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Playlist: Nirvana

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There’s a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ Nirvana. 'Before', the alternative rock: blacklisted by the majors, seemingly reserved to the elite, relegated by record dealers to the back shelves or maybe to the most specialized stores. And therefore, out of range of the mainstream audience. Then Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl showed up. Their success wasn’t...

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Nirvana

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Title Artist Album Duration
1
Smells Like Teen Spirit (Album Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:05:01

Butch Vig, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Heart-Shaped Box (Album Version)
Nirvana In Utero - 20th Anniversary Remaster 00:04:41

SCOTT LITT, Additional Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Weston, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Albini, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1993 Geffen Records

3
Come As You Are (Album Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:03:38

Butch Vig, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
About A Girl (Remastered)
Nirvana Bleach (Deluxe Edition) 00:02:48

Nirvana, MainArtist

© 2009 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2009 Sub Pop Records

5
Rape Me (Album Version)
Nirvana In Utero - 20th Anniversary Remaster 00:02:50

Bob Weston, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Albini, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1993 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
The Man Who Sold The World (MTV Unplugged)
Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York 00:04:20

SCOTT LITT, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - David Bowie, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, Producer, MainArtist

℗ 1994 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Lithium (Album Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:04:17

Butch Vig, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
You Know You're Right
Nirvana Nirvana 00:03:37

Butch Vig, Producer - Jack Endino, Producer - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - ADAM KASPER, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 2002 Interscope Geffen (A&M) Records A Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

9
In Bloom (Nevermind Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:04:14

Butch Vig, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
All Apologies (Album Version)
Nirvana In Utero - 20th Anniversary Remaster 00:03:53

SCOTT LITT, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Weston, Unknown, Other - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Albini, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1993 Geffen Records

11
Dive
Nirvana Incesticide 00:03:54

Butch Vig, Producer - Jack Endino, Producer - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, MainArtist - Chad Channing, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1990 Sub Pop Records

12
Polly (Album Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:02:57

Butch Vig, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

13
Stay Away (1992/Live at Reading)
Nirvana Live at Reading 00:03:32

Butch Vig, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2009 Geffen Records

14
Sliver
Nirvana Nirvana 00:02:10

Jack Endino, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Dan Peters, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1990 Sub Pop Records

15
Heart-Shaped Box (Live In Los Angeles, CA. / 1993)
Nirvana From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah 00:04:41

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Diane Stata, Producer - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, MainArtist - Shauna O'Brien, Producer - Craig Overbay, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

16
Serve The Servants (Album Version)
Nirvana In Utero - 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe 00:03:37

Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Albini, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1993 Geffen Records

17
Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Live Version)
Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York 00:05:08

SCOTT LITT, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, Producer, MainArtist - Huddie 'Ledbelly' Ledbetter, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 UMG Recordings, Inc.

18
Lounge Act (Album Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:02:36

Butch Vig, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

19
Pennyroyal Tea (Album Version)
Nirvana In Utero - 20th Anniversary Remaster 00:03:38

Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Albini, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1993 Geffen Records

20
Love Buzz (Remastered)
Nirvana Bleach (Deluxe Edition) 00:03:35

Nirvana, Composer, MainArtist - Kurdt Kobain, Writer

© 2009 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2009 Sub Pop Records

21
Stain
Nirvana Incesticide 00:02:39

Steve Fisk, Producer - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, MainArtist - Chad Channing, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1989 Sub Pop Records

22
Been A Son (Blew EP Version)
Nirvana Nirvana 00:02:20

Steve Fisk, Producer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, MainArtist - Chad Channing, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1990 Sub Pop Records

23
Scentless Apprentice (Album Version)
Nirvana In Utero - 20th Anniversary Remaster 00:03:48

Bob Weston, Unknown, Other - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, Composer, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Albini, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, Composer - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1993 Geffen Records

24
Territorial Pissings (Album Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:02:22

Chet Powers, ComposerLyricist - Butch Vig, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

25
Blew (Remastered)
Nirvana Bleach (Deluxe Edition) 00:02:54

Nirvana, MainArtist

© 2009 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2009 Sub Pop Records

26
Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam (Live Version)
Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York 00:04:37

SCOTT LITT, Producer - Eugene Kelly, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, Producer, MainArtist - Frances McKee, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 UMG Recordings, Inc.

