Album Review: Nirvana “In Utero 20th Anniversary Edition”

Matt Ashworth, contributor

Even if you celebrate the release of Nirvana’s classic 1993 album “In Utero” by skipping all songs that were played on the radio and TV, it still rules.

“Serve the Servants” is sublime. “Scentless Apprentice” demolishes. “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” is full of pounding awesomeness. And “Very Ape,” “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” and “Tourrette’s” are three of my favorite tracks in the band’s catalouge. Each one obliterates everything in its path and sounds far too raw and aggressive for mainstream America.

I suppose the strength of these “In Utero” album cuts – the ones that did not achieve crossover success – points to some sort of rare ability Nirvana had too simultaneously obliterate and woo. Ultimately that’s what made them so popular, but I still suggest editing out “Heart Shaped Box,” “Rape Me,” “Dumb,” and “Pennyroyal Tea” from your Spotify play list and just catching these songs the next time you tune in to your local FM station with an “alternative rock” format.

As a final note, there’s excellent news for those of you good Samaritans who still buy music in its physical form. The package includes a remastered version of the original mix, B-sides, outtakes, a bunch of early demos, and some amusing yet surprisingly heart-felt liner notes by comedian/tour mate Bobcat Goldthwait.

Rating: 12 out of 12 cans of PBR!!!

Matt Ashworth is also a regular contributor for NadaMucho.com, a volunteer online music magazine publishing from the Northwest since 1997.

About Ben Allen

Our music editor Ben Allen was born one stormy evening in a quaint Northern California coastal village. Upon birth he was immediately exposed to the soothing analog sounds of artists such as Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Captain Beefheart and Santana. As the lad grew, so did his appreciation for an assortment of abrasive hard rock. A pubescent flirtation with butt metal was shattered in the early 1990’s by exposure to Nirvana and other so-called “Alternative” bands. While in college, our protagonist became a DJ on a local station, and began work as a freelance music journalist. During this period he became entranced with artists such as Tortoise, Slint, Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices and Pavement. Currently Allen resides in Arcata, CA where he continues to obsess and salivate over new recordings by his favorite artists. He works with music industry people to ensure that Savage Henry’s contributors receive music and other promotional materials. He also writes a silly monthly list titled “Ben’s 10.”

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