Review Summary: A groundbreaking 90's classic
The entire genre of rock throughout the 90's was based on this record with every band trying to recapture its memorable sound and market appeal. Of course "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the anthem that started the alternative revolution, but there is matched quality on nearly every song on this album.
The musicianship of the album are simplistic in nature, but very catchy and translate to the listener very easily. The arrangements are so well done that the need for anything profound and complex is immediately thrown out. Nirvana was a band who were great at what they did, needing only their honesty and emotion to get them across; not flashy 80's solos and glam attire. Kurt Cobain's guitar work was interesting, new, innovative, creative, and original as he was one of the first artists in the late 80's to begin using the rhythm guitar to lead the melody without the choppy leads of hair metal bands. His chord progressions are simple and basic for a large portion of the album, but throughout the entire recording his technique stays true to form, using original flowing riffs to carry the song when he does use his instrument as a lead. Kurt Cobain's guitar style has essentially motivated and shaped how the instrument has been used since 1991 and almost all of rock's song writing processes today. In equal impressiveness alongside his guitar skill are Cobain's lyrics and his vocal style, which always have an underwritten sense of urgency and need in them, supporting the pain heard in his voice. Although he did not possess one of the greatest voices in music, and still does not, he was gifted with a natural tone and utilized it well to compliment the instrumentation perfectly.
Chris Novoselic's bass lines are upbeat, catchy, furious, and just as sincere as Kurt's guitar playing. His instrument carrying a melody all of its own instead of just following the bass drum and staying in the background, once again breaking away from the rock and metal cliches of the previous decade. Alongside Chris was Dave Grohl who's drumming was not only extremely powerful, but solid and top notch. Nevermind featured Dave at his best on the instrument that he has always shined and thrived. Dave's and Chris' instrumentation always complimented each other and was every bit as crucial to the impact of the music as Kurt.
Standout tracks in addition to the first six (all of which were hit singles) are "On A Plain" and "Something In The Way" which is beautifully dark and acoustic brilliance. Try listening to this from a perspective when all of this was new to the scene. You will most certainly feel the truly groundbreaking effect it was meant to have. Nevermind is one of the greatest albums that came from the 90's and it undoubtedly set the tone for the entire decade.