EDGE goes 90s: Nirvana – Nevermind

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Nevermind was the second album from grunge/rock band Nirvana. It was released in September and to this day has sold over 26 million copies worldwide. Nirvana’s first album, Bleach, did not perform well commercially and lead singer Kurt Cobain believed that there was pressure on him to write songs to conform to the grunge sound their record label wanted. So Nirvana moved record labels to Geffen Records and Dave Grohl joined the band as drummer for the production and recording of their second album. Nevermind was one of the biggest surprise hits of the ‘90s; the record label and the band themselves did not expect it to sell as well as it did, but with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ as the lead single there was no way this was not going to be one of the biggest albums of the decade.

Heavy guitar, thrashing drum beats and Kurt Cobain’s haunting voice echo in tracks such as ‘Lithium’ and ‘In Bloom’. ‘Polly’ has such a distinct sound to it as it is the only acoustic song on the album and is in stark contrast to all other Nevermind tracks which incorporate Nirvana’s ‘quiet-loud-quiet’ sound.  The lyrics to ‘Polly’ show a rather darker side to Cobain as he sings about a rapist. Aside from this track the lyrics on the rest of Nevermind are not particularly complex and cryptic but reflect Kurt Cobain’s anger and frustration which was absent from earlier songs he wrote.  One of the main reasons this is one of the best albums of the ‘90s is that it made so many other bands accessible to a mainstream audience, such as Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Soundgarden, who would not have been so successful without the unique sound of Nirvana. Nevermind is full of anthems for the teens of the time and is one of the most influential records of a generation which should be an essential part of any music-lover’s iPod.

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