- 24 Sep 20
29 years ago today, Nirvana released their second studio album, Nevermind – catapulting the band to international attention, and eventually becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time. To mark the occasion, we're revisiting the classic album.
The first time producer Butch Vig heard Nirvana play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ in a loud rehearsal room in a low-rent suburb of LA where the band had convened for pre-production sessions for their second album, he found himself furiously pacing the floor, possessed by the overwhelming urge to record this bastard child of The Pixies, ‘Louie Louie’ and Boston’s ‘More Than A Feeling’ before the buzz subsided.
Within a couple of months, it and another dozen-odd tracks were in the can, and Michael Jackson’s days at the summit of the Billboard charts were numbered. Tunes such as ‘Come As You Are’, ‘Lithium’, ‘In Bloom’ and ‘Breed’ were a blistering combination of Grohl and Novoselic’s brutally precise rhythm backing, hardcore fundamentalist punk guitar noise, Beatles double-tracked vocal melodies, jock metal muscle and dramatic quiet/loud Pixies dynamics, all topped off with laconic underdog lyrics, and of course Kurt Cobain’s voice, hushed and dripping with sarcasm one minute, a bloodcurdling howl the next.
But the band also showed range way beyond their peers: ‘Polly’ and ‘Something In The Way’ were muted and ghostly bits of twisted acoustic folk-art that sounded as if they’d been rescued from the murkiest recesses of the Harry Smith Anthology.
Listen to Nevermind below: