NIRVANA — In Utero (review)

NIRVANA — In Utero album cover Album · 1993 · Heavy Alternative Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"In Utero" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US hard rock/alternative rock act Nirvana. The album was released through DGC Records in September 1993. Despite the major commercial success of "Nevermind (1991)", Nirvana felt that the album ultimately came out too polished compared to how they saw their own music and they wanted to make sure that "In Utero" sounded more raw and closer to the "punk" ideals they felt a closer relation to. They enlisted producer Steve Albini to help them gain that sound and with him they recorded the songs for "In Utero" in around two weeks time. They weren´t completely satisfied with the result though and ended up hiring Scott Litt to make a few changes to the sound.

The more primitive recording process is certainly audible as "In Utero" is a much more raw sounding album than "Nevermind (1991)". The prominent use of dissonance, feedback and other non-polished features (check out the highly aggressive and almost hardcorish track "tourette's") that you usually don´t find in accessible mainstream music, are quite the change compared to the predecessor. The songwriting is a bit uneven though and while tracks like "Hear-Shaped Box" (which was the biggest hit from the album) and "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" are really effectful and memorable, there are far too many tracks on the album that come off a bit half-baked and honestly sound like the band didn´t care too much. I understand that it was part of the attitude in those days, but some tracks simply don´t sound as inspired as they could have.

When that is said the musicianship and especially Kurt Cobain´s vocals are for the most part a real treat. He has such a raw and personal delivery. A really unique and characteristic voice, which he explores a bit more on this album than he did on "Nevermind (1991)".

Considering the major commercial success of "Nevermind (1991)", "In Utero" is actually quite a daring and bold attempt at breaking free from a sound that most people expected from the band. 5 million copies sold arond the world bear witness to the fact that at least commercially Nirvana fully succeeded in their mission, but artistically I think "In Utero" lacks a bit although a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.
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