Nirvana – Nevermind

In rebellion against the polished commercialism that encompassed much of 70’s and 80’s rock with the likes of Kiss, Guns N’ Roses and Van Halen, grunge came bursting onto the Seattle music scene, through bands such as Dinosaur Jr., Mudhoney and Soundgarden, in the mid to late 1980’s. In amongst these Seattle locals was a group who called themselves Fecal Matter, who were (a few name changes down the line) to bring grunge to a wider audience than anyone could ever have anticipated.

Following on from their debut album ‘Bleach’, and the moderate commercial success of Sonic Youth’s ‘Goo’, Nirvana were signed to DGC Records and, in October 1991, released their major label debut ‘Nevermind’. Expected by the label to only sell 250,000 copies, by the Christmas of 1991, the album was selling 400,00 copies a week and, shortly after, was to knock Michael Jackson’s Thriller from the top of the Billboard Album charts.

‘Nevermind’ opens with the brilliant, but sadly over played ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, an anthem for the cynical youth of a post Cold War America, and continues from that bold opening statement, to provide song after song of simple, yet effective rock music. The schizophrenic loud and soft dynamic of the opening song is continued throughout the album, which perfectly balances the restrained (‘Come As You Are’, ‘Polly’) with the raucous (‘Territorial Pissings’, ‘Stay Away’), and ebbs, flows and pulses beautifully throughout. This is thanks in no small part to the solid rhythmical base that Grohl and Novoselic provide, underpinning the fragile but determined presence of Cobain’s vocal that sings (or screams) every word like he truly means it. The music is simple, but, if anything, this only helps to bring across Cobain’s feelings of apathy, loneliness and aggression more effectively.

20 Years on, ‘Nevermind’ sounds as good now as it ever has, and regardless of the sad circumstances that befell Cobain in the following years, it still has to be regarded as an album that changed the way we thought of rock music for the better. Nirvana proved once and for all, that it doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you can put the time and effort into making music, there are no limits to what you can achieve.

‘Nevermind’ was released on September 24, 1991 by DGC Records.


About Steve Hancock

Steve is the host of the Cosmic Fragments radio show, he is also the creator and main contributor to the Cosmic Fragments website. On the side, he is also a failing musician, dog owner and shabby boyfriend, he does all of this while maintaining a full time job that provides little financial reward.