In Utero



by AshtrayTheUnforgiven USER (19 Reviews)
November 29th, 2007 | 38 replies

Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Kurt Cobain's lyrics and vocals work like a double edged sword: sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

After releasing Nevermind in 1991, Nirvana is literally on top of the world. Nirvana ushered in the new era of grunge and shocked the world, especially with their most well known hit, Smells Like Teen Spirit. Soon, other bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice In Chains would tip their hat into the grunge scene. However, in my opinion, Nirvana's second album made them seem doomed to me. Nevermind was quite like a pop-punk album, and Kurt Cobain's lyrics made little to no sense to me. But in their defense, grunge WAS somewhat punk in its early years, such case can be said for Alice In Chains' Dirt. The years to follow though, grunge sounded nothing like punk, instead sounding more like hard rock.

Fast forward to 1994, to Nirvana's third and final studio album, In Utero. In Utero has got to be one of, if not the greatest, albums of the grunge era. In Utero is a rather large surprise to me. Now Cobain and the rest of the band have moved to a more raw sound, with a dark mood to boot. Kurt Cobain literally puts his life on display in this album, notably in opener Serve The Servants, ballad(if you will) Heart Shaped Box, closer All Apologies, and ESPECIALLY Pennyroyal Tea.

Serve The Servants starts with a chilling surprise, with Nirvana now playing darker than before with more of a in-your-face attitude. Dave Grohl is pounding away at the skins, Noveselic's bass is booming, and Cobain's guitar jumps out to catch the listener's attention, with spine chilling riffs. His monotone vocal is also heartfelt and matching for an album such as this, and Cobain's lyrical structure in In Utero shows it well. Serve The Servants is one of my favorite tracks that Nirvana has ever done. It's enjoyable to hear Cobain say "Teenage angst has paid off well, now I'm bored and old", and I also enjoy the guitar solo Cobain gives, showing off that he actually can play guitar. I actually think he can play better than he can sing, because Cobain tends to mumble, which you can't really tell what he's saying unless you have a lyric sheet or you can just tell right away. However, no such case could be said for Heart Shaped Box and All Apologies.

I can't really explain why Heart Shaped Box is a terrific song, but all I can say is that it shows off some of Cobain's strongest vocals during the chorus. All Apologies is indeed heartfelt, and depressing. Why depressing" When Nirvana quit after the suicide of Kurt Cobain, which would happen one year later after their Live In New York performance, All Apologies felt like Kurt's farewell message to me. But then we have Pennyroyal Tea to just put the finishing touches on the display of Cobain's life. In this number, Cobain actually sums up his life in just this one song. Kurt's shrill vocal works, actually working for the better here, and he gives a great solo to boot. I don't know what to say, it might be the inner fanboy speaking within me, but Pennyroyal Tea is just brilliant.

However, while In Utero has its strongest performances and backbone, it does get boring, weak, or redundant. Scentless Apprentice is nothing but noise, noise, and more noise, never escaping its main riff except for the Cobain solo. Not to mention, Cobain's vocal is annoying in it too. Rape Me recycles the intro to Smells Like Teen Spirit from Nevermind, and the lyrics aren't that impressive: "Rape me. Rape me, my friend. Rape me. Do it to me again." However, despite this, Cobain does manage to sell the song with his vocal, but before he finishes a verse, he mumbles right at the last line of the verse, whichever one it may be. The lyrical structure to Frances Framer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle is poor, only displaying three lines a verse, before Cobain would keep repeating the extremely catchy line "I miss the comfort in being sad".

Dumb is a good song, but it's not as eye catching to me as Heart Shaped Box is on In Utero. A better version of this song would come during the recording of Nirvana's Unplugged appearance. However, it is interesting to hear the cello when Kurt says "Think I'm just happy". And then we have Very Ape and Milk It. Very Ape is very bad, with the intro reusing riffs found in Drain You from Nevermind, and the lyrical structure is at a low point. Milk It is just the same way lyrically, and vocally. You can barely tell what Kurt Cobain is saying, except for in the chorus, "Doll steak, test meat". Radio Friendly Unit Shifter is decent, but the technical effects just ruin the song right away. Now we have the worst song on this album left.

That's right. The only song we have left is Tourette's. This song is cacophonial, bland, dull, ear-bleed inducing, etc. I could go on and on about how bad this song is, but I'll just go ahead and explain why. At the start of the song, Kurt says "Moderate rock", followed by Nirvana going back to their Nevermind sound in this one. The only three really words are "cufk, tish, sips". We all should know what they are when you rearrange them in a certain way. This song is a minute of nothing but Kurt Cobain shouting random nonsense over and over again, and the sound is unbearable. You should definitely skip this track, with ease, unless you like the Muddy Banks of Wishkah version of Tourette's better.

