24 September 2013

24th September - Nirvana's Nevermind

Artist – Album: Nirvana - Nevermind
Released:  24th September 1991
Sounds Like: ¡Viva la grunge revolución!

Pop history is full of examples of people misunderstanding classic albums. Great records such as Exile on Main Street and The Ramones’ self-titled debut met with ambivalent, if not downright hostile, responses, whilst the likes of Big Star, The Velvet Underground and Nick Drake couldn’t sell a copy of their wares for love nor money. Weezer’s Pinkerton, now hailed as one of the best albums of the Nineties, was treated with unparalleled scorn: hilariously, it was voted by Rolling Stone readers as the third worst album of the year in 1996, but just six short years later was voted by those same readers as the sixteenth best OF ALL TIME.

On the other hand there’s Nevermind, only the second album by the modestly well-respected Seattle trio Nirvana, which once released enjoyed almost unanimous adoration from all quarters. It might have had only limited exposure and far too few initial pressings, but those that got their hands on to it loved it and word spread like wildfire. In the melee to review it critics couldn’t praise the album enough (aside from the inevitable clueless review from Rolling Stone), and it topped the influential end of year The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll, with lead single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ also clinching the singles #1 spot. Few records in history have had the impact of this one.

It’s certainly no surprise that it did so well, being a landmark album released just when music needed it (much like Never Mind the Bollocks 14 years previous). The four singles – ‘…Teen Spirit’, ‘Come as You Are’,Lithium’ and ‘In Bloom’ – rank amongst the best releases in rock, and the fact that they are all included in the first five songs is a triumph of sequencing that U2 would be proud of. The album tracks aren’t bad either, with the heavy, heavy guitars of ‘Territorial Pissings’, ‘Breed’ and ‘Stay Away’ well balanced by the Violent Femmes-esque ‘Polly’ and ‘Lounge Act’.

Never mind that they admittedly ripped a lot of their sound from others; Pixies and Mudhoney for starters. Never mind that they themselves inspired a lot of piss-poor imitators, or that the cult of Cobain is still a packed out church and is no doubt exactly what the man himself would’ve hated. Never mind even the way too long silence between the sombre ‘Something in the Way’ and the bonus thrash of ‘Endless Nameless.’ Nevermind is still an exceptional album.

Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1.       Smells Like Teen Spirit – 5:01
2.       In Bloom – 4:14
3.       Come as You Are – 3:39
4.       Breed – 3:03
5.       Lithium – 4:17
6.       Polly – 2:57
7.       Territorial Pissings – 2:22
8.       Drain You – 3:43
9.       Lounge Act – 2:36
10.   Stay Away – 3:32
11.   On a Plain 3:16
12.   Something in the Way – 20:39

Listen to ‘Drain You’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rkqjx6Gsh0U

Also released on 24th September:
1971: T-Rex – Electric Warrior
Also released on 24th September:
1991: A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

Also released on 24th September:
1996: Weezer - Pinkerton

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