For rock fans too young to remember Nirvana and the shot of electricity they pulsed through pop music, it might seem hard to get excited about the 20th anniversary release of In Utero
, the trio's last studio album before the death of writer, guitarist, and singer Kurt Cobain. After all, Dave Grohl's
Sound City, a two hour homage to a mixing board, might seem a little over-the-top to those who can't imagine millions of people actually lining up at a record store on release day to pay hard earned cash ($15) to own an album. Plus, Nirvana has had so many shameless imitators since the 90s that it might seem like they've never gone away.
But the more thoughtful fans of today who go a little deeper into Nirvana and In Utero
especially (as in spend more than two minutes listening and watching the videos), will be rewarded with the kind of three dimensional perspective ('sight, sound and mind,' as Rod Serling used to say) that's hard to come by today. Steve Albini, l'enfant terrible of the studio world who famously judges the worth of his clients by what brand of microphone they're singing through, got as close as anyone did to helping Nirvana paint a sonic picture of pain--physical and philosophical. Whether In Utero
was about giving birth to life or birth to death will be discussed endlessly on Pitchfork this fall when the 20th anniversary package of In Utero
is released in September. It's not a pretty album but it's powerful. "Pain is beautiful" as we hear in the advance clip below and 21,662,993 Facebook fans can't be wrong. However, they're still probably not all right either.
Many Epiphones went along for the ride on Nirvana's scrappy, improbable ride to the top. And Mr. Grohl continues to carry that flame today. We are, after all, the pro instrument kids can actually afford and Nirvana was hip to that before anyone
. Take a deep breath and check it out.