In Utero album cover

Nirvana, In Utero

Geffen, 1993, grunge

B, 1966: I’ll admit I was over Nirvana by the time this album came out. Others of the time and place I was still very much into, but I perhaps unfairly discounted Nirvana and Pearl Jam once they hit the mainstream and they were ubiquitous in the culture and meme. But this is a great record. Cobain was a master song-writer and they brought that together with an insidious sound that is both hooky and offensive. Interesting to think how important and interesting Cobain would be today if he were alive. More mature, hopefully sober and in good health, and with a unique perspective on stardom, celebrity, and culture. Track pick here has to be “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle”. Not only is it a great song, but it is a brilliant song title.

C, 2002: This is a great album. Lots of good songs and surprisingly knew a lot of the songs on here. “All Apologies” takes the cake on this great album.

H, 1951: Certainly a great album. The sound often approaches a sort of raw abrasiveness, but it's carried along by the strength of the songs, and the vocals and instruments are always perfectly expressive. There's also enough variety here to make the album work as a sequence. Thematically, it's an honest statement from a rocker realizing he's outgrown his youth and has achieved a certain level of success, yet rejects all the models available to him of what it means to be a successful adult. How thoroughly Kurt Cobain rejected those models would only become tragically apparent a bit later.

Published 20 Jan 2020

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