving to the extent that it was like I was reading them off a Peace of paper in my head that has never happened to me before. From Smells Like Teen Spirit to Something in the Way their's not one track that would not make since not to be on here. The album would not be the same if these tracks were not on the album in the order that they are.
It's a shame I have been living without Nirvana for so long but now I have discovered the band I will continue to listen to the album for the rest of my life in respect for Kurt and the other band members It seems that if Kurt was still alive today Nirvana would of properly not been around but I will still listen to them for the rest of my life.
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Nevermind is a vital album for any grunge fan in as much as it represents a zeitgeist and a slice of pop culture - the iconography contained within each song is reflective of the 1990s music in general, and of course of the furore that Kurt Cobain and his bandmates started, influencing bands including Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. This album was immensely successful upon its release and saw Kurt and the rest of the band shoot to fame virtually overnight, largely thanks to the lead single, Smells Like Teen Spirit. Above all else, it's perhaps something of a depressing reminder of a talent gone far beyond his time, although of course there's no escaping the fact that musically speaking, Nirvana are very rough around the edges, but again, this is largely part of their charm, and how they reflected an entire section of society that were bored and fed up is hugely impressive.
There are so many famous songs on this album, from the aforementioned song which just makes you want to jump around, to In Bloom, which had a hilarious musical video made for it by the way, Come As You Are, which ironically remarks, "No, I don't have a gun", and also the famous song Lithium, which is largely incomprehensible but nevertheless great.
It isn't relentlessly fast paced, though - Polly is a bit slower going, although the only slow one on the album really. Breed attempts to move away from the grunge element and be a bit more rock-like, but through and through the best known tracks on this album are the grunge track which, of course, all became singles.
This is a vital cultural milestone and possibly the best testament to Cobain's talent as a musician - this is raw, gritty, and powerfully speaks to its audience who were fed up with the duldrums and pomposity of the 1980s.
The cover to this album is probably one of the most recognisable in the world of music and this is a classic album from the kings of grunge rock Nirvana. There is some debate over whether if the lead singer Kurt Cobain had not tried to ingest a shotgun this band would have been as widely regarded as their music is now however ths album is the proof that they would have had a long and interesting career if he had not.
The stand out track on the album is Sounds Like Teen Suicide a guitar lead anthem of a song however for me Lithium is just as strong a track with an excellent chorus and a slightly less pronounced verse to it.
Polly signifies a change of pace being an acoustic track Cobain voice shines through on this track with its gutteral, rough qualities coming to the fore on a track that I love to sing along to despite the rather dark lyrics and storyline to the track.
Another quality track for me is Lounge Act and typifies the excellent grunge feel of this album which has a dark angle running throughout many of the songs but there is also something uplifting about the material as well.
A must have album in my opinion even though it is somewhat removed from what I normally listen to it still gets the occasional play from me.
Well, after receiving a crown from out of nowhere for my Maximo Park review (oh, feel free to read it!), I decided it was time to bust out another music review...as it seems to be more of a forte than random groceries found around the house!! So this ladies and gentlemen, is the cult album of Nevermind by Nirvana.
For those completely unaware of the band, let alone the album, Nirvana were a Grunge band from Seattle during the early 90s. Made up of frontman Kurt Cobain, Kris Novoselic and Dave Grohl, they're widely considered as one of the biggest bands of their generation and genre due to their attitude and songs that hit the eardrums hard being the voice of the 'generation-X'. This is their second album following their debut 'Bleach' released at the turn of the decade, this however launched them to a new market and into the mainstream.
The iconic front cover shows a baby underwater, supposedly swimming after a dollar note. Whatever the semiotics are of it being greed or capitalist control, it's been parodied and humoured copious times since.
But the music is what makes this album what it is. It starts as it means to go on with the anthemic 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' - a song that will still be played and adored in 50 years time no doubt. It's a song that sounded like nothing that had come before it, and has been hard to replicate since. The clean guitar riff bursting into distortion, the simple drum beat that everyone knows; even the music video of a college basketball court gradually being torn to shreds with the raucous moshpit - all of it is iconic and generation after generation will admire it. Cobain's pre-chorus chant of "Hello, hello, hello, how low?" and the chorus lines of "With the lights out, it's less dangerous..." are sung along to in any rock nightclub you walk into in any part of the globe. This song ultimately made Nirvana, and some cynics would say began the downfall of Cobain's mental health.
Of course, it's not the only song on the album so lets move on...elsewhere on the album include other singles such as "In Bloom", "Come As You Are" and "Lithium". The former has a grunge-strewn chorus which is similar to stuff previously found on Bleach, but Come As You Are differs in sound to Nirvana's previous work. The next-best single (when it comes to airplay and chart positions) on Nevermind contains an echoey opening riff which all beginners of the guitar will be taught within weeks of plucking their first string. Lithium is a prime example of the 'quiet verse; heavy chorus' formula which works so well for a number of bands, nowhere more so than Nirvana. The intriguing verse lyrics of "I'm so ugly, that's okay 'cos so are you', to the chorus screams of "I like it, I'm not gunna crack", they showcase the curious mind of Cobain working overtime.
Elsewhere, and the track "Polly" stands out as the acoustic number on the album. Supposedly written about a prostitute who was held captive, it's a dark song which can raise the hairs on the back of your neck with Cobain's gravelly vocal chords. So different to a lot of what else can be found on the album, it's in stark contrast to the song after it; "Territorial Pissings" - the screeching at the beginning of the song and the extra-heavy guitar compliment both songs perfectly.
Tracks such as "Drain You" and "Lounge Act" have become big favourites with fans of the bands work. Cult tracks you could say. Although they may seem 'lesser' tracks to some of the earlier songs on the album, after a couple listens they become just as accessible. Quiet, gentle verses; Large, heavy choruses. Just what any fan of rock, grunge, metal etc. etc. loves.
The final track on the album, "Something in the Way", finishes things off in a somber mood. The deep baseline combined with Cobain's low voice makes the song almost dream-like and an eerie way to finish this memorable album off.
After Nevermind, the band stormed the world left-right-and-centre with great success, and then came along albums such as "Incesticide" and "In Utero" until Cobain's suicide in April 1994 at the age of just 27. The band may have only given the world about five years worth of music, but albums such as Nevermind will last a lifetime. Day after day new people will discover it, and people who own it will dust it off and re-listen and recall how important an album this is. So important and memorable it is, I didn't even need to listen to it to write this review...now, let me just go and dust it off.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Smells Like Teen Spirit
2 In Bloom
3 Come As You Are
7 Territorial Pissings
8 Drain You
9 Lounge Act
10 Stay Away
11 On A Plain
12 Something In The Way