Courtney Love has a way of releasing "rare" versions of there music around Christmas time. "With The Lights Out" box set came out for Christmas 2004 and featured some of the best rare footage of Nirvana we had ever seen, songs getting played live, and songs that even the most diehard Nirvana fan had never heard. But by Christmas 2005 the rareness and "that's amazing!" of the rare Nirvana material was gone. So what do you do? Release another CD just like the last just a lot shorter and a lot cheaper for the first ten tracks, and then speed it up with some of Nirvana's hits in the second half.
But I actually like "Silver: The Best Of Box" better than "With The Lights Out" maybe it is just me but besides the live DVD WTLO was really lacking any momentum. And "Silver: The Best Of Box", is exactly what the title says a best of not of Nirvana but of the popular box set that was released late in 2004. This one gives us the acoustic versions and live versions of the popular Nirvana songs late in the disc, but really strands away by giving us the old and crappy versions of Nirvana in the begging of the disc. We don't really get a popular 'till song 11 and in the other songs are just horrible.
"Spank Thru" sounds just like a joke along with all the other songs on to the album leading up to track 11. The songs just have garage like feel, and Kurt's voice has even a deeper tone and he's not even bringing his tone up for the chorus or anything. The guitar riffs never really change at all which can be annoying, and when guitar solos are attempted they sound just plain out horrible. Live music from these songs is extremely horrible and you can't really even hear Kurt's voice half the time because of the crowd noise, "Heartbreaker", is probably one of the best sounding guitar riffs Nirvana has put together but it sounds to dirty and under produced and the song doesn't even include any of Kurt's vocals that you can hear besides "I don't know how to play it". The bad songs continue to follow this pattern and I hate to say at this point I was on the verge of throwing this album into the trashcan.
"Lithium, Silver, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are". What? After 10 horrible garage songs we finally get to what sounds like the best of "With The Lights Out". It's not just that these songs are four Nirvana classics it is that they are performed in many different forms. This isn't just the studio or album version of the song it is very random and varied. Lithium is a live acoustic even though the crowd doesn't really affect Kurt's voice like earlier in this album. The song is a Nirvana classic that everyone knows and when a song is played live it makes it two times as better. And when Nirvana performs a good live song it makes it even more rewarding. "Silver", is one of the most humorous and catchy Nirvana songs ever written, and it's even better when it is an acoustic version, "Grandma take me home" is the chorus and this is probably one of the most underrated Nirvana songs. "Smells Like Teen Spirit", answers my lifelong question: "Sure it sounds good on the album, but how would it sound in the studio getting recorded?” Well the answer is decent as Kurt's surrounding lines sound a little bit distorted by the loud beat and it even sounds like some alternative lyrics are being thrown in at the songs intro. "Come As You Are", is one of the most provoking Nirvana songs and it showed how much there song writing had improved from album to album. On here it is the boom box version and it sounds alright but Kurt's vocals are just a little skewed and the guitar playing is alright but doesn't really fit the drums, but the chorus is executed perfectly.
So hearing these four songs pulled off in a row after 10 waste tracks was really special and hearing them in different versions really enhanced the experience. But after these songs are a couple of "New Rare Songs" that are so-so but still better than anything I could get out of the first eleven songs of the album. Then something very cool happens we get two versions of one of Nirvana's best songs in a row, a acoustic version of "Rape Me" is just beautifully executed as Kurt always seems to sing better when the instruments are playing to full blast, and the song is just as damn catchy as it was when you first purchased "In Utero". But the real test is if the Rape Me home demo could sound as good as the one on that particular album and the answer is yes it does. Kurt's vocals finally sound just right on a studio version the instruments are played a lot higher than the acoustic version, and the drums sound right [one of my complaints about "In Utero"]. "Heart Shaped Box", always proves to be an interesting Nirvana song among there fans, some fans love it and some fans just think it was one of the most corny Nirvana songs they have ever written. The songs demo sounds exactly like the album version, and the always-repetitive Nirvana "Hey" chorus is repeated with even more emotion then it is in the album version, This was a good version of this song. "You Know You're Right", is one of the acoustic versions on the album since it is so rare to find an acoustic version of a song that was just premiered on a "Best Of" album a few years back. The song seems a little bit shorter with a different chorus the first time through; still it's impressive to hear this song-performed acoustic. "All Apologies", is a great choice for a closer. Not only is the acoustic guitar played perfectly, Kurt's vocals are distorted and still sound perfect. The chorus is even more memorable and clear when performed acoustically.
In conclusion, this album seemed like we were getting the same old "rare" Nirvana material that we got on there first box set. But then the greatest hits really kick in after track 10 with different versions of all Nirvana's hits the most impressive being the acoustic versions. This album was a step above "With The Lights Out" because it's quicker, better played, and has more of Nirvana's hits.
The second half of this album is classic
Kurt's voice sounds perfect on the acoustic tracks
Two versions of Rape Me!
The early tracks [1-10]
Kurt's voice in those tracks
The attempt at guitar and drum solos