Nirvana really don’t need much of an introduction, but hell I’ll give it a shot. Nirvana were grunge legends who had broken into the mainstream with some undeniable singles while maintaining a sound and earnestness that would endear music fans for years after the tragic death of frontman Kurt Cobain. They wielded a lot of musical weight, whether they were playing softly or explosively. “In Utero” is the band’s final album and perhaps their greatest.
There is such a raw quality to the recording and sound on “In Utero” that it could easily be a grunge band’s first album. Nirvana are unpredictable and exciting, from one moment playing a single everybody knows to the next going off in a noise punk fueled experiment with Cobain screaming his head off. I was certainly taken aback by the gut punches this album threw my way and I had to admire the risks the band took with some of the songs.
Of course, Nirvana sweeten the pot from time to time with the singles and the classic staples of the band are still present. Cobain’s guitar work is deceptively great, at times seeming sloppy (and maybe it is) but it always comes together into something cohesive and interesting. The quiet verse, loud chorus structure that the band adopted is still here on some of the tracks and it still is damn effective. I love the variety across the record and despite this array of sounds there is not one moment where I thought Nirvana was reaching for something beyond their grasp.
“In Utero” is an amazing grunge and rock album. There’s something sweet, something punk, and something heavy here for any fan of the genre. The singles alone are incredible (“Rape Me” alone would probably bag this album at least a 7 for me) but the deeper cuts are where we get to see a raw and primal Nirvana that is really spectacular. It would have been interesting to see where the band would have gone from here.