But don't get me wrong, this is a superb album. I felt let down at first when I heard about this new release, as I had been hoping for many more previously unreleased tracks, and being the big Nirvana fan that I am, I already have most of the songs included. But on first listen I was very pleasantly surprised.
To start the album off is the long awaited 'You Know You're Right'. It was to be the final song Nirvana ever made. It has been floating around the net for a while now, but the sound quality really lets it down when compared to the album version. It's a highly powerful song, and quite a different offering from the band, which needs to be listened to in its best form for greatest effect.
The classic 'About A Girl' has been given the full 're-master' treatment. It sounds so different to the original, I thought it was an alternative version at first! Compare this to the 'Bleach' version and you'll hear the difference.
The alternative version of 'Been A Son' is in my opinion the best version. Compared to the track on 'Incesticide' it has a more relaxed and (strangely) up beat feel about it. There's less energy in Kurts voice, but even at a lower pitch he still sounds great, and the song takes on a whole different feel.
'Sliver' is 2 minutes and 15 seconds of pure, raw energy. Yes, it has been polished up and provided with a slightly more crisp and clear sound, but it's re-mastering hasn't detracted from its qualities.
This album wouldn't be complete without 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. So what can I say about it that hasn't already been said before? It made Nirvana a phenomenon, and brought alternative music to the mainstream. If you haven't heard it, where have you been?? But there were better tracks that followed that so many seemed to miss. 'Come As You Are' for instance. The ultimate 'grunge' (can I say that word?) song, and the second highlight on the incredible 'Nevermind' album. The third highlight goes to 'Lithium'. I've always felt this song was written for me. The build up to the raging chorus and all those 'yeahs' is superb. And after all these years its still enough to make a whole disfuntional generation jump, and scream out, 'Yeah!'. And last but not least 'In Bloom'. It would have been nice to see the original version from 1990 on this album, but this later version sounds just as good, and is the most recognised of the two.
'Heart-Shapped Box' leads off the 'In Utero' section of the album, and what an amazing song it is. It features some of Cobains best and somewhat darkest lyrics, and I think signalled a new direction for Nirvana's music.
Scott Litt's mix of 'Pennyroyal Tea' features next, and it sounds incredible! Kurts voice screams out in agony, but has never sounded so good. It would have been Nirvana's last single, had it been released, and could only be found on the U.S. release of 'In Utero' until now.
At first I was a bit surprised to see 'Rape Me' on this album, but then I forget how much of an anthem it became. Is it an anti-rape song as Kurt once said in an interview or, is it really a cry for help from the man himself? Whatever it may mean, this simple song came straight from the heart of Kurt Cobain.
'Dumb' in a word is beautiful, and is one of my favourite Nirvana Songs. It's the only studio accoustic song on the album, which begs the question, where is 'Polly'?
The next three songs, 'All Apologies', 'The Man Who Sold The World', and 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night', are from Nirvana's amazing live Unplugged performance for MTV. Each show a completely different side and sound to Nirvana's music. Would they have taken a more accoustic route in the future? Sadly, we will never know.
Not only are Kurt's vocals and riffs memorable, but Krist's, Dave's and Chad's contributions are musical poetry.
Each track charts a time in Nirvana's history, each one offering something different to the audience, but still leaving you begging for more. Each track is a timeless classic- and the two covers from the Unplugged gig ('The Man Who Sold The World' and 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night') are incredible - there is so much emothion obviously poured into them, as with all of the music Nirvana made. You know when you listen to this album that making music was Kurt's life - and that is something he has left us to remember him by.
As for the new track- "You Know You're Right" -I think it is one of, if not the, best track that Nirvana have ever released. The lyrics, loud/soft dynamic, punchy drums and pounding bassline all build up in perfect performance to one of the most touching pieces of music I have ever heard. It gives deep insight into the relationship between Kurt and Courtney at the time- but apart from that, its great to listen to.
I highly reccomend this CD- if you're a Nirvana fan then you will want this to be completist. If you've not got any other albums, this is a good a place to start as any. Do yourself a favour today, treat yourself, buy this album.
Although there are some glaring omissions (Breed, Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle, Territorial Pissings, Negative Creep), this collection serves its purpose admirably. For new fans, it's the perfect introduction to Cobain's dark and mystifying world. For old fans, such as myself, it's a helpful reminder of just how great they were then and how fresh and stunning the music still sounds. The remixing of the tracks is also breathtaking, opening up the sound and making it even heavier.
'New' track 'You Know You're Right' (previously unreleased) is a fascinating number, giving us a glimpse of just where Kurt might have taken Nirvana or his own solo music. With a thrashing chorus, addictive lyrics that make you want to sing and shout along and Dave Grohl's classic machine-gun drumming, this is Nirvana in it's purest form - loud, aggressive, yet captivatingly beautiful. There is, of course, a hint of tragedy in the lyrics ('No thought was put into this / I always knew it'd come to this') with a similar self-fulfilling prophecy style that Richey Edwards demonstrated on the Manic Street Preachers' 1994 album 'The Holy Bible'. But for the last song they recorded together, despite personal issues and tension within the group, it shows that Nirvana were certainly losing nothing in talent and that they could still play incredibly tightly together.
A great album for beginners, a healthy reminder to disciples. Buy it!!
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