Nirvana - “Nevermind“ review
Listen guys, there was quite simply no way around this. We pondered this decision for a while, telling ourselves Nirvana are too obvious a choice for an underground review. We had in our minds the drama caused by H&M when they started selling their t-shirts, turning such an “anti-system” band into fast fashion. On the other hand, we also worried about some of our readers finding this band too rough around the edges (ok no, we are kidding on this one, we know our Friends are a pretty cool bunch). As the end of 2021 slowly approaches, we realised it was time to make a decision: do we want to honour one of the most influential rock bands of history? Hell yeah.
Although Nirvana’s first album (“Bleach”) was released in 1989, we have chosen to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the follow-up “Nevermind” – which came out on 24 September 1991, forever altering the course of alternative music. And not just that: this is a record that kicked Michael Jackson out of spot #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and that went on to sell 30 million copies (the expectation before release was 250,000 – a slight miscalculation…). Perhaps the signs were there: the album was mixed by Andy Wallace, who had previously worked with both Madonna and Slayer (?!). Pretty safe to say it’s one of those records that you need to know regardless of the type of music you are into. Especially if you own one of those H&M t-shirts. :)
Nirvana did not invent grunge (for that you should look up Sub Pop records in the late 80s), but there is no denying that their unexpected and thunderous success definitely played a major part in getting the “Seattle sound” out there. In a couple of years, hair metal was dead in the water, flannel shirts were everywhere, and kids were busy writing existentialist lyrics for their newly formed high school bands. If you still can’t picture the scene, watch the 1994 TV series “My So-Called Life” and look out for teenage heart-throb Jordan Catalano. Now you get the vibe.
We all know things didn’t end well for frontman Kurt Cobain, and “Nevermind” can at times feel tough. But this is by no means a sad or brooding album: it’s a loud invitation to speak up, make yourself heard, be an individual, and stand for what matters to you. It’s raw and honest, without frills and without any pretence. If you ever need a jolt of energy to get you going, this will do the trick – and then some. And if you still need cheering up in these dark months of the year, go beyond the iconic Kurt and look up other band members, such as Dave Grohl. As if Nirvana was not enough to cement his place in the history of music, the man later went on to found Foo Fighters (and join a million other bands) – talk about inspiration.
To end this very incomplete and modest review, we leave you with one of our favourite songs from this record – the timeless “Come as you are”. Take that as a literal invitation and a welcome message, for the next time you visit a Pentahotel.