Nirvana
Bleach


2.5
average

Review

by TheSpeedNirvana USER (7 Reviews)
August 13th, 2011 | 25 replies | 6,616 views


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It’s never too late to create your own nostalgia

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

You can only be a fan of a band for so long until you’re forced tear it a new one and admit to yourself that as a kid, you were pretty damn easy to impress. Let alone the fact that the band in question is Nirvana, one of the most polarizing bands to come out in the last two decades. Treated more as a cultural phenomenon then a band, heated discussion about them can rage on without a single note of the music being discussed.

Kurt Cobain was a misunderstood genius. Kurt Cobain was a whinny, self-destructive loser. Nirvana was the single most important band of the 90’s that defined a generation. Nirvana is a footnote in music history that didn’t change anything nearly as much as revisionist history and nostalgia has. Personally, I think it’s a little of all of the above, but enough of that. Screw the history. Screw the nostalgia. Is Nirvana’s debut album any good? The answer is an unsurprising, no. Not really.

A bit of music trivia. Bleach came out on vinyl in 89’ but wasn’t given a reissued CD release until 92’, and probably never would have if Nirvana hadn’t blown up the year before with a little sophomore album called Nevermind. But that’s another story. Outside of the band and maybe ten of Kurt’s friends, no one had really heard or cared much for Bleach when it was initially released. So you could be forgiven for thinking that Nevermind was Nirvana’s debut and for noticing that Bleach sounds so different.

While Nevermind gained a lot of attention for its sleek, top of the line production, Bleach sounds like a rushed venture by comparison. Ever wondered what Nirvana would have sounded like if they stayed in the garage? Wonder no more. The album sounds like three guys hitting their instruments as hard as they can, as loudly as the can, while hoping for some kind of melody. It’s all very raw and in-your-face. But instrumental it just sounds sloppy. “Blew” is a nice opener, with a catchy melody, and a surprisingly effective bass line. But “Floyd The Butcher” quickly establishes the norm by sounding like a jumbled mess. Loud distorted guitar and Kurt wailing some nonsense that he doesn’t care about, define this album from start to finish. One stand out to the cacophony is “About A Girl”, a surprisingly melodic, almost poppy song.


Kurt admitted he didn’t care for the vocals, so we already know they don’t have to make sense. But that level of care reflects on this album as a whole. There are more than a few decent melodies and ideas here. The before mentioned “Blew”, “About A Girl”, and “School”, for starters. But the poor recording, paired with the poor musicianship, mires the experience as nothing more than overhyped garage noise.

Kurt’s melodies are good enough on guitar, but there needs to be a special shout out to Krist Novoselic, whose bass playing has always been underrated. He is easily the strongest musician on this album and provides a heavy, constant rhythm that contributes to the album’s signature sound. As for drummer Chad Channing, you can be forgiven if you don’t remember him. Neither does anyone else. He hits hard enough and has a few good moments with some creative fills (“Mr. Moustache and “Downer”) but is a sloppy, rhythm less drummer. You start to understand why they decided to go with Dave, who’s never-stop-to-hyper, pounding became an integral part of Nevermind.

And that’s only about the 12th time I mentioned that album because, let’s face it. Yes, it was slickly recorded using pop music sensibilities, and yes, Kurt went on record saying he hated it. And it was BETTER. Bleach is very much the sound of a band that didn’t believe they had much potential. A decent debut album, but far from a classic album, despite whatever your made-up nostalgia may say.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Urinetrouble
August 14th 2011



5754 Comments


better than their later work

Parallels
August 14th 2011



6640 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

in utero is my fav

ShadowRemains
August 14th 2011



20238 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dino jr > this band though


yes

Iamthe Nightstars
August 14th 2011



2182 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I always thought In Utero and Nevermind were much better than this.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2011



10003 Comments


Good review! The summary was especially well-written

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Sciroccu
August 14th 2011



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like it too, good review.
Great songs here (you should name a few in the "pos" section that doesn't exist : School, Love buzz, floy the barber, about a girl, Negatve creep, mr moustache...)

Dreamflight
August 14th 2011



1760 Comments


Good review.

School is a geat tune.

thumbcrusher
August 14th 2011



3578 Comments


nice review, i'm fine with nevermind and in utero

porch
August 14th 2011



8451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Loud distorted guitar and Kurt wailing some nonsense that he doesn’t care about, define this album from start to finish.


poor recording, paired with the poor musicianship, mires the experience as nothing more than overhyped garage noise.


hey grandad

this was actually a pretty good debut in the vein of other stuff that was on sub-pop at the time. gets a bit monotonous after a while but wears its melvins, flipper and black flag influences on its sleeve and there's some cool riffs and use of feedback. but yeah the level of musicianship on a nirvana album is clearly important lol

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2011



15332 Comments


good review, uniquely written. i haven't heard this but overall as a band i would give nirvana a 3

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

HenchmanOfSanta
August 14th 2011



1852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is Nirvana’s debut album any good? The answer is an unsurprising, no. Not really.
Then why did you rate it a 3/5 (or "good")?

Blackbelt54
August 14th 2011



4268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review

porch
August 14th 2011



8451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the whole premise of the review is flawed because he approached it from the angle that most people consider this a classic album (which isn't the case) instead of judging it on its own merits


Piglet
August 14th 2011



4652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The album cover has a vague look of Rage Against The Machine's self titled...

porch
August 14th 2011



8451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks for the ninja edit piglet now my comment makes no sense

TheSpeedNirvana
August 14th 2011



8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A minor correction! A friend of mine told me that Nirvana had yet another drummer before Chad named Dale Crover, and it's his drumming you here on "Floyd The Barber", "School", and "Downer".

As for the rating, I was really torn up about this one. I was about to give it a 2.5, but the album just had to sense my hesitation and choose then to repeat to "Blew", which is a damn good song. Yes, as hard as I said I wouldn't, I gave into nostalgia a little bit near the end. Damn you Kurt and your catchy hooks! lol.

porch
August 14th 2011



8451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nostalgia for eight months ago

dale crover is the melvins drummer. the neg isn't mine btw

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2011



10003 Comments


"^ You know what would happen if you jumped into that pit"

Did I miss something here? :O

TheSpeedNirvana
August 14th 2011



8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@porch Dale Crover played on a 10 track EP for Nirvana but most of it was never realesed.

ebay
August 14th 2011



501 Comments


Nice review. I got a little confused at the end of the 2nd paragraph though because you the say album isn't any good, yet you rated it good.



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