Release Date: Sep 27, 2011
Record label: Geffen
Genre(s): Rock, Grunge, Alternative/Indie Rock
Nevermind changed music. That’s not debatable. Its introduction of what became the foundation for modern alternative rock and acceptable above the underground has already been established by too many writers in too many places. It’s the reason no one knows that “never mind” is actually two words.
Despite its tremendous influence on the mainstream rock that followed, it's hard to think of another album that sounds much like Nirvana's Nevermind, a record with so much more pop and punk punch than any music it inspired. Of course, no diamond-certified, canonical treasure hitting the two-decade mark can be left well enough alone in 2011-- especially one that changed the lives of a lot people now approaching middle age, with the discretionary income to prove it. After all, "super deluxe" reissues of classic albums don't even have to be tied to an anniversary these days.
When Nevermind exploded into earshot in the autumn of 1991, it was startling: a grenade detonating in your car radio. It sounded like the end of something (the 1980s? hair metal?), or maybe the beginning of something ("alternative rock"? "Generation X"?). Today, the album has become so encrusted with myth, that it's hard to wrap your ears around it, to really hear it.
What is there left to say about Nevermind? Nirvana's second LP and major-label debut is one of those canonized albums whose reputation makes discussion repetitive. A frequent contender for one of the best rock albums ever doesn't need another critic weighing in..
Nevermind may be a classic record, but it’s also got a lot of baggage. Some of it came later, with Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994, but most of it stems from the meaning we’ve all hung on it. It was the album that put the spotlight on Seattle and, as a result, somehow restored integrity to popular rock music. It introduced us to our next great tortured genius.
It's a shame the radio-friendly hits that tumbled from Nevermind came to represent everything Kurt Cobain seemed to despise; it thus has become an album which inevitably pales compared to the sardonic misery of In Utero. That's a shame. Nevermind marked a move away from strutting hairspray metal, and its celebration of weirdos changed rock for the better.
I’m not going to patronise you here by describing what ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana sounds like. But what’s probably a better use of your time than reading this review is for you to go back and listen to it again, really listen to it. Ideally you should do this via the medium of some fancy pants speakers or headphones. But if all else fails, see below for the video.
In twenty years, Krist Novoselic’s short rendition of “Get Together” has lost none of its weirdness or pointed humor. The bassist yelps a few lines at the beginning of “Territorial Pissings,” opening side two of Nirvana’s Nevermind on an unexpected note (or several missed notes, actually). By 1991 Dino Valenti’s plea for peace was an artifact of the 1960s, and its hippie inclusivity sounded so naïve that it had lost any sense of dignified dissent it might have once held.
The guts and glory of one of rock’s landmark albums revealed across four CDs. Mike Diver 2011 With 30 million copies sold worldwide since its original release on 24 September 1991, Nevermind is as much a part of the classic rock canon as anything by the Stones or The Beatles, Dylan or The Clash. But then, you know that. It’s been in the uppermost reaches of any best-albums-ever list for as long as this writer can remember; its legacy, its influence, is undeniable.
"There's more cameras in here than in a 7-11," cracks Nirvana's de facto stage announcer, bassist Krist Novoselic, midway through Nirvana's 1991 Halloween concert in Seattle. Certainly, Kurt Cobain's not talking – not with all the cameramen onstage. "So, like, 2 percent of you are dressed in costumes," observes Dave Grohl, a flail of hair, harmonies, and lean percussive muscle throughout.