by ZEROthirtythree USER (12 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 824 replies

Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Kurt Cobain- Guitar/ Vocals
Kris Novoselic - Bass
Chad Channing - Drums
Jason Everman - Guitar

There was little or no sign that the makers of this respectable Sub Pop seller would a few years later spawn the multi-million seller Nevermind. Released June 1989 to a handful of on-the-pulse listeners, Bleach exceeded expectations simply by contained several strong and surprisingly catchy songs. As a blunt and unashamed grunge record of the Sub Pop era, Bleach reeks of sweat and hard graft. No different from the rest of the late-1980s grunge back catalogue the jump from Bleach to Nevermind is simply astoundingly. Bleach is at times uneasy listening and definitely not tailored for the mass-market consumption. Ill be honest folks, if this is your first sojourn into the wild and wonderful world of Nirvana, you might want to pick this up after you try something a bit more commercial. "Unplugged in NY" was my first Nirvana album, and I have no regrets!!! Once you fall in love with the band, check Bleach out! Although it's totally different than their other albums, it is still raw, beautiful Nirvana, and contains all the power and passion of the other albums. Made on a budget of $600, it has a definite garage band punk flavor that can't be mistaken. Kurt called this album, "retro-seventies!" And so it is! Listen to "School" or "Love Buzz" and it may remind you of some of the music of that far distant decade. This was the publics first glimpse into the magic to come from Kurt and company. Many of these songs are just as, if not more, magical than material on Never Mind. Some of my personal favorites are "Blew", "About a Girl", "Love Buzz", "Downer", and "Paper Cuts!" All the songs are good, many great!! All hold a quality of magic and power that only the great Kurt Cobain could exude. In these rather bleak musical times, I'm very thankful that our generation had Nirvana, if even for a moment, to express such raw beauty and bring such joy to so many of us! If you like Nirvana, buy this album, and all their others. If you're just getting started with this band, buy Unplugged! You'll love it, and them! You'll come back for this one, trust me! I did!

There are small hints of pop craftsmanship within the heaviness of Bleach most notably on About A Girl, the REM-jangly guitars and throwaway, disposable nature. On the other even of the scale, Negative Creep remains a cracking riff-driven work-out, which has become a staple cover song for lesser bands ever since. The likes of Paper Cuts still unnerve for its scraping and uncomfortable sound, which stretches throughout on The Melvin’s-inspired numbers Swap Meet and Sifting. The murky and guitar-dominated production is cut from the finest underground cloth; you couldn't mistake this for the mainstream (which ironically enough has become a mainstream unit seller post-Nevermind). You're find no multi-layered harmonies or guitar dubbing techniques here, everything shines in an almost amateur and refreshing manner. Which leads me onto the question of what the hell is Kurt Cobain singing? The vocals appear to be mumbled and unclear nonsense mainly because Cobain literally wrote the lyrics minutes before recording them in the studio. Looking back it was undoubtedly the most creative period of activity for Nirvana as several discarded tracks ended up on 1992's more superior Insecticide compilation. Most bootleg recordings are culled from Bleach-era Nirvana, which raises a question of quality control. Bleach is not nirvana's best work by any means, nor is Kurt's songwriting as good as nevermind or in utero, but the album succeeds through its energy, its sincerity, and the adventurous nature of the songs. Kurt adds an element of originality to each song, and he wasn’t afraid to go in different directions in his songwriting.

BLEW- Classic slice of rumbling grunge as the song balances not only the growl of Kurt's voice but a spiked guitar and thudding bass, which brings the song in perfectly with it's unearthly grumble. Already Kurt shows his voice to be very distinctive and impressionable. In my opinion, this song is the real prelude to nevermind, in that it manages to be both heavy and melodic at the same time. I very much enjoy the guitar solo in this song also. 5/5

FLOYD THE BARBER- Dirty and abrasive. While you may not be always able to tell what Kurt is saying he puts across a lot of character with a growl melting into almost a coo at points. Sounds very muddy. Its a very primitive, heavy song; they take a two chord riff and make it huge, I love Kurt's scream at the end of the first chorus, this one has pretty good lyrics that tell a story in which the townsfolk in the Andy Griffith show are all deranged murderers. 3.5/5

ABOUT A GIRL- A Classic. Lovely song about (what else) a girl. Its by far standout track that highlights Kurt’s natural pop songwriting ability. This song shows The Beatles influence on Kurt. 5/5

SCHOOL- Bleach's first big anthem; It's a lovely angst number that stirs up the of the pains of school. It's also clever how Kurt reduces school trauma down to the lack of recess i.e.: the lack of getting a break from school. Really demonstrates the passion Kurt could put into his lyrics through his vocal style. It only has 3 different lines, yet they are sung with the utmost passion, worked really well when played live. 4/5

LOVE BUZZ- A cover of a 60's psychedelic pop song. Gnarly piece that's a little love ditty but put over with "buzzing? guitars, clashing drums and a strangely jingling bass. Really cool when everything starts going a little crazy at the end. It's a very good song with a crazy noise solo. 5/5

