Nirvana: 20 Years of In Utero


This week, the third
and final studio album by Nirvana, In Utero, celebrates its 20th anniversary,
and I figured it was worthy of taking 5 minutes to say a few words about this
record. This album changed my personal opinions on 'rock' music, and still this
day, remains my favourite album of all time. Let me tell you

KurtpinkWhen Nirvana
exploded in 1991 it was like nothing else at the time, I was just a bit too
young to catch said explosion, but accounts from the time, and the amount of
people using the term 'Grunge' that probably didn't even really know what it
was, prove that it was a landmark even in modern rock. Kurt Cobain became the
unlikely poster boy for a generation of angst-ridden teenagers across the world,
and inspired an entire generation to pick up a guitar. However the subsequent 2
years that followed the release of multi-platinum selling album Nevermind took
its toll on Cobain, and he himself poured his angst and frustration into the
heart breaking-ly honest follow up In Utero.
In Utero was my
first introduction to Nirvana in my first year of secondary school, I had heard
Smells Like Teen Spirit before, but I was 9 when that came out, toys were more
important than music then. A friend of mine had a cassette copy of In Utero from
his brother, I remember looking at the sleeve thinking it was disgusting, yet
when I put my friends headphones and the discordant riff from opener Serve The
Servants began to ring through my ears I knew then that music would never be the
same again to me. At 11 years old, maybe I didn't get the albums lyrical
content, but now, at 31, I would be hard pushed to find an album that I can
still, if not even more, relate too.
This album had
everything you want, and if anything, it was the Anti-Nevermind. Gone is the
Nirvana-kurt production and catchy hooks that defined the early 90's. In its place, is
the gritty production from Shellac main man, and all round hero, Steve Albini.
Although Albini was not happy with the final mix, and there was some remastering
and remixing done by Scott Litt in places, the album is still a sonic wall of
On each song, Kurt
sings with more passion, and conviction than on any other Nirvana recordings, no
matter what the subject matter. On the softer moments of the album, lead single
Heart Shaped Box, which lyrically remains ambiguous to this day, could be
perceived as a love song, and All Apologies which is almost like Kurts final
goodbye are nothing short of works of pop genius. These quieter moments are
complimented and overshadowed however by some truly devastating works of punk
metal with tracks like Very Ape, Scentless Apprentice, and the quite frankly
bonkers Milk It. One of the standout moments on the album is the sarcastic Rape
Me, which is Kurts direct attack on the media, the way he is portrayed, and his
struggle with fame. Even the opening guitar riff makes a play on the 4 chord
intro of the bands biggest single Smells like Teen Spirit, and during the chorus
in Kurt vehemently reminds the listener (or media) that 'I'm Not The Only One'.
What would have been the final single from the album Pennyroyal Tea is also a
reminder of the harsh reality of Kurts depression which is it at the forefront
of the lyrical content for the record, and without picking apart Cobains lyrics
too much, it is almost as if on this record he is telling us that this is the

Nirvana93wideOf course as we
know, less than a year after the release of the album, Kurt Donald Cobain took
his own life, at the age of 27. This album was his swansong, and in my head will
be the album that he, and Nirvana will be remembered for. Would Nirvana have
bettered this album had Kurt not been taken from us? Or would they have broken
up, and faded into obscurity, and known as the band that did "that with the
lights out song"? Who knows.
I do know this
though, that there has never, and will never be an album as groundbreaking as
this, and if you don't already own it, there are numerous versions available as
of the 23rd of September to commemorate the anniversary. So you really have no
excuse to not own this album!
We have various
other items by Nirvana in stock now, so head to to view our

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply