21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Nevermind (Audio CD)
It doesn't matter that this album became popular. It doesn't matter that Cobain moved away from the underground scene by injecting a bit more melody in his songs on 'Nevermind'. It doesn't matter that the ethos of American indie music or the 'grunge' scene didn't start with Nirvana. The fact is that this is an outstanding record. Why did it sell more copies than anything by The Pixies? Because it's better than The Pixies.
Music doesn't always have mass appeal just because it conforms to the lowest common denominator. Sometimes it really is just that good. And you can make the argument that everything is derivative - all music builds upon something that came before it.
The truth is that there isn't a bad track on this album. Beatle-esque harmonies are interwoven with grinding guitars and bouncy little bass loops. The drums drive everything on with frenetic energy. Cobain's voice cracks and howls throughout, bridging the gap between blues and punk. And the lyrics speak to the angst-ridden teenager in us all. Everything just seems to gel perfectly. And when music is this good, all that other nonsense is meaningless. 'Selling out', in this case, is just a euphemism for 'getting better'.
My favourite track is probably 'Lounge Act' because it shimmies along in a vaguely sleezy kind of way. But 'Drain You' has a great opening; 'On a Plain' has these great, breathy vocal harmonies; 'Stay Away' is a proper shriek-along song; and 'Something in the Way' is creepy and uplifting at the same time - no mean feat. I surely don't need to say much about the 4 singles that were lifted from the album, you will have heard them a zillion times already. But what I will say is that if you like those tracks, you'll be amazed at how the record actually gets better after them (ie. on the vinyl copy I owned originally, the b side is actually better than the a side). Which is saying something when you're talking about 4 of the best songs of the early 90s: 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 'In Bloom', 'Come As You Are' and 'Lithium'.
Seriously, don't get put off by the opinions of people who want to appear cool by rejecting something just because it was popular, or by pointing out that someone else did something similar before. Quality is quality. Who cares if someone wants to make themselves look clever?