PAPER CUTS- With its lurching rhythm, dissonant chord progression, hooked guitar sound, thumping drums, and a jagged, seriously frightening voice, this is probably the most intense song on the record; this song has the most thought-out lyrics, and they are definitely the most disturbing; this track also shows Kurt's versatility as a vocalist. Well-deserved name as the guitar and voice combo feel like a quick little cuts at the audience in their tempered bitterness. 4.5/5

NEGATIVE CREEP- Raucous grunge number that most fans can simplify with, haven't we all felt a Negative Creep at times? Kurt is at his most ferocious here and the guitar wails along with screams. It's by far one of their most biting numbers. In the first verse Kurt sings in a gruff bark, but by the end of the second he's screaming at the top of his lungs 4.5/5

SCOFF- has a great 70's type drumbeat during the verse; Kurt sings the line "gimme back my alcohol" in a different voice practically each time. It's similar to school in it's pace. Simple thumping background sound. One of the more average numbers on the album I'd say. 2.5/5

SWAP MEET- Lovely aggressive guitar running through, running fluidly with the roar of Cobain. The background buzz here spikes and lashes out. Nicely underscored number. It sort of has a weird rhythm in the verses, the vocals are set against the guitars in a weird way that you don't expect at the beginning. 3.5/5

MR. MUTSTACHE- Picks up the pace nicely after the slight meandering of Swap Meet, with everything paced up and racing. As always the most distinctive thing here is the guitar wrangle and the growling vocals. It has great anti-hipster lyrics; love how they slow the main riff down to a crawl at the end. 4/5

SIFTING- Again we slow down again for this extended number. As ever the great thing about the sound is how heavy, thick and muddy it appears. Its also good how they follow up the fairly samey rift and sound in the previous by having one that goes out on tangents with the guitar soloing halfway through etc. The meandering tone though an grate if you've paying attention to the progression. “Sifting? has a macho zeppelin-like feel to it, very strange lyrics and a structure similar to scoff's. 4/5

BIG CHEESE- Great intro guitar noise; drums are calmer here where elsewhere they'd been thudding and despite the bile poured into this number everything rattles along with leisure. Kurt's voice eases up in parts a little here, although he's never far from the next growl. The gruff, snarling vocals during the verses contrast with the mellow choruses. 4/5

DOWNER- Ain't no downer! Paced number clocking in at under 2 minutes at they rattle through this fiery number. It's a great energetic closer, Kurt sings in a bizarre voice during the verses, indecipherable lyrics. Reminds me of "it's the end of the world" by REM :) 5/5

Overall: 4/5

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Comments:Add a Comment 
February 11th 2004


well done on that review.

i'm starting to listen to nirvana a lot now, as my friend has finally "converted" me into a grunge fan.

that was a terrific review!


February 11th 2004


Nice reveiw, Bleach was one of their best

February 11th 2004


Mr. Mustache is a fun song to play, but hard for bassists like me to get the flow of that main riff.

February 12th 2004


Scoff is a great song, and you plegarized your review.

Meh, GJ anyway.

February 12th 2004


I actually think this deserves a 5/5.. This is the only nirvana album I actually bought. Every song on this album is a classic

February 12th 2004


[QUOTE=BirdsOfFires]Scoff is a great song, and you plegarized your review.

Meh, GJ anyway.

Not good!

February 12th 2004


Good review, one comment though:

"School" was actually Kurt's opinion on the seattle music scene, and how it's pettiness and image obsession resembled a high school social structure.

Bleach is a great album :thumb:

lethal dose
February 12th 2004


bleach is a f.ucking awesome album

February 12th 2004


[QUOTE=BirdsOfFires]Scoff is a great song, and you plegarized your review.

Meh, GJ anyway.

ahh, you caught me :p

February 12th 2004


[QUOTE=ZEROthirtythree]ahh, you caught me :p[/QUOTE]

It's not a laughing matter you! :smash:


February 12th 2004


[QUOTE=ZEROthirtythree]ahh, you caught me :p[/QUOTE]

do not do that again.

February 12th 2004



I was going to congratulate you on an awesome review. Silly me! That must be why you said you could do them all easily. Trickster!

February 12th 2004


i love bleach. its easlily my favorite nirvana album after incesticide. and ya, mr. moustache is kinda hard to play on bass at first. great review :thumb:

February 12th 2004


"School" is probably my favourite song on that album. I never heard Scythe said about the Seattle grunge culture, but as a song purely about school it's awesome. It sure manages to get a lot of anger out with just three lines.

February 12th 2004


Im going to listen to that album in a second actually, its a great cd. Nice review too

February 12th 2004


[QUOTE=sting-ray]do not do that again.[/QUOTE]

hey, i wrote the descriptions to each song atleast.

February 12th 2004


Eh, it was good. But obviously too good for you since you didn't write it. :rolleyes: Song descriptions were good.

February 12th 2004


nice review

bleach is an amazing album.
i dont own it but when i heard negative creep i was just stoked

May 23rd 2004


I think Bleach has alot more hard rock in it than any other Nirvana album. you can really hear the beatles influence in it. you can tell that it was one of Nirvana's more earlier albums.

May 23rd 2004


[QUOTE=BirdsOfFires]Scoff is a great song, and you plegarized your review.

Meh, GJ anyway.

Zero and JAStewart!!!

Cheaters!! How is this aloud, or even passed of as a joke? :angry:

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