27
Drain You (Live At Del Mar Fairgrounds / 1991)
Nirvana From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah 00:03:34

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Diane Stata, Producer - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, MainArtist - Shauna O'Brien, Producer

℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

28
Big Cheese (Remastered)
Nirvana Bleach (Deluxe Edition) 00:03:42

Nirvana, MainArtist

© 2009 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2009 Sub Pop Records

29
Something In The Way (Album Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:03:54

Butch Vig, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

30
Tourette's (1992/Live at Reading)
Nirvana Live at Reading 00:01:50

Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Albini, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 2009 Geffen Records

31
Negative Creep (Remastered)
Nirvana Bleach (Deluxe Edition) 00:02:55

Nirvana, MainArtist

© 2009 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2009 Sub Pop Records

32
Stay Away (Album Version)
Nirvana Nevermind 00:03:32

Butch Vig, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

33
Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip (Album Version)
Nirvana With The Lights Out - Box Set 00:07:32

Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Albini, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, ComposerLyricist - ADAM KASPER, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist - Craig Montgomery, Producer - Ian Beveridge, Producer

℗ 1993 Geffen Records

34
Plateau (Live Version)
Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York 00:03:38

SCOTT LITT, Producer - Curt Kirkwood, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, Producer, MainArtist

℗ 1994 UMG Recordings, Inc.

35
(New Wave) Polly (BBC Mark Goodier Session)
Nirvana Incesticide 00:01:47

Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - John Taylor , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Miti Adhikari, Producer - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 1991 BBC Enterprises Ltd.

36
The Money Will Roll Right In (1992/Live at Reading)
Nirvana Live at Reading 00:02:16

Tom Flynn, ComposerLyricist - Chris Wilson , ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 2009 Geffen Records

37
Spank Thru (Live In Rome, Italy / 1991)
Nirvana From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah 00:03:10

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Diane Stata, Producer - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, MainArtist - Shauna O'Brien, Producer

℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

38
About A Girl (Live Version)
Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York 00:03:37

SCOTT LITT, Producer - Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Nirvana, Producer, MainArtist

℗ 1994 UMG Recordings, Inc.

39
School (Remastered)
Nirvana Bleach (Deluxe Edition) 00:02:42

Nirvana, MainArtist

© 2009 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2009 Sub Pop Records

40
Endless, Nameless (Live At The Paramount/1991)
Nirvana Live At The Paramount 00:06:24

Kurt Cobain, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, ComposerLyricist - ANDY WALLACE, Producer - Dave Grohl, ComposerLyricist - Nathaniel Kunkel, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, MainArtist

℗ 2011 Geffen Records

About Playlist

There’s a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ Nirvana. 'Before', the alternative rock: blacklisted by the majors, seemingly reserved to the elite, relegated by record dealers to the back shelves or maybe to the most specialized stores. And therefore, out of range of the mainstream audience. Then Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl showed up. Their success wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Influenced by rock ‘n’ roll in every shape and form: pop from the Beatles, hard rock from Led Zeppelin, metal from Black Sabbath, rock from the Replacements, punk from the Stooges, hardcore from Black Flag, and most of all in line with the Meat Puppets, Hüsker Dü and the Pixies… the young boys from Nirvana tried to find their feet for a few months under the names of Fecal Matter, Stiff Woodies and Skid Row. But it was Nirvana that hit the bullseye…

Photo © Universal Music

Grunge in 10 Albums

by Charlotte Saintoin, translated by Christopher Steele

Around thirty years ago, Seattle became the epicenter of the rock scene, largely thanks to grunge music. The grungy, ‘I don’t care’ attitude rose from the ashes of punk, heavy metal and alt-rock, and instantaneously went from an underground movement to a worldwide success. Perhaps too quickly embraced by the very system it rebuffed, it almost became a caricature of itself by the end of the 1990s. Let’s look back at ten albums that defined the genre.

Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger (1991)
The third Soundgarden album, Badmotorfinger, is the one that would bring Chris Cornell’s band more success. It would certainly be an omen of the success of Superunknown and its single Black Hole Sun a year later. From the glow of the guitars and the now cult riffs on Rusty Cage and Outshined, Soundgarden imposes its dense, gritty and alarming sound. Like the lovechild of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, the quartet juggles with the paradox between sensuality and violence and with Badmotorfinger climbs towards their peak. At the helm, there's Chris Cornell and his metal screams, Matt Cameron and his intoxicated drums and Kim Thayil and his incisive solos (Jesus Christ Pose, Slaves & Bulldozers)... there’s even a drunken saxophone (Mind Riot). Less polite than Pearl Jam and more metal than Nirvana, this raw electric wave finds its place between massive heavy rock and quirky psych rock. The resulting nervous violence allows the nicely carved out lyrics to top it all off. Eclipsed by Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten in 1991, Badmotorfinger would nonetheless sell nearly a million copies, with sales increasing the following year.

