It’s hard to believe, but it has been 20 years since Nirvana released their legendary album In Utero. This album was the band’s third and final studio album, which has received a lot of attention over the years seeing as how it was put out not long before Cobain’s untimely death at age 27, gaining him access to the infamous “27 club.” What’s even more mind-blowing, is that I was only about a year old when this album was first released. Nevertheless, In Utero was originally released on September 13, 1993 and was an attempt by the famous grunge band to return to a time before they reached celebrity status. In Utero diverged significantly from the 1991 album Nevermind, which featured an extremely professional and well-polished production. Not only was it a return to the band’s former obscurity and raw sound, but a return to Nirvana’s more alternative rock style. One quick listen through the album and it is easy to see the great strides made by Cobain and company to produce an album that sounds as if it was made by some underground never-before-seen grunge group.
The irony of all of this is the fact that with the reissue of In Utero, an album that is supposed to sound unpolished and crude, the 20th Anniversary release is such a well-done album. That being said, if you do not already have this amazing record in your collection, I highly recommend picking up this stunning reissue. There are several benefits and extras that come with purchasing the anniversary release, including new liner notes, demos, B-sides, and even live material from the album’s era. The hardest part about listening to this album is trying not to see it as the last work from an artist shot down in his prime. Instead, this album should be enjoyed for what it is, the third studio album from one of the most iconic bands in the history of music. Nirvana’s intentions with In Utero was to show fans that despite all of the hype and publicity that they were receiving at the time, the band never lost its sense of purpose. The album was already great on its own, so only hardcore Nirvana fans and music aficionados will be able to hear much of a difference between the original and the 20th anniversary edition. In my opinion, the best part about picking up this reissue is getting the chance to hear the original mixes for immortal tracks such as “Heart-Shaped Box” and “All Apologies” before they were remixed for more commercial purposes.
A deluxe version of Nirvana’s In Utero can be picked up for around $20 on the web, but there are other “super deluxe” versions that offer artwork from the band’s final days, or vinyl versions for all you record lovers. Check out the links below to hear a few of In Utero‘s best tracks.