Nirvana’s Most Honest Work Gets the Deluxe Treatment

NirvanaCourtesy UMe


Nirvana
In Utero 20th Anniversary Edition
UMe

In Utero deluxe

Nirvana’s third and final studio album, recorded in the wake of the band’s startling rise to the top of the commercial heap, reflected Kurt Cobain’s deep ambivalence about mainstream success. Recruiting iconoclastic producer Steve Albini to shore up their punk cred, the trio turned in a noticeably harsher, more demanding work than Nevermind, the band’s chart-busting breakthrough, confronting casual listeners with tracks like “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” and “Rape Me.” But there’s still no denying that Cobain had a strong pop sensibility (perhaps to his chagrin). However brusque the production and jagged the arrangement, “Heart Shaped Box” remains a darn catchy tune.

Various configurations of this edition offer additional goodies to savor. While different mixes of the same song may appeal to hardcore fans only, the B-sides are a real plus, notably “Marigold,” the first composition by drummer Dave Grohl (who went on to launch Foo Fighters), and Cobain’s regrettably prophetic “I Hate Myself and Want to Die”—and the live tracks seethe with tortured energy.

In any case, the original 12 songs of the album, a stirring, nonstop eruption of frayed nerves, remain required listening. In Utero may not have been Nirvana’s most listenable work, but it was probably their most honest. A pity it had to be their last.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.