ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Alex Tamosius

Nirvana
"Nevermind"

10th June 2005
reviewer: Alex Tamosius
rating: 5 out of 5
published by: Geffen
released: 24th September 1991
  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

Nirvana. On the back of their debut album, Bleach, they became mentioned in the same breath as Mudhoney, Tad and The Melvins. Just another grunge band patrolling the seedy underworld of Seattle’s late 80’s music scene. Nevermind changes all this. Nevermind sends Nirvana stratospheric.

The album gets off to a truly brilliant start – a guitar riff just begging you to go wild. And it will. 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is the teenage escapist song on speed, setting the tone brilliantly for a truly classic album. 'In Bloom' follows the awesome 'SLTS' in a bass heavy power chord-controlled song, featuring the chilling deep, raw vocals that have become Kurt’s trademark. You’ll struggle to find better bass vibrations. 'Come As You Are' is a comparable breather of a song, incorporating the strong rhythmic quality found in the entire album, without heavy guitar and bass riffs. It almost seems to be a drone, perhaps a cry (for help?) of a song, stretching vocal chords to the limit, with strained drum, bass and guitar riffs complimenting the vocals superbly.

If you thought the album was getting soft at this point, think again. Ignore what I said about 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', if there is any song on this album that will turn sanity inside out, it’s 'Breed'. "Controlled chaos" sums up this song perfectly, the phrase seemingly made for the song. Putting your vocal chords and guitar strings through a shredder would do better for them than perform this song. Brilliant. Track 6, 'Lithium' is a slow verse, chorus heavy song. The chorus is a repetition of a Led Zeppelin style “yeah yeah”, the words stretched, screamed and shot down by the heavy bass and drumming accompanying it. 'Lithium' is followed by a song signalling the development of Kurt’s song writing abilities. 'Polly' is a song written from the point of view of a rapist, taken from a headline from his local paper. It is a rare “acoustic” styled song, with little bass and drumming. There is also a harmony between Kurt And Dave on the chorus, combining to create a deep and powerful yet seemingly light song, probably the closest thing Kurt Cobain will ever come to writing a ballad (Kurt usually played 'All Apologies' on an electric guitar).Track 7 begins with the humorous singing of Krist, a nod to the fact that he was originally to be the Nirvana vocalist. In the style of 'Breed', 'Territorial Pissings' picks the album right up again, in another “turn your guitars into drums” song, a musical experience that never lets up from start to finish.

So there you have it. Nevermind in a nutshell. What? There are five more songs on the album? Well yes; there are. The final five songs on 'Nevermind' – 'Drain You', 'Lounge Act', 'Stay Away', 'On a Plain' and 'Something In The Way', seem almost to be there out of necessity. And they are. Who would buy an album with only seven songs on it? Well there you go. The final five songs rarely move above average in quality, but that is of little relevance – from 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', to 'Territorial Pissings', you will be listening to a musical experience like no other. Nevermind is one of the all time classic albums, achieved in only seven songs. Musical excellence.