Nirvana - "Nevermind" 2CD Deluxe Edition CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nirvana - "Nevermind" 2CD Deluxe Edition CD Review

Nirvana - 'Nevermind' 2CD Deluxe Edition CD ReviewIf the deluxe edition of Nirvana's seminal 1991 disc Nevermind had come out prior to 2004's With the Lights Out box set, it would have broken new ground. Unfortunately, the bonus material on this new 2CD set is an anti-climactic snooze-fest that will likely be of interest only to Nirvana completists.

Jumping in - Disc One contains a remastered version of the original 13 tracks from Nevermind along with the b-sides from the "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Lithium", "Come as You Are" and "In Bloom" CD singles. There is nothing new here and used copies of both Nevermind and the four singles are commonly found in the bargain bins of the local CD shops. Not to pile on but...these remastered tracks fall victim to the "loudness wars" complaints that have plagued many recent reissues.

Disc Two contains the eight tracks recorded at Butch Vig's Smart Studios during April 2-6, 1990, eight rehearsal tracks recorded on a boombox in March 1991 and "Drain You" from a John Peel session (Sept. 3, 1991) and "Something in the Way" from a Mark Goodier session (Nov. 9, 1991). The "problem" with the majority of the tracks on Disc Two is that they sound very close to the final studio versions and offer no new insight to songs or their evolution.

Smart Studios sessions, Madison, Wisconsin, April 2–6, 1990
"In Bloom"
"Immodium (Breed)"
"Pay to Play" (originally released on With the Lights Out)
"Here She Comes Now" (originally released on With the Lights Out)
"Dive" (originally released on Insecticide)

I don't believe that the "boombox rehearsals" were bootlegged (unlike the heavily bootlegged Smart Studio sessions) so a number of these tracks were new to me. I didn't mind the somewhat dodgy sound quality (tape hiss, etc.) but, again, these tracks sound like raw, lo-fi takes of the final studio versions so there aren't any surprises. Butch Vig commented to Rolling Stone: "The boombox recordings are some of the coolest stuff for hardcore fans. They sound super lo-fi and dirty and trashy, really primal."

Boombox rehearsals, Tacoma, Washington, March 1991
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (originally released on With the Lights Out)
"Verse Chorus Verse"
"Territorial Pissings"
"Lounge Act"
"Come as You Are"
"Old Age"
"Something in the Way"
"On a Plain"

"Drain You", from the Sept. 3, 1991 John Peel radio session, was (for some strange reason) separated from the other two tracks from this session which are found on With the Lights Out. "Something in Way" is the last of four tracks recorded for a Mark Goodier session in Nov. '91 and the first three tracks were released on Insecticide.

Even with the disc selling new (through Amazon third party sellers) for $14.96, there just isn't enough here to justify the investment. Ultimately, this a 'curiosity' that will likely sit on the shelf after a spin or two.