Newest Review: ... 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, ... more
A tidal wave in an ocean of tedium
Nevermind - Nirvana
Member Name: Danscomp
Nevermind - Nirvana
Advantages: A must own album. A quality that rarely comes along.
Disadvantages: Nothing. Literally, nothing.
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.
Summary: The album of the nineties