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Nirvana|Nevermind

Nevermind

Nirvana

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In the 20th century’s final decade, so-called alternative rock—an emphatic repudiation of arena rock and hair bands—was changing the definition of rock music forever. But did anyone in 1991 ever dream that Nirvana's Nevermind, which made alt-rock mainstream and immortalized the word "grunge" would become the last great rock record? With the music world too fragmented today to ever empower a Nevermind or even a Thriller, Nirvana's opus remains, along with Metallica's "Black Album" released the same year (and technically metal), the last rock album to sell somewhere over 20 million copies while becoming a widely beloved and influential landmark. But does all that mean a celebration with another multi-volume boxed set is needed every ten years? For Kurt Cobain fans the answer is obviously, yes please! And with the 30th anniversary set, they won't be disappointed; along with the remastered original album, four live shows have been officially released. Although they have a similar energy and nearly identical set lists that focus on Nevermind, the live shows, some of which have been famously bootlegged, do differ in sound quality. While the 1991 Amsterdam show has good depth and a natural resonance, a show from the same year in Del Mar, California has some speed issues, and while better than the original bootleg, is still dynamically limited. The 1992 Melbourne, Australia show has the best sound quality but a Tokyo show from the same year is clearly the worst sounding, obviously an audience tape that despite sonic restoration work has the familiar limited, recorded-in-a-jar fidelity of most cassette bootlegs.

For fans of the original record—and also improved fidelity—this version of Nevermind, newly remastered from the original half-inch stereo analog tapes by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, can now be heard in high resolution 192kHz 24-bit sound. While the original Nevermind, produced by Butch Vig, recorded by Vig, Craig Doubet and Jeff Sheehan, and mixed by Andy Wallace was never a sonic disaster, the new high resolution is a noticeable improvement, though maybe one that Kurt Cobain wouldn't appreciate. Uncomfortable with the album's success and his subsequent celebrity, Cobain, who famously called the music on Nevermind, "the Knack and the Bay City Rollers getting molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath," routinely criticized the original album as overproduced and not punk rock enough. The album's sonics have also been controversial with listeners, some of whom agreed with Cobain that compared to the band's 1989 debut Bleach, it was too accessible, too punchy, and ruined by what they perceived to be unnecessary gloss. Diametrically opposed though were the alt-rock haters for whom Nevermind was too sludgy, too loud, and disgustingly ill-defined. The crisper sound of the new high resolution transfer accentuates the clean pop production Wallace gave to the original album, and which despite Cobain's misgivings, played no small part in the album's massive success. Clarity, even when played loud, is where the high resolution is most obvious. And then there are the details. The swirling, side-to-side guitar part in "Come as You Are," for example, has never been clearer or more assertive. "Breed," the album's hit that never was, has been cleaned up in ways that Cobain would surely have thought were too pretty. His guitar part, which was repeatedly panned left and right, is more forward and defined. Dave Grohl's cymbals on the opening of "Lithium" have the edge of a jazz record. And in "On a Plain" Cobain's doubled vocals and the overdubs where he sings harmony with himself have never been clearer. Overall, the high resolution Nevermind has a lighter tone, an airier presence. Does a cleaner sounding Nevermind betray the band's punk rock intentions or subvert their grunge cred? A new Nevermind controversy is born. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Nevermind

Nirvana

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1
Smells Like Teen Spirit (Album Version)
00:05:01

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
In Bloom (Nevermind Version)
00:04:14

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

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

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Breed (Album Version)
00:03:04

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Lithium (Album Version)
00:04:17

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Polly (Album Version)
00:02:57

Butch Vig, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, Guitar, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nirvana, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel - Chad Channing, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Territorial Pissings (Album Version)
00:02:22

Chet Powers, ComposerLyricist - Butch Vig, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Cobain, Guitar, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Krist Novoselic, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - ANDY WALLACE, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Doubet, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Grohl, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nirvana, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Drain You (Album Version)
00:03:43

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Lounge Act (Album Version) Explicit
00:02:36

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Stay Away (Album Version)
00:03:32

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
On A Plain (Album Version)
00:03:16

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

℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Something In The Way (Album Version)
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

13
Endless, Nameless (Album Version)
00:06:42

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

Album Description

In the 20th century’s final decade, so-called alternative rock—an emphatic repudiation of arena rock and hair bands—was changing the definition of rock music forever. But did anyone in 1991 ever dream that Nirvana's Nevermind, which made alt-rock mainstream and immortalized the word "grunge" would become the last great rock record? With the music world too fragmented today to ever empower a Nevermind or even a Thriller, Nirvana's opus remains, along with Metallica's "Black Album" released the same year (and technically metal), the last rock album to sell somewhere over 20 million copies while becoming a widely beloved and influential landmark. But does all that mean a celebration with another multi-volume boxed set is needed every ten years? For Kurt Cobain fans the answer is obviously, yes please! And with the 30th anniversary set, they won't be disappointed; along with the remastered original album, four live shows have been officially released. Although they have a similar energy and nearly identical set lists that focus on Nevermind, the live shows, some of which have been famously bootlegged, do differ in sound quality. While the 1991 Amsterdam show has good depth and a natural resonance, a show from the same year in Del Mar, California has some speed issues, and while better than the original bootleg, is still dynamically limited. The 1992 Melbourne, Australia show has the best sound quality but a Tokyo show from the same year is clearly the worst sounding, obviously an audience tape that despite sonic restoration work has the familiar limited, recorded-in-a-jar fidelity of most cassette bootlegs.

For fans of the original record—and also improved fidelity—this version of Nevermind, newly remastered from the original half-inch stereo analog tapes by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, can now be heard in high resolution 192kHz 24-bit sound. While the original Nevermind, produced by Butch Vig, recorded by Vig, Craig Doubet and Jeff Sheehan, and mixed by Andy Wallace was never a sonic disaster, the new high resolution is a noticeable improvement, though maybe one that Kurt Cobain wouldn't appreciate. Uncomfortable with the album's success and his subsequent celebrity, Cobain, who famously called the music on Nevermind, "the Knack and the Bay City Rollers getting molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath," routinely criticized the original album as overproduced and not punk rock enough. The album's sonics have also been controversial with listeners, some of whom agreed with Cobain that compared to the band's 1989 debut Bleach, it was too accessible, too punchy, and ruined by what they perceived to be unnecessary gloss. Diametrically opposed though were the alt-rock haters for whom Nevermind was too sludgy, too loud, and disgustingly ill-defined. The crisper sound of the new high resolution transfer accentuates the clean pop production Wallace gave to the original album, and which despite Cobain's misgivings, played no small part in the album's massive success. Clarity, even when played loud, is where the high resolution is most obvious. And then there are the details. The swirling, side-to-side guitar part in "Come as You Are," for example, has never been clearer or more assertive. "Breed," the album's hit that never was, has been cleaned up in ways that Cobain would surely have thought were too pretty. His guitar part, which was repeatedly panned left and right, is more forward and defined. Dave Grohl's cymbals on the opening of "Lithium" have the edge of a jazz record. And in "On a Plain" Cobain's doubled vocals and the overdubs where he sings harmony with himself have never been clearer. Overall, the high resolution Nevermind has a lighter tone, an airier presence. Does a cleaner sounding Nevermind betray the band's punk rock intentions or subvert their grunge cred? A new Nevermind controversy is born. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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