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Tuesday, September 24, 1991

Nirvana's Nevermind was released: September 24, 1991

Originally posted 9/24/12; updated 9/25/13.

image from picturesdepot.com


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Smells Like Teen Spirit (9/10/91 #6 HT, #7 AR, #1 MR, #7 UK) / In Bloom (12/12/92 #5 AR, #28 UK) / Come As You Are (1/18/92 #32 HT, #3 AR, #3 MR, #9 UK) / Breed / Lithium (2/8/92 #64 HT, #16 AR, #25 MR, #11 UK) / Polly / Territorial Pissings / Drain You / Lounge Act / Stay Away / On a Plain (1/18/92 #25 AR) / Something in the Way

Sales (in millions): 11.0 US, 1.81 UK, 30.0 world

Peak: 1 2 US, 7 UK

Rating:


Review: Nevermind was stuffed into enough stockings over Christmas of ‘91 to boot the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, from his roost at the top of the Billboard album chart. The album went on to sell over 10 million copies domestically – a feat accomplished by less than 100 albums in the history of music. Nirvana were “scrappy garageland warriors setting their sights on a land of giants.” IR After their “undistinguished 1989 debut, Bleach, [which] relied on warmed-over Seventies metal riffs,” IR Nirvana made the leap to Geffen because frontman Kurt Cobain “wanted the group to be popular, and could see them maybe selling as many records as Sonic Youth.” AD

“The production team of Butch Vig and Andy Wallace ‘tidied’ up the sound of the early Nirvana” AD while still emphasizing the “guitar-heavy blend of bubblegum punk” SK the band crafted on Bleach. “Nirvana…created precisely the sort of record…Sub Pop [strove] for with bands like Mudhoney and Tad since its inception in 1986.” SK

Nirvana displayed a knack for “evocative wordplay” STE and “crisp pop melodicism.” BL The songs “exemplify the band’s skill at inscribing subtlety onto dense, noisy rock” IR that was “positively glistening with echo and fuzz-box distortion.” STE “This is hard rock as the term was understood before metal moved in – the kind of loud, slovenly, tuneful music you think no one will ever [make] again until the next time it happens, whereupon you wonder why there isn’t loads more.” RC

What lifts Nevermind to the status of one of the greatest albums ever made is how it defined a new genre. “Nirvana planted the alternative flag on the Iwo Jima of American consciousness when Nevermind erupted onto the music scene.” CS “Few albums have occupied the cultural consciousness like this one.” DW It “served as the antidote to the musical holocaust of the ‘80s.” CS “This is now an omni-present all-time classic” AD “and just may be compared in the same breath to albums like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” CT

If the sound of grunge feels overly “familiar now, it’s only because thousands of rock records that followed it were trying very hard to cop its style.” DW The album served as a “foundation for most of the rock…of the ‘90s…loud, distorted guitars; raging, sometime screaming vocals; and lyrics that range from the pessimistic, to the positive, and to the apathetic.” JC “Like a meteor crashing into earth, Nevermind left a lasting impact on music and won’t soon be forgotten.” CS

Smells Like Teen Spirit


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