Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nirvana - In Utero (1993)

Not that I buy into the whole Cobain mythical genius bullshit, but let's use this album as an example, or evidence if you will, of the emperor's brilliance. That being the case, not only does the emperor have no clothes, but his subjects are stoned out of their fucking minds. This -- a great album? By what measurement on whose yardstick? I find it hard to stomach that a mediocre garage rock album such as this is hoisted so high. Oh and I've no beef bouillon with garage rock, but I do with this fairly unremarkable tripe. Sure, sure, "Dumb" is a great song. I enjoy the living piss out of it. I love "Very Ape." I like "Heart-Shaped Box" and "Rape Me" and even "All Apologies," which I felt was overplayed like hell in 1993. But these are more or less average tunes at best, even what I would consider weak tunes for Nirvana. Great album? Hey Seattle! Over here! Yeah, over here! You fuckers had nothing better to do during the constant rain than to be proud of something. Yes, I know you have a lot to be sorry for -- Pearl Jam, the Mariners -- but come on! This is not that good! In all seriousness, thusly: Nevermind or Incesticide are better albums, period; Cobain is not a great guitarist, as many will tell you; and lastly, Grohl's Foo Fighters have beaten hindsight to the punch by clearly being the better band, and that's not really saying much. C


Master Cianan said...

Foo Fighters clearly the better band? On what fucking planet? I take no issue with your assessment of this album's merits, but jumpin jesus on a pogo stick, The foo fighters have only given us a couple of good songs in 15 years. The rest is bland and unremarkable pop twaddle. Feh. That's like calling grits more flavorful than an italian grinder. And go ahead and take your swipes at my Mariners, at least they divested themselves of that madonna-fucker rodriguez. Unlike your Yankees. Besides, it's the sonics we're ashamed of, never being able to beat Utah and then moving to Oklahoma fucking city. This after they whined their way to a shiny new arena. Bah.

Master Cianan said...

We're also sorry for Queensryche. Just thought I'd put that out there.

Jeff said...

I have to agree with Cianan on this one. The Foo Fighters couldn't touch Nirvana in their wildest dreams. Their best album Colour and Shape isn't even as good as Nirvana's B-sides. They occasionally deliver a few good songs, but like the Rolling Stones, pile a ton of crap to go along with it.

I guess I don't really have much to say considering I wrote a review of the album myself. I always found it to be their best because it sounded the way grunge should. It was raw and full of energy and didn't sacrafice any power for a great hook. I think it's easy to detect the passion in Kurt's voice and music throughout the whole album. Everything has a personal touch. I think Krist and Kurt were right when they said it was their favorite album.

Metal Mark said...

This album makes me sick. It's just a big mess that just makes me cringe were I to be brave enough to ever listen to it again. It's like they are trying too hard to do something that came fairly easy on the previous albums.

Starrlight said...

Uh yeah, I am with Cianan. Dave Grohl aka Kurt's Kling On has the better band? Um. Kay.

How old are you Hatter? Cause I think a lot of the Nirvana worship comes from a certain age group.

That said, hells yes Nevermind is better, although All Apologies is my favorite. And yeah it was over played but then again I was tired of Teen Spirit before the rest of the country knew who the fuck they were :P

The Mad Hatter said...

Master Cianan,

I wrote this point with you specifically in mind. I like rattling you, even when I'm being shameless. Ok, so the Foo remark is possible hyperbole, but regardless of the difference between the two bands, there isn't much interest on my part for either of them, hence their sitting in the same basket.


One By One is their only good album. I think everything else is pretty shitty. So please don't think I'm a Foo fan; I assure you I'm not.

Metal Mark,

Actually, that seems fairly spot-on. Even if you separate Nevermind as completely different musically for these guys, Incesticide was still done much better.


Kurt's Kling On? Hahahahaha. Well, I'm 29, but that doesn't or shouldn't mean anything, right?

Starrlight said...

Actually yes it does. It does not invalidate your opinion, certainly, but yes it does make a difference.

I am 39, will be 40 in Feb. When they broke here I was 21. You would have been 11. Our emotional landscapes were totally differet. In the same way that I will never feel the same about the Beatles that my parents do, or Led Zep like those 10 years older than I, there are just certain pop culture pheno's that truly do represent the zeitgeist of the times. Of course I saw Nirvana, and Pearl Jam and AIC and Billy Pumpkin in small bars here before they broke. That also makes a difference.

Trust me, after growing up as a teen in the neon and coke infested Reagan 80's, Nirvana and AIC and the Melvins and the Pixies had an impact.

Master Cianan said...

"possible hyperbole" my shiny black ass. I know you like to press my buttons as much as I enjoy pressing yours, but making allegations like that when you don't even believe them clearly lacks finesse. You're better than that. Shame on you.

Starr, I'm only a couple years older than our venerable hive-poking host, but I totally understand where you're coming from. I was (and am) a champion misanthrope whose musical tastes were largely opened in late elementary school by the "notes from the underground" column in Thrasher magazine back when skateboards didn't have noses. Then I moved to the PNW in 1990 and almost immediately started meeting people who were in bands and who somehow got me into shows. It was a merciful change from the new jack swing on the radio and things got considerably noisier in my life from that point on...

Starrlight said...

Oh 1990 91 and 92 were some seriously awesome years, Cianan. Were you in Portland at all? I saw Kurt and Co at the Satyrican a couple times. Pearl Jam as well. And AIC. And I love Kurt but I have a special place in my heart for Lane. That is really great that you had people to get you in clubs. I still dream about the Sat's gyro sandwiches. Good times.

You can imagine how proud I was when my daughter went to her first Melvins show last month =)

bob_vinyl said...

I think a C is generous. A few okay moments aside, the album is practically unlistenable. It tries to split the difference between mainstream rock and art/noise/punk a la Flipper. Cobain is not nearly talented enough to pull this off. Even the vastly superior Nevermind was largely successful because it watered down and sugar-coated what bands like Mudhoney, Soundgarden and Screaming Trees (and the Melvins even) were doing on the periphery.

I actually agree with Hatter about the Foo Fighters. They're a bit of a one-trick pony, but the trick was good for a few albums before it got really old. The songs are generally stronger and they lack the pretentiousness of Nirvana trying not to be rock stars.

Master Cianan, apology accepted for Queensrÿche. It's comforting to know that you're sorry for putting us through that.

The Mad Hatter said...

Master Cianan,

I do believe it; I think I merely embellished on the language usage to get you fuming.


I'm sure age is somewhat of a factor. When the "grunge" explosion came out, I was unfazed. I was actually pretty depressed about current music at the time. Yet, when OK Computer came out in 1997 when I had just started college, it resonated, which is why I'm a bit more rabid about Radiohead, the Verve, etc. than other bands.


I owe you a beer. We seem to be agreeing lately. I think "the pretentiousness of Nirvana trying not to be rock stars" pretty much says how I feel about them on the whole.

Starrlight said...

I am listening to 15 Steps as I type this =)

Master Cianan said...


No, I was splitting my shows between Seattle and Bellingham, where I lived. I got a steady diet of garage rock in Bellingham. Seattle was a strictly all-ages show kind of deal, so that was mainly "bigger" bands that I saw there.

taotechuck said...

Cianan, it's about fucking time you people apologized for Queensrÿche. It's a good first step. Paying reparations would be nice.

Bob, I'm with you on the pretentiousness of not being a rock star, but you have to consider where rock music was in the early '90s. Hair metal bands were signing multi-zillion dollar deals and any band whose guitarist could shit out a speedy solo was getting signed to a major label. Pretentious or not, I think the anti-rock star sentiment had its heart in the right place.

With that said, Starrlight, I'm the same age as you but I never got bitten by the Nirvana bug. It was easy to recognize AIC as the biggest commercial whores of the bunch, but Nevermind lasted about 3 months before I dismissed it as a one-dimensional rehash of the underground stuff that'd been happening for the past decade. To me, Kurt's angst was about as compelling as the Taking Back Sunday CD I picked up in '02: good for a few listens, then dump it in the used bin and get something with some staying power.

Of course, I also dismiss Tool for offering up a one-dimensional regurgitation of what came before, so obviously I don't agree with most people about the "great" '90s bands.

The Mad Hatter said...


Awwww, no love for AIC? I guess whenever I write one on them you can have at me, hehe.

Master Cianan said...

Chuck: If you want reparations, chase down the band. We in seattle suffered just as much as anyone at Geoff Tate's operatic pony-tail mulleteering con queso. Don't be jumping in *my* shit over "operation: mindcrime". That first step to recovery is the only one I'm willing to make, since I'm not personally responsible for those atrocities. Go burn down a record company. Or just keep downloading their catalog over and over again and then deleting it.

taotechuck said...

Hatter, you should know that I'll have at you even if I agree with you. Just make sure you write about AIC on a day when I'm feeling like a confrontational, know-it-all music snob. Any day ending in "y" should work.

Cianan, I admit to playing my part in giving that ponytailed bastard a longer career than he deserved. Your city may have spawned him, but my money probably bought him a Gold's Gym shirt or three. Fortunately, once I was given a healthy exposure to music that didn't suck, I quickly came to my senses.

Master Cianan said...

Nyah, nyah, chuck listened to Queensryche.

The Mad Hatter said...

cianan (KEE-nən)
v. cia·naned, cia·nan·ing, cia·nans
1. To delight in the suffering of others, particularly through shame, shit or shenanigans.
2. To void (shit) from the bowels
[Gaelic - Cianán, little ancient one]
cia·nan n.
cia·nan·ator n.