Nirvana
In Utero


2.0
poor

Review

by asheroth USER (9 Reviews)
October 20th, 2005 | 50 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


The other reviews of this have well and truly covered the backstory of this band and the album, so I wonít spend too much time on it.

Everyone knows the story behind In Utero Ė how it was the true expression of Kurt Cobainís musical genius and how the bend felt that they had to make an album that turned out exactly how they wanted, after being forced to conform with Nevermind. This album has been widely hailed as one of the finest grunge efforts in the history of the genre. So naturally, when I saw it for AUD$10, I had to pick it up. I wasnít even a huge fan of Nirvana Ė it was just one of those albums that you should own.

Unfortunately, and surprisingly, In Utero failed to impress.

Yes, itís raw. Steve Albini certainly did his job on the production side of things. Novoselicís bass thunders unashamedly through the mix, Dave Grohl is the manic skinbasher with no concept of dynamics other than Ďlouderí, and Kurt Cobainís fuzzy yet somehow penetrating guitar tone covers everything whether itís making musical sense or not. While the production values are one of the albumís finest points to many people, to me theyíre off-putting. Being raw is all very well and good, but in this case it actually makes the music painful to listen to.

Kurt Cobain in his capacity as singer/guitarist doesnít do a lot to alleviate this. The man obviously knows how he wants to represent his musical ideas. In that regard the album is near-perfect. But the problem remains that Cobainís voice is aggravating, his guitar playing is sloppy and his tone undefined. This is, of course, precisely how Cobain wanted the album to turn out. Itís not his songwriting thatís at fault Ė the sound of the album simply fails to sound good to me.

And so we come to the tired, overworked ground of Cobainís lyrics. Thereís some gems in here Ė ĎI miss the comfort in being sadí is one, as is ĎTeenage angst has paid off well, now Iím bored and old.í However, Cobainís few moments of blunt but strangely evocative lyrical insight are more than outweighed by the spectacular duds contained in the album. Lowlights include ĎLike most babies smell like butter, his smell smelled like no otherí, and the monstrously bad ĎWhat else should I say/Everyone is gay.í Laughs courtesy of All Apologies.

Despite the musical box that Nirvana had worked themselves into with this album, there are a few tracks that manage to cut through the mess of noise. Serve the Servants is a promising opening, sporting a groove that is missing from most of the rest of the album. Cobain delivers a fine vocal performance, venturing into the lower part of his range in the chorus, and (gasp) produces a solo commendable for both its chaos and unlikely melody. Dumb is worth a mention just for the understated cello line floating below Cobainís simple yet effective guitar line. Heart Shaped Box is one of my favourites, and one of the only times where the messy production comes off well. Pennyroyal Tea is a surprisingly effective contrast of soft, laid-back melody and distorted guitars into which Cobainís strained yells blend nicely. Overall, Nirvanaís softer, more reflective moments are their best, as the loud and in-your-face songs suffer from a complete lack of melody and seem to be almost trying too hard Ė ironic, as Cobain wasnít trying to please anyone with this record.

I guess the point is that Kurt Cobain is welcome to express himself however he likes, and use whatever sound he deems best to do so, but he should not expect me to accept it as listenable music. And of course, he doesnít Ė Cobain always expected this record to fail commercially. Thatís ironic, or something. Nirvana did In Utero for themselves, and Iím happy to leave it with them. So kudos to Nirvana for coming up with an album that expressed their musical and emotion position rather well, but this time Iíll pass, thanks.



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user ratings (3902)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
October 20th 2005


3243 Comments


Though I respect your opinion, I disagree. It was a good review though.

Auldy
October 20th 2005


351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

MusicOfficial101 posted a new review for this album, like yesterday man

Auldy
October 20th 2005


351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and i disagree with you a bit too here...."In Utero fails to impress" tisk tisk

decent review though

Neoteric
October 20th 2005


3243 Comments


I thought In Utero was brilliant.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2005


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Didn't I just see this somewhere? I swear I did...

Kid A
October 20th 2005


261 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

^^^what he said.


Neoteric
October 20th 2005


3243 Comments


^^^What this guy thinks

What that guy doesn't think.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2005


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Who's thinking? Who's talking? Why did this guy do a review for this when there was one 2 days ago? what the fuck is going on?

Neoteric
October 20th 2005


3243 Comments


I myself do not know.

pulseczar
October 20th 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

best nirvana album!!!!!!

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2005


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I never heard Bleach, but this is my least favorties out of everything mainstream.

masada
October 20th 2005


2733 Comments


Good review, maaaaaaan.

I'm probably going to write a review for Nevermind sometime soon.

Kid A
October 20th 2005


261 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

[quote=Cathedral]What that guy doesn't think.
[/quote]



I do too!


*infinite sadness* X Infinity.

asheroth
October 21st 2005


130 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I've been wanting to write a review for this for a while because there weren't any negative opinions on it. I didn't know that MusicOfficial had just posted one. So that's why it's up here.

Also, if you liked the review, could you chuck a positive rating my way? Some Nirvana fanboy negged my review without explaining why.

Thanks for the lack of flaming, btw. This is, after all, only my opinion :D

Oh, and:

"and i disagree with you a bit too here...."In Utero fails to impress" tisk tisk"

What? How can you disagree with whether I was impressed or not?This Message Edited On 10.21.05

mybrotherthecow
April 1st 2006


79 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

your rating is the most stupid ratong of this album. you may not like it but still it deserves a better rating then this because of the talent shown on it.

sj_2150
April 1st 2006


251 Comments


Nirvana are not punk rock...

The Jungler
April 1st 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Grunge started out as punk. So it wouldn't really be wrong to call them punk rock.

sj_2150
April 2nd 2006


251 Comments


not really. theyre sound isnt punky. Pearl Jam Ten doesent sound punky at all neither does Soundgarden or Alice In Chains

asheroth
April 17th 2006


130 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Fix'd to avoid pointless genre arguments.

"your rating is the most stupid ratong of this album. you may not like it but still it deserves a better rating then this because of the talent shown on it."

Um, no it doesn't. That's the whole point. I don't think there's much talent shown here at all.

Smells Like Fanboy...This Message Edited On 05.16.06

nirvana1989_nb
November 4th 2006


98 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Although i respect your humble opinion, i have to disagree. This album was Nirvana's finest hour, and album that dared to not adhere to a formula and become Nevermind MkII. Not one song on this album would look out of place on the Nirvana Greatest Hits Album. Except maybe Tourettes.



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