*This review originally ran in the August 1991, The Flannel Issue of Savage Henry Magazine
Seattle band Nirvana has released what will undoubtedly go down as one of the more derivative recordings of the early ‘90s. While their pop-punk sound is safe and inoffensive, Nevermind serves as more of a tribute to an era passed than offer anything original.
First track (and lead single) “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a horrid attempt at the quiet/loud/quiet dynamic perfected by the Pixies. Taken out of context, “Drain You” could be an engaging listen; that is, if the middle section didn’t sound like a discarded outtake from Sonic Youth’s mid-’80s output. Lead vocalist and songwriter Kurt Cobain doesn’t have anything new to say, and instead rambles off vague poetic nonsense in a forgettable snarling voice.
Nevermind is doomed to lead a secluded life, playing only on college radio stations and nerdy record-collector’s turntables. With major label funding and 1989s promising debut (Bleach), Nevermind could’ve been Nirvana’s ticket out of indie anonymity. Instead, we’re left with a hot stinking turd, dressed up in Butch Vig’s unnecessarily layered production.
Rating: 3 out of 12 cans of PBR!!!