To be fair, if you only want one Nirvana album to keep, this it it. This is a decent compilation which is a good collector’s item from the biggest name in Grunge. Let’s take a listen, and see what we have here.
We begin with You Know You’re Right which begins with some harmonics, before a massive set of guitar riffs and Kurt Cobain’s singing takes centre place. This is actually one of the last pieces Nirvana ever recorded prior to Kurt Cobain’s suicide, and you can tell why. It is a very expressive piece of music, and Kurt really sounds like he is on the edge here. A great song to listen to when the mood strikes, nice effort by Nirvana. The chanting at the end is infectious.
Next is About A Girl which begins with clean guitar chords and Kurt Cobain singing nicely over the top. It’s one of their earlier songs, and still sounds very good today. A nice effort, and one of the more mellow songs by Nirvana. Good to hear on this compilation, this is quality music. Great stuff, simple yet direct.
Been A Son – Blew EP Version is next, which is rough, raw and ready. It’s a lyrical contradiction of things and musically is purely great Grunge. Loud noisy guitars and uptempo drums are here, with little differentiation between sounds, except for a bass guitar solo here (rather odd, but good). It’s very Punk rock musically, but not actually Punk at all. The feedback at the end is interesting.
Sliver starts off with a bass riff, and it is basic about a kid who doesn’t like going to see his relatives and causes a fuss about it. It’s an odd song but certainly fairly relatable if you have been through childhood trauma. A great listen all the same, and a nice addition to this compilation. Short and bitter, at two minutes long.
The biggest song of Nirvana’s career is Smells Like Teen Spirit which comes next. It is really well structured and played, from the beginning to the end of the song. Although nowhere near as lighter as their early songs, this is an amazing piece to listen to and enjoy today. It is a suspenseful, interesting and well delivered five minute pop song that kickstarted the Grunge revolution in the early 1990s. Nirvana were so important in the early 1990s to many musicians and music fans, and this song historically explains that. Powerful, awesome and unique, this is a great song. Awesome stuff, and a must listen.
Next is Come As You Are which is also from the Nevermind album. It is another fan favourite, showcasing a brilliant Pop/Rock sensibility and effort here. “I swear I don’t have a gun…” is a great lyrical line in this song, and the whole thing sounds very good. With a simple melodic riff throughout and a great rhythmic sensibility, this is an excellent song. Great to hear, especially in retrospect. Good tune.
Lithium is also from Nevermind, but seems highly ironic lyrically. The quiet/loud, slow/fast dynamics here are really awesome, and the chorus in particular is quite anthemic and uplifting. Some of the lyrics are quite prophetic, and this musical piece is very well made and delivered. Lithium by the way is used to treat bipolar disorder, something many people believe Kurt Cobain may have had during his lifetime. Good song, all the same. Very well done.
In Bloom – Nevermind Version is definitely an underrated Nirvana piece and sounds very upbeat and catchy. The chorus in particular is marvelous, and is very catchy, alluding to a fan of the band who doesn’t understand the lyrics of Nirvana songs. The drumming by David Grohl here is really awesome, and he comes across as an underrated talent on these Nirvana pieces. The guitar solo sounds freakishly discordant here, another good song to hear.
The In Utero tracks launch with Heart-Shaped Box which is a song that directly points to marital issues that Kurt Cobain had at the time. It is a very dark listening experience, and one cannot help feel that Kurt Cobain was already aware of his own personal demons within himself. Still, the riffs here are quite catchy, but this is not upbeat or Pop style music. This is dark, dangerous and disturbing. Great effort, however. Very much a piece for a rainy day. Some of the lyrics here are really scary.
Next is Pennyroyal Tea – Single Mix which is actually quite good listening here and a great version of this song. Kurt Cobain sounds like he is having a hard time dealing with his issues of being rich and famous lyrically here. Some strange lyrics are here such as, “Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld, so I can sigh eternally.” This is not light music at all whatsoever, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, avoid this album.
Rape Me is next, with an intro reminiscent of Smells Like Teen Spirit but is far darker than that. It seems like an actual serious statement by Kurt Cobain which is pretty messed up, if you think about it. Dark, disturbing and creepy, this is a great song and was very controversial at the time. Great to hear regardless, and quite a good song from In Utero.
Dumb is a fairly basic Pop styled song about being…well, dumb. It is a self-pitying kind of statement from Nirvana, which isn’t exactly reassuring, but it is a fairly catchy and well delivered song that is good quality to this day. Good listen here. Rather short in length as well.
Next is All Apologies – Live Version which is from the MTV Unplugged live album. It seems much darker than the original song on In Utero, and has Kurt Cobain predicting his early suicide. It’s not comforting or easy listening, but it is a great song to hear. This live version is excellent though, and if you like Nirvana, definitely worth your time. Nice version of this song.
Last on this compilation is The Man Who Sold The World – Live Version which is a version of a classic David Bowie song that is wonderfully done. Kurt Cobain personifies this in his own way, making this a great effort from him and Nirvana. Great song and this rendition of this piece of music is really good. Good piece overall, sounds very haunting.
Nirvana were a professional and talented team of musicians and despite the negativity that features in their music, it’s a great listening experience to have. If you are new to Nirvana, check this compilation out. Nirvana kick started the 1990’s, and were hugely influential. The proof is in the songs, and they have many great songs here.