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Album Review
Nevermind (20th Anniversary Edition)

Nevermind (20th Anniversary Edition)
by Nirvana


Review Date
5th October 2011
Reviewed by
Benjii Jackson

For such a monumental occasion, you would expect a monumental spectacle. Nirvana's modern classic Nevermind has turned 20; whatever phrase you choose to use, no matter how hyperbolic, is pretty much fitting for this event. While for hardcore fans – Outcesticide bootlegs in hand – Nevermind may not be a particularly important release, but it does seem to be the alternative album that people have readily accessed for all these years. So it was pivotal the importance of this release was somehow encapsulated on it's 20th birthday.

Spanning over three discs, damn near everything has almost been accommodated on the reissue. I say almost – if everything were there, we'd not be looking at the neat packaging it comes in. Instead, we'd probably be looking at an anthology – which we got with With The Lights Out, which we also have (the anoraks among us) with those meticulously hunted bootlegs back in the days of tape trading.

What can be said about the album that has been critiqued, studied under a microscope and constantly praised/admonished by everyone? The tail end of this first disc sees the b-sides from those singles that stemmed off this juggernaut; “Aneurysm”, “Even In his Youth”, “Curmudgeon”, and a cover of The Wipers “D-7”. Combined with a taste of their Paramount Theatre Show in 1991 at the end of this disc, it leads tastefully into the history lessons over the next two discs.

For those wanting a taste of what Kurt, Krist and Dave hear once Butch Vig mixed the album, then you'll be satisfied with The Devonshire Mixes; the entire Nevermind bar the addition of “Polly”. For those wanting to hear what was happening in studio, then those Smart Studio sessions are also available – including tracks that nearly made the album. On the studio cutting floor ended up “Here She Comes Now” and two future favourites; “Dive” (which appeared on Incesticide) and “Sappy” (which shared a billing with Straightjacket Fits on No Alternative).

But if you are a real die hard – then the collaborators of this release have even gone to the length of tidying up what has been titled over the years as the “Boombox Sessions”. That is, the pre-production recordings of what they wanted on the album through the use of Kurt's trusty boombox (go figure).

It's essentially a one-stop archive of the blood, sweat, tears (and heroin?) that went into creating one of the most significant albums in musical history. Those out-takes tided up, those original track names acknowledged (“Pay to Play”, “Immodium”) and basically the strongest release from the Cobain Estate since With The Lights Out. Though it's no match to the sheer archival history of that release, it's not meant to encompass the entirity of the bands lifespan. It definitively captures their breakout moment – and serves as an incredible listening source for old and new fans alike.

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