20 years ago with one band we witnessed the release of a studio album that further defined the genre known as grunge. From the Seattle, Washington area, not only did Nirvana earn their spot in music history with Nevermind, they helped set the foundations of the genre with fellow Seattle natives, Pearl Jam.
With the release of their third studio album entitled, In Utero, we look back at this album that despite being a great record on its own, proved to send a eerie message in between the lines of music and lyrics, that if you choose to believe, was a sign of Kurt Cobain bidding farewell to the world. Sadly, about 6 months later from the release of In Utero, Cobain would take his own life, according to the accepted evidence.
Today in 2013, we take the time to look back at this Blast From the Past and see what was inside In Utero, inside Kurt Cobain's mind, and the legacy he left behind through music. Let's break down, In Utero.
Serve The Servants
In this track we listen to very deep lyrics in which Kurt Cobain has written fully aware of their success of Nirvana at this point in their young career. With lyrics in the first verse he sings, "Teenage angst has paid off well, now I'm bored and old. Self-appointed judges judge, more than they have sold". Watching Nirvana in their brief yet successful career we see that Cobain never did it for the fame or fortune on the contrary, music was the outlet to what he truly felt. It just so happened that the music was so genius the world wanted more and more and Kurt did not feel the same way.
An introduction on a heavy downbeat by Dave Grohl, Scentless Apprentice carries a heavy and repetitive guitar riff. A heavily distorted chorus, Cobain screams, "Go away" to lyrics that mention, "Electrolytes smell like semen". Not your fast paced typical grunge track, but with the steady tempo, it carries itself on the album.
The first single released from the album, the track received much airplay eventually leading to the top of the charts. One possible meaning to the song has Cobain mentioning about a heart-shaped box given to him by Courtney Love. Another mention states that Cobain was watching a documentary on children with cancer that led to his inspiration for this track. Whatever the true meaning, this is one of Nirvana's best tracks of their career.
Pretty self-explanatory, but not in the literal sense. Rape Me is written either directed towards drugs or the media. I personally believe it was intended towards the media. Kurt basically said, "Rape me, you're going to do whatever you want" as mentioned in part in an article according to Spin.
Francis Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle
This particular track is a bit more focused on the lyrics than the music itself. Suppose we take the literal meaning of the words. Francis Farmer was an actress in the mid-thirties who despite having success, fell from grace when she got arrested. She had been diagnosed with manic depressive psychosis.
Dumb is a lighter side of Nirvana that carries a softer groove. Some May debate that this is yet another track that refers to drug use. With lyrics such as, "The sun is gone, but I have a light. The day is done, but I'm having fun". Regardless of the meaning to this track, it is a great song. Another one of the better tracks of the album.
A quick two minute track that brings out the grunge in Nirvana's music. The catchy lyric, "If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to ask someone else first". Cool track.
A slow tempo song with the occasional heavy guitar riff. The occasional guitar picking leaves one scratching his head, only to wonder how Cobain came up with such ideas. Not so much complications in the picking itself, but the timing and tying it to the track itself. Genius !
One of the creepier songs of his career if you ask me ! I have a feeling with lyrics such as those for this track, they tell us more and more of how Kurt Cobain couldn't handle life anymore. Although Cobain was aware that the actual pennyroyal tea could not in fact cause abortions, he believed the reference could be related to depression.
Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
Before Dave Grohl cues the band, we have this brief sound of fluctuating wavelengths that carry throughout the song. Many believe these lyrics are intended to represent the media and how they viewed the band and made their own conclusions on them.
A true meaning to its title ! I understood about less than half of the lyrics so I had to search for them. A short tune, but the very essence of grunge !
One of the best songs in the entire Nirvana catalog, All Apologies is a slow tempo song with a steady beat. This track needs no break down ! Whether you catch the radio edit, or the MTV Unplugged performance, this track is iconic !
Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol
Final track to the final album Nirvana would ever record as a band. Another track that sounds a lot like drug referencing but one little line that sends chills down the spine is when Cobain sings, "One more solo?" I know we wouldn't think much of it, but to know that it would in fact be the last track of the last album makes it a bit creepy.
Reviewing this album of the past, many can say it's probably their best work. I on the other hand believe Nevermind was their best work. In Utero is still a great album and deserves to be in any rock fans collection. Even the album cover is still recognizable and there is a new generation of Nirvana fans out there. Nirvana placed Grunge music on the map and with their "I don't care" attitudes solidified them as one of the all-time best rock bands despite only releasing three studio albums.