Nirvana, ‘In Utero 20th Anniversary Reissue’ – Album Review


Story by Anne Erickson

Nirvana’s ‘In Utero 20th Anniversary Reissue’ is an enhancement to the triumphant original

Nirvana’s third and final studio album, “In Utero,” brought a new phase for the Seattle grunge band. Following the massive (and surprising) success of “Nevermind,” Nirvana was looking for their next statement, and that was 1993’s “In Utero.” The album is the band’s darkest and most experimental release, and in some regard, it’s bleak character foreshadowed what would end Nirvana several months later: frontman Kurt Cobain’s suicide.

In honor of “In Utero’s” 20th anniversary, DGC has released a special box set offering newly remastered and remixed versions of the album’s original 12 songs; an additional song, “Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip,” which was initially released on only non-U.S. pressings; b-sides; demos; alternate mixes; audio and video of Nirvana’s “Live & Loud” concert at Seattle’s Pier 48 on Dec. 13, 1993; and more goodies. The box set also includes expanded liner notes and a poster.

It’s not difficult to appreciate the raw talent bleeding out of the songs of “In Utero.” Tunes such as “Heart-Shaped Box,” “All Apologies” and “Pennyroyal Tea” are still among the most played on rock and alternative radio, and they’ve stood the test of time. “In Utero” shows a band struggling to keep its identity and unrefined art amid widespread commercial success, and they succeeded.

The 20th anniversary reissue is something of an enhancement to the triumphant original. Instead of replacing the original “In Utero” release, the reissue celebrates that moment in time with a selection of extras, keen for the Nirvana fan.

The “Live & Loud” concert is among the most precious offerings on the package. With Nirvana around such a short time, many fans weren’t given the chance to see them live. It’s no secret Nirvana was lauded for their intense, raw, back-breaking live shows. “Live & Loud” gives fans another glimpse into Nirvana, and it captures a moment when musical tastes were shifting and a bunch of spirited kids could take over the music world.

“Marigold” is another highlight on the reissue. This is something of a precursor to Foo Fighters glory, with former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl on melody and harmony vocals. The demos, although wordless, are still a fascinating look at how Nirvana fleshed out their tunes.

“In Utero” would be the final note from one of the most influential rock bands of all time, and this 20th anniversary reissue presents Nirvana at its finest.

Audio Ink Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Grunge, Music, Reviews

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