Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)

July 7, 2008 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Album Review, Albums Rated 9/10 | Leave a comment
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RATING: 9/10

OK, so I have set myself the task of reviewing the second most overrated albums of the 90’s (the first being OK Computer) whilst trying not to offend anyone and also trying to be fair.  It has been quite some time since I have listened to Nevermind all the way through.  Back in the day I listened to it endlessly and loved it.  It is a great album, certainly a very important album, maybe the most important of the 90’s.  However, it is also a very ‘cool’ album.  Many people give this top marks without thinking about it because it’s cool to like Nirvana isn’t it?  Cobain was such a tortured genius wasn’t he?  My friends will think less of me if I don’t like this album won’t they?

I personally am not bothered about what is cool, what is not, about being pretentious etc.  If I like something then I like it, not because I’m expected to like it.  The same goes for if I dislike something.

Having said all that, I really enjoy this album.  It is a very solid piece of work; there are no problems at all with running through this from beginning to end, each song ranges from good to great and the power and energy runs throughout.  Add that to the nostalgia I feel, remembering listening to it as an 11 year old, then a few years later when everyone started listening again after Cobain’s death, then it surpasses being just an album; it becomes part of my coming of age.

Smells Like Teen Spirit- Straight off the bat we get a cool riff and then BAM, the power hits us.  Like the album, this track is overrated and overplayed.  We shouldn’t let this detract from the fact that it is still a fantastic anthem, which the so-called Generation X embraced.  A very powerful opener for an album, everybody’s attention was grabbed and all eyes were on Seattle.

In Bloom- This next track is as every bit as good as Teen Spirit.  Cobain’s guttural vocals, a big fat baseline and a great solo combine to bring us a superb song that sometimes gets forgotten, wedged between two better known titles.

Come As You Are- Featuring some of the best lyrics on the album and a hugely famous intro, Come As You Are is only second to Teen Spirit when it comes to popularity and fame amongst the Nirvana catalogue.  For me this is the best track on the album, Nirvana’s best song in fact.  Absolutely incredible. Listen to Come As You Are

Breed- Grohl’s drums propel Breed throughout the next three minutes.  Cobain is great on vocals, the lyrics are once again very good and a middle eight that loses none of the songs fire and tempo.

Lithium- ‘I’m so happy cos today I’ve found my friends, they’re in my head.  I’m so ugly, that’s ok cos so are you’ are my favourite lyrics from the album.  The chorus is the very essence of the grunge movement.  One of the best crafted songs on Nevermind. Listen to Lithium

Polly- Not as innocent as it first sounds, this acoustic track has darker undertones.  A slight change in mood here as we have a softer song with no loud moments, just Kurt, his guitar and minimal background.

Territorial Pissings- Pure energy is the only way to describe this song.  The drums, guitar and vocals all strain together to give this odd and almost novelty song a brute force that almost smashes it’s way through the speakers.

Drain You- Another underrated track on an album with so many highlights.  The balance between all elements is spot on, including the brilliant lyrics.

Lounge Act- The intro starts with a big fat meaty bass line and then the track develops quite an upbeat tempo.  The vocals show off both sides of Kurt’s abilities; in the first half we get his singing voice which is low and rough, then in the second half we get his scream and yell which makes his voice even more gravelly.  His voice IS grunge.

Stay Away- ‘Rather be dead than cool’ perhaps the most fitting and revealing lyrics that Kurt Cobain penned.  A good solid track with brilliant drumming by Dave Grohl.

On A Plain- One of my favourite nirvana songs; everything about it, once again, fits together just right.  I just love the way the lyrics kick in at the start. Listen to On A Plain

Something In The Way- We started off with a heavy anthem but know we end the album on a quiet note.  This is even more laid back than Polly and it is so much better.  A very simple tune with a very simple yet beautiful harmony on the chorus, this is the most understated track on the album and, hence, the most underrated.

There is a hidden track called ‘Endless, Nameless’.  It doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album and isn’t a great track, however there is some good musicianship going on and a few good melodies intertwined with the rawness of the singing.

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