Nirvana
Nevermind


4.5
superb

Review

by lz41 USER (33 Reviews)
October 25th, 2011 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The album that changed music. All by itself.

Those who argue that Nevermind is one of the greatest albums of all time do so on the basis that it changed and defined music, single handedly, for the first five years of the 1990s. You would be hard pressed to find a single album that has done so before or since. The impact that the ultimately doomed Seattle trio made, over just seven years, makes Nirvana one of rock’s most successful artists.

Nevermind begins with Nirvana’s signature track: Smells Like Teen Spirit, which Rolling Stone Magazine ranks at #9 in its 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time for its influence and lyrics about the social pressures and anxieties faced in adolescence with a massive chorus:
With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid, and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us!
The aggressive, four powerchord opening echoed down the line of the early ‘90s, being sampled by many imitating artists.

Nevermind was never meant to be as huge on the pop scene as it was. Kurt Cobain worried that his grunge credibility would be threatened. His gloom was increased when Smells Like Teen Spirit, which he didn’t feel was anywhere near his best lyrical effort, was demanded at concerts. Ultimately, Cobain’s fractured, unbearable youth would provide the lyrical structure for much of Nevermind: Smells Like Teen Spirit, the anti-judgemental Come As You Are, the chilling Polly, the characterised denial and confusion of On A Plain and the heartbreaking Something In The Way all have evidence of a troubled, anguished childhood and the terrible inner turmoil that was, sadly, never too far under the surface.
However, not all of Nevermind is a collection of underlying teenage unrest by an alternatively brilliant, damaged young man. The frenzied shred of Breed and Territorial Pissings are music as a party drug, the latter being most enjoyable when control is thrown out the window, Cobain’s voice cracks and the song smashes through logical structure of music.
In Bloom, with its blaring riff and murmured, boiling verses, would become a fan favourite and a radio staple, as would Come As You Are.
Cobain loved Drain You, which is brash, faintly repulsive yet somehow un-put-down-able. The clean cut, cynical Lithium is Cobain’s lyric writing at its best on the album, with wry, almost funny one liners turning personal slights into rebound attacks:
I’m so ugly?/ That’s OK, ‘cause so are you!
Polly, an acoustic about the rape of a young girl, is hard to listen to too often, especially with the line
Let me clip your dirty wings.
Ultimately, what makes the album is the final track Something In The Way. After the pounding and thundering of the first eleven songs, its soft, quiet desperation stands out a mile. The depressing lyrics, about Cobain living under a bridge as a young man, are graceful and poignant, with a mournfully beautiful cello playing over the chorus. A stand out.
Nevermind is difficult to fully judge. The music is more than a classic of its genre; it is the genre. The lyrics, while at times unpleasant, fit perfectly with the sound. The disillusion that Cobain felt following its success makes it tragic.
If you look at it in a purely music relevance sense, it is a classic, and arguably the most influential album of all time.



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user ratings (5116)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Blackbelt54
October 25th 2011


4276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

interesting review

album is overrated, but it still rules

Valerius
October 26th 2011


1137 Comments


I might as well go ahead and 5 this. I'd lie if I said I didn't listen to this hundreds of times. I don't listen to them much anymore, but I do come back to this album every now and then. I definitely wouldn't call it the most influential album of all time, though. And if you really believe that, why did you give it a 4?

lz41
October 26th 2011


61 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Valerius-the music is excellent, but does it match its influence? No

xfearbefore
October 26th 2011


1246 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This should be a 5. Always. Forever. End of story. Especially when you preface your review by claiming it changed music entirely by itself. Which it did after all, I agree completely with that, music has NEVER been the same since Nirvana came around with this album, but shouldn't that entail a 5 rating to go along with it? Confusing review. It's well-written certainly but schematically it makes my head hurt.

Digging: The Smoking Popes - Get Fired

EyesWideShut
October 26th 2011


3210 Comments


one of the most overrated albums/bands of all time but yea they were the 90's. i never saw what was so amazing in Nirvana besides Kurt wrote some cool lyrics and musically there is nothing special..

but maybe thats what makes Nirvana THAT band...

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2011


50959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A 4 average is pretty rough

Digging: Friendzone - Collection 1

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2011


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Correct rating, if you don't take in account the influence this thing had. The music is great, but there are better albums out there...

KILL5
October 26th 2011


429 Comments


This should be a 5. Always. Forever. End of story.

lol

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2011


24098 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this influenced music heavily, sure, but in the end it's overrated as hell. Most of the songs just aren't very good (again, influential, sure, but not good). Still a really cool album but yeah, overrated as fuck. Not even Nirvana's best album.

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

Valerius
October 26th 2011


1137 Comments


That's why ratings are ambiguous. Preference, musical ability, influence, originality, hype, relativity within it's genre, etc.

This might not be as superb of an album it's made out to be, but you would probably be hard pressed not to find this album in a top albums list. This record is like Dark Side of the Moon. Overrated and over-hyped that is crushed under it's own unwarranted excessive praise.

Nevertheless, it's an album I would say you need to hear so you aren't ignorant about music as a whole. Which means it is a classic, which is what a 5 is on this site.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2011


24098 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

just because it says "5 - Classic" doesn't mean that has to be what it means. they're just guidelines, use your own rating system. I don't think the music is good enough on this album for it to be 5/5.

"This record is like Dark Side of the Moon. Overrated and over-hyped that is crushed under it's own unwarranted excessive praise."

oh no you fucking didn't

Valerius
October 26th 2011


1137 Comments


lol. yeah I did go there.

Alk3Misfit13
December 5th 2011


5 Comments


Love Nirvana, but the big problem I have with them is very simply put in the book, Heavier than Heaven. Kurt Cobain was a very, very lazy person. This shows greatly in his songwriting. He would have the melodies all written out but would do the lyrics at the last minute usually in the middle of the night. This is how I feel about them perfectly. Great melodies but the songwriting was below par making the lyrics seem worse than they were. When you're repeating the same verse 3 times in a song i.e. Something in the Way, the songs are gonna suffer despite the great melodies. Thankfully the melodies saved them.

xfearbefore
December 5th 2011


1246 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love Nirvana, but the big problem I have with them is very simply put in the book, Heavier than Heaven. Kurt Cobain was a very, very lazy person. This shows greatly in his songwriting. He would have the melodies all written out but would do the lyrics at the last minute usually in the middle of the night. This is how I feel about them perfectly. Great melodies but the songwriting was below par making the lyrics seem worse than they were. When you're repeating the same verse 3 times in a song i.e. Something in the Way, the songs are gonna suffer despite the great melodies. Thankfully the melodies saved them.


Really man?

1) Heavier Than Heaven was the white-washed, Courtney Love-approved biography of Kurt. If you want a better representation of what Kurt and the band were actually like, read Come As You Are.

2) Cobain wrote the melodies and music first before adding lyrics because that's the exact same thought process that most of his musical idols utilized, most notably John Lennon and The Beatles. That's actually how most musicians write songs dude, in any genre besides rap. Calling Kurt lazy for that is asinine.




Ethics
August 30th 2012


4112 Comments


yeah, dark side is super overrated




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