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- In Utero - 20th Anniversary - Deluxe by Nirvana
10/10 Mike Staff review, 19 September 2013
Once a grunge kid, always a grunge kid. Nirvana’s painfully prescient swansong ‘In Utero’ came out 20 years ago, which is making me feel old. I was only 11 when poor Kurt shuffled off the mortal coil but this album, and their other two for that matter, were a staple to me throughout my awkward teens and beyond. Songs I’ve heard so many times that they’re like nursery rhymes to me now.
Kind of like the Beatles, it’s pretty hard for me to tell if these songs are even still good nowadays because they’re so deeply ingrained into my subconscious. Still, 20 years on it’s easy to see that Nirvana were the band our generation were weaned on. Whatever you think of them, if you like indie rock in 2013, Nirvana influenced your favourite bands. Deal with it.
Anyway, back to this reissue. I’ve not been able to take a look at the pricey but reassuringly heavy 3CD/DVD box because it’s in its own cardboard box and we don’t want to open it, so I’m listening to my own vinyl version before I take it home. The first two LPs collect together the original album remastered and pressed on heavyweight vinyl at 45rpm, so it sounds perfect. I won’t dwell on the music because you’ve already heard it.
The icing on the cake comes with disc 3, where we switch to 33rpm for some B sides and alternate mixes. There’s the album’s weird meandering bonus track ‘Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip’, pre-Foos Grohl vocal vehicle ‘Marigold’, then Steve Albini has remixed IU-era rarities ‘Moist Vagina’, ‘Sappy’ and ‘I Hate Myself and I Want To Die’.
To close, even more excitingly, the original Albini mixes of ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ and ‘All Apologies’ see their first ever vinyl pressing! They’re great, stripped back and more drum heavy with a more violently dynamic guitar mix than the more sanitised final versions, and different enough to be worthy of inclusion. I think it’s fair to say this is the definitive version to date of one of the definitive albums of the ‘90s. Treat yourself.
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