With a new, raw sound after showing little promise in Nevermind, Nirvana manages to create one interesting release. Masterpieces like Heart Shaped Box and Pennyroyal Tea would be something that no anti-Nevermind person would expect to hear from these guys. However, despite having some of its strongest performances, Kurt Cobain's lyrics and vocals still ruined over half of In Utero, working like a double edged sword: sometimes for the better in songs(Pennyroyal Tea) and sometimes for the worse(Very Ape, Tourette's). Later on, KoRn would take the reins after Kurt Cobain's tragic death, and bring in the genre of nu-metal, all while reaching out to the post-grunge teens after Nirvana's end. All in all, In Utero is an album for the ages, and if you haven't gotten this, you should. In Utero does deserve a good listen or two.

Song Rating
1. Serve The Servants- 5/5
2. Scentless Apprentice- 2/5
3. Heart Shaped Box- 4.5/5
4. Rape Me- 3/5
5. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle- 2/5
6. Dumb- 4/5
7. Very Ape- 1.5/5
8. Milk It- 1/5
9. Pennyroyal Tea- 5/5
10. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter- 3/5
11. Tourette's- 0/5
12. All Apologies- 5/5

36 divided by 12= 3(get this part by adding the song ratings together, then divide by the total number of tracks)

Final Rating: 3 out of 5

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Comments:Add a Comment 
November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

This was the first record I bought for myself, when I was in France. It was very off the deep end for a thirteen year old, but I really like it now.

You should have researched Steve Albini for this review, and I disagree about which songs you think are bad, the aggression on this record is rarely matched, that takes real spirit, bollocks to technical skill.

November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Vaselines cover Scentless Apprentice


Also, that song > Pennyroyal Tea

November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with the review's problems with the album, but to a less harsh extent.This Message Edited On 11.29.07

November 29th 2007


You must really hate grunge if your favorite album from the grunge era is only worthy of a 3.

November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Also, this was the third and final studio album. Incesticide was B-Sides compilation.

Edit: I liked the review for the most part even though if a lot of the points were in the wrong spirit of the album.

Also, if you score each of the tracks seperaately, and average them, then you will always get lower scores than the album is really worth. I mean flow, continuousness, feeling, and other overall concepts go into a grading...not just an average. This Message Edited On 11.29.07

November 29th 2007


All the songs you think are good are bad and all the songs you think are bad are good, pretty much.

November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

This deserves more than a three for sure.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Electric City
November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.3

I gave this a 3 once. How wrong I was.

Also, Milk It's really good lol.This Message Edited On 11.29.07

November 29th 2007


This review is terrible. Of course you love Pennyroyal Tea, All Apologies, Serve The Servants.. the ones that are easy radio hits.. but you don't acknowledge Radio Friendly Unit Shifter.. and diss Tourette's.. which could possibly be one of Nirvana's best songs. You were better off reviewing Nirvana's best of than In Utero.

Also, your last comment is absurd.. and an insult to Nirvana. To say Nirvana inspired Korn is absurd.. Korn is a nu-metal/rap rock band.. which has no influence from Nirvana or the grunge era once so ever. You need to get your facts straight.. Post-grunge is Third Eye Blind, and Matchbox Twenty.. mostly pop-rock consisted of post-grunge. Although it is a lot more poppier.. that contains similar elements of grunge that gave it the label.

November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

himslashher is a terrible user

November 29th 2007


To say Nirvana inspired Korn is complete and irredeemable fact
checked it myself, kid.

November 29th 2007


himslashher is stupid.

November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

"You must really hate grunge if your favorite album from the grunge era is only worthy of a 3."

If that be the case, then I would have written a negative review about STP's compilation album and Mad Season's Above. Which I didn't.

November 29th 2007


Nah yo, himslashher is perfectly correct in that first paragraph. Reviewer fucked up there.

November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

Well everyone has their own opinions. Just because one guy doesn't like one certain song doesn't mean that another will, you know.

November 29th 2007


i agree with you saying this is one of the best, if not the best album from the grunge era. but you said scentless apprentice, milk it, frances farmer will have her revenge on seattle, very ape and tourettes were all bad, those are like the best songs on the album. nirvana is about raw, heavy noise, you need to listen to unplugged and put in utero away

November 29th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

"you need to listen to unplugged"

Best Nirvana I've ever heard IMOThis Message Edited On 11.29.07

November 30th 2007


scentless apprentice, frances farmer and milk it are awesome songs. Milk it is my all time favourite nirvana song. So I disagree with your song ratings.
I also think All Apologies is boring, probaby the worst song on the album.

November 30th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

I really stopped enjoying this as much as I used to a long time ago. Maybe I have to fish it out sometime for another listen.

edit: I do like Pennyroyal tea though!This Message Edited On 11.30.07

November 30th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

this si a great album, althought i must agree that Tourette's is a terrible almost makes my ears bleed.

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