Seat­tle sound’s sec­ond com­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - NUI TE KOHA

WHEN Nev­er­mind un­wit­tingly turned Nir­vana from a cult alt-rock band into gen­er­a­tional spokes­men, no one was ready for it. Not singer-song­writer Kurt Cobain, not his band mates and cer­tainly not their record la­bel, which printed a pal­try first run of 46,251 copies that sold out in the blink of an eye.

His­tory tells us Nev­er­mind went on to sell more than 30 mil­lion units. That will climb even higher with this new, mul­ti­for­mat 20th an­niver­sary reis­sue.

If ever there was an al­bum that didn’t need re­mas­ter­ing – louder, punchier – it’s this one, but that’s what fans will find on disc one of the deluxe edi­tion.

Nev­er­mind ’ s siz­zling gui­tars, thun­der­clap drums, slinky bass, gruff vo­cals and manic en­ergy sound as thrilling to­day as they did in 1991.

The al­bum has no flat spots, ev­ery song is vi­tal – from the low-key creepi­ness of Polly to the ag­i­tated rock of Lithium to the balls-to-the-wall thrash­ing, shouty mosh of Ter­ri­to­rial Piss­ings.

The slith­er­ing, liq­uid bass line on Come As You Are thrills, the som­bre, spooky Some­thing in the Way will make the hair on your neck stand up, and of course there is the angst-rid­den power of their teen an­them Smells Like Teen Spirit, a song that ranks highly on al­most ev­ery best-ever list.

What made Nev­er­mind res­onate with fans was its hon­esty and in­tegrity. Punkbased mu­sic had only a small foothold in the rock spec­trum be­fore Nev­er­mind.

And af­ter, the al­bum all but killed off hair, metal and glam rock acts such as Guns N’ Roses, War­rant or Mot­ley Crue, who had ruled the roost.

Whether you can stom­ach the words ‘‘ Seat­tle’’ and ‘‘ grunge’’ or not, there’s no ar­gu­ing this land­mark al­bum changed the course of rock mu­sic.

It also dis­placed Michael Jack­son’s al­bum Dan­ger­ous at num­ber one, giv­ing pop mu­sic a punch in the guts to boot.

For Nir­vana nerds who al­ready own a copy or two of Nev­er­mind, there are good rea­sons to in­vest in this pack­age.

There are B-sides, crude boom-box de­mos and live record­ings to di­gest.

There are also the orig­i­nal preNev­er­mind record­ings by pro­ducer Butch Vig that were used to snare ma­jor la­bel at­ten­tion.

It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to hear how the songs evolved from raw messi­ness into pol­ished, ra­dio-ready rock ’ n’ roll.

Wit­ness­ing the trans­for­ma­tion from Pay to Play into Stay Away or Im­mod­ium into Breed is great fun for mu­sic geeks.

These early tapes also show the work Cobain put into his lyrics, dis­prov­ing the com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that he treated a song’s words as only a mum­bled af­ter­thought.

The Devon­shire Mixes are the ver­sion of the songs that Vig and the band pro­duced be­fore Andy Wal­lace tweaked it. More geeky fod­der.

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