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Nevermind (1991) – Nirvana

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Nevermind by Nirvana

My review of the album, ‘Nevermind’, by Nirvana. Their most successful album, and one of the most iconic 90’s albums.

Who are Nirvana?

If you read my articles from the past (which you probably don’t and I don’t blame you to be honest), you can see me often raving about the band ‘Nirvana’ and their popularity. But I never go into detail, so now is the perfect time. No time like the present, am I right?

‘Nirvana’ was an American rock band formed by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in 1987. ‘Nirvana’ went through a few drummers in it’s time, the most popular and longest-lasting being Dave Grohl. The band have come to be regarded as one of the most influential and important alternative bands in history. Especially with its contribution to the grunge scene. You know the charity shop flannel shirts and such. The band split after Kurt commit suicide in 1994. However ever since, their music maintains its popularity and ever-growing fan base and continues to influence modern rock and roll culture. Not to mention the drummer Dave Grohl went on to do amazing things for the music industry. I will definitely review his stuff at some point. But for the time being, here’s the review for ‘Nevermind’.

The tracks for ‘Nevermind’:
  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit
  2. In Bloom
  3. Come As You Are
  4. Breed
  5. Lithium
  6. Polly
  7. Territorial Pissings
  8. Drain You
  9. Lounge Act
  10. Stay Away
  11. On A Plain
  12. Something In The Way

‘Nevermind’, the album itself

‘Nevermind’ is Nirvana’s second studio album. It began recording in 1990 and eventually released on September 24th, 1991. As well as welcoming Dave Grohl, this album also welcomed some of the biggest and most iconic songs ‘Nirvana’ has ever produced. The most successful track probably being ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. And sadly, this is where people tend to stop when they listen to ‘Nirvana’, not many tend to delve deeper into the band’s other fantastic tracks. Anthems of pure teenage angst You know, the kind of songs you cry yourself to sleep too. The relatable songs. The album of every rebellious teenager in the 90’s.

This band represented who these people were. That’s why it struck so many teenagers when Kurt devastatingly took his own life. He was described as the John Lennon of his time, even if the older generation heavily disagreed. There’s popular controversy still going around today that his wife, Courtney Love had something to do with Kurt Cobain’s death, but I’ll just leave that one with you.

Nirvana’s Sound

The sound ‘Nirvana’ produced featured a lot of shifts in dynamics. Quiet verses followed by loud choruses that screamed at you. Literally screamed at you. Grunge singers tend to use rough and gravelly vocals. Kurt Cobain used a “gruff, slurred articulation and gritty timbre” when singing adhering to the grunge genre but also giving his songs more personality and feeling within them which got audiences hooked. The grunge singing style was similar to the “outburst” of loud, heavily distorted electric guitar in tone and delivery. All met with Grohl’s “Powerful, yet precise drumming.”

In my opinion, Dave Grohl is one of the most talented drummers of all time. Nirvana’s original drummer left after Kurt Cobain and guitarist Krist Novoselic were dissatisfied with his work. And then took Grohl on who never missed a beat. One of favourite things about Dave? He didn’t have any drum lessons and became one of the most successful and greatest drummers in the world.

Favourite tracks?

Each song on the album seems to scream the same message on the surface to any casual listener. As I said before, pure teenage angst. So Kurt’s original intentions and meanings for his songs might not be clear at first. He knew this himself. But at least everyone can agree that the sounds are amazing. The fast pace of the tracks like ‘Breed’ and ‘Territorial Pissings’ are fucking great to listen to and make your heart race faster.

It has been argued that they are repetitive in the chords they use within their songs. And although I agree they do use similar chords, that’s what makes the band’s sound. The grunge sound. The tuned down, rough sound on Krist’s bass guitar added to the heavy sound. A lot of tracks on this album began with a fast-paced drum roll before eventually crashing into a melody of gruff voices and gravelly guitars, I honestly can’t fault it, it sounds incredible.

That said, the more slow songs sound just as beautiful and are probably my favourites such as ‘Something In The Way’ and ‘In Bloom’. ‘In Bloom’ was one of their most successful singles from the album. This song had a much more steady tempo to it compared to the other tracks on the album. Having said that, just because it was slower, doesn’t mean it was any less grungy. Heavy distorted guitar is still used as well as the bass to it’s usual sound. Kurt’s voice is just as rough as usual, though the way he delivers the chorus is almost like a nursery-rhyme? It’s playful and enjoyable.

The lyrics express Kurt’s dislike for macho men, rednecks and abusive people. Not only that, but remember how I mentioned that people don’t understand his lyrics and he was aware? He purposely wrote a very sing along chorus so that people would find themselves singing about not understanding the song: “He’s the one who likes all the pretty songs, and he likes to sing along, but he knows not what it means.”

 

Conclusion and rating?

Nirvana will forever be known as the band that defined a generation. For many, Kurt Cobain was a relatable voice to those who weren’t quite loud enough. Or even those who were perhaps a bit different. Along with this came talented musicians who inspired others to pick up a guitar and amp, or teach themselves how to play the drums. Every generation has one of those definitive icons such as Bowie and Iggy Pop. ‘Nevermind’ will live on as an all time classic for the years to come. For many generations of angst-y teens to come. I give this album 4 stars.