808s / The World's Greatest Hits

The World’s Greatest Hits: Nevermind – Nirvana

Nevermind  – Nirvana – 1991

Claimed Sales: 30m

First listen?: Yes

Format Listened?: Apple Music

Nevermind set the tone for the 90s, am era where guitar bands ruled the airwaves once more. The influence of this album is impossible to deny, even when the band’s critics, and the band themselves, often cited it as ‘too commercial’ alternative rock would simply not have been the same without this album. Album openers don’t really come as thrilling as Smells Like Teen Spirit which takes all of 6 seconds to explode into grungy guitar noise that would soundtrack countless mosh pits. It’s a fitting opener that sticks lyrics way at the bottom of the priority list, it’s a well conceived sound that doesn’t require you to even understand what Kurt Cobain is singing about. In Bloom and Come As You Are continue this theme to a tee, the changes in song structure and general loudness of the choruses across everything keeping Nevermind constantly exciting. You could hardly call this a boring album, but 40 minutes feels like enough of music of this intensity. Territorial Pissings is the loudest central piece here, while much of everything else keeps the noise to the main hook. Lithium is probably one of the most consistent ‘Nirvana’ sounding moments here, which Lounge Act builds up for an explosive final minute. Something In The Way is arguably the only true ballad here, with it’s slow acoustic sound feeling like a much needed change of pace to close out the album. As a whole though it’s music designed for angsty teenagers across the world to replicate in their garages, guitar and drums blasting out against the banging from upstairs to keep it down. Melodies are simple enough, hooks are easy to replicate and everything is just so loud that it’s impressive how easy Nirvana make it look on Nevermind. The indie/alternative scene that would develop post Nevermind was built on the idea that ‘you could be in this band’, there’s very little pretentious musicianship here, it’s supposed to be as honest as rock can get. For me, it all gets a bit much at times and while I can fully appreciate the legacy of Nevermind, I never quite fit that perfect target demographic. It’s a landmark record for sure though.

Rating: 7/10

Will I listen again?: Maybe

Best Track: It’s between In Bloom and Lithium for me, and I’ve opted for the latter as it feels like the most well put together song on the record.

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