Alice In Chains - Dirt (1992)

With Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains completes the ‘big four’ of Seattle grunge. Their beginnings were more oriented towards hard rock and were originally baptised in honour of Guns N’ Roses (Alice N’ Chainz). AIC represent the heavy metal section of grunge, bursting onto the scene in the wake of Nevermind with Dirt, successful thanks to the song Would? which was featured on the soundtrack for the Seattle-set Cameron Crowe rom-com Singles and which brought together the best of the key grunge players: Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees. With dry tempos, heavy riffs but especially a morbid atmosphere, complemented by Layne Staley’s pained vocals and Jerry Cantrell’s distorted guitars, Dirt kicks things up a notch on the bleak factor. Completely ravaged by heroin addiction, Cantrell and Stanley compose claustrophobic tracks where narcotics are a recurring theme (What’s the difference/I’ll die in this sick world of mine on Sickman). Tragically, in 2002 (on 5th April, like Cobain), Staley would die of a speedball overdose in his apartment (a mixture of cocaine and heroin). Nine years later bassist Mike Starr would succumb to the same fate.

Screaming Trees - Sweet Oblivion (1992)
Emerging from Ellensburg near Seattle, Screaming Trees took their inspiration from the cosmic trips of the 60s. Painting the picture of his backwater town, Mark Lanegan said that you “could get beaten up in 1985 even just for wearing a U2 badge”. At the outposts of grunge, somewhere between the psychedelics of Cream and the radical punk of Black Flag, Lanegan, Matt Pickerel (drums), Van and Gary Lee Conner (bass and guitar) took the name Screaming Trees from the name of a distortion pedal. On tour with Meat Puppets and after a few albums on the label SST, the trio joined the Sub Pop family in 1990 with the EP Change Has Come. However, addiction problems were beginning to separate the group, and Lanegan was already experimenting with solo projects like The Winding Sheet which featured Cobain. Screaming Trees would have to wait for Sweet Oblivion and its single Nearly Lost You on the Singles soundtrack to attain a high level of success. Lanegan’s now raspy voice complements the pained ballads (Dollar Bill) and the more pop tracks (Butterfly, Troubled Times) which already seem to indicate the decline of the genre.

Nirvana - In Utero (1993)
After the craziness of Nevermind two years before, Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl dreamed of the underground scene again. Perhaps it’s in these slightly less accessible tracks that Cobain seeks his exit route. However, in order to not scupper their chances of ever being played on the radio ever again, Cobain asked R.E.M. producer Scott Litt to revamp the singles produced by Steve Albini, a Pixies loyal, his favourite band. The punk rock from In Utero is more violent than Nevermind but more palatable than Bleach, alternating between almost noise-filled tracks (Scentless Apprentice, the oxymoronic Radio Friendly Unit Schifter) and downright mainstream songs (Pennyroyal Tea, Rape Me, Dumb, Heart-Shaped Box). Apart from Grohl’s drumming, the most striking component of this album is Cobain’s relentless rasp, attaching itself to every word (Tourette’s) and only rarely finding time to rest. Cobain would go on to commit suicide seven months later, and his destiny already seems plain to see over the course of this album, from Radio Friendly Unit Schifter (on which he sings What is what I need/what is wrong with me) to the haunting final ballad All Apologies. Nirvana’s ultimate album, which Cobain originally wanted to call I Hate Myself And I Want To Die, would be his swan song.

Hole - Live Through This (1994)
An unfortunate coincidence: Live Through This and its prophetic title was released a week after Kurt Cobain’s suicide. His widow Courtney Love was plagued with the insane rumours that she had murdered her husband, before facing the death of her band Hole’s bassist Kristen Pfaff (another heroin overdose) two months later. Signed with Geffen for a million dollars – four times more than Nirvana – and to the disappointment of Madonna who wanted them for her own label, Hole firstly released Pretty on the Inside (1991). This is a diamond in the rough, produced by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon where Love gives it her all over eleven tracks. Cobain had advised Love to soften their sound in order to become more accessible and thus Live Through This alternates between punk cries and more pop sounds that remain just as furious. Patti Schemel’s drums are simple without being bitter while Eric Erlandson’s guitar manages to find just the right level of aggression. Separated from the typical themes of the genre, the former exotic dancer sings about her child that was taken from her (I Think That I Would Die) and especially the treatment of the female body (Doll Parts, Jennifer’s Body, Plump, Miss World).

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