Nirvana - In Utero (1993)

In Utero by Nirvana is one of my favourite albums of the 90s and of all time. It's the third and final studio by the band and was released in September 1993. 

1) Serve the Servants 
The album's opening track is a statement of independence from Cobain, who addresses his troubled relationship with his father, his fame and the media, and his critics. A magnificent opener with amazing guitar lines. This was their last performance in a TV show, in Italy. You'll find the video at the end of the page. Top Track #2

2) Scentless Apprentice 
Based on the novel Perfume by Patrick Süskind, this song is one of the most aggressive, with distorted vocals, heavy drums and dissonant guitars. I love Dave Grohl's drumming!

3) Heart-Shaped Box 
The lead single from the album and one of Nirvana's most popular songs. The song was inspired by Cobain's relationship with his wife Courtney Love, who also influenced the surreal imagery of the music video. Probably my favourite song by the band. Top Track #1

4) Rape Me 
A controversial song that was intended as an anti-rape anthem, but was often misunderstood or misinterpreted by listeners. The lyrics are a sarcastic response to Cobain's perceived victimization by the media and the public. This was my favourite track when the album was released. Top Track #3

5) Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle
A tribute to the actress Frances Farmer, who was born in Seattle and suffered from mental illness and abuse by the Hollywood system. The lyrics express Cobain's empathy and identification with Farmer's plight, as well as his resentment towards his hometown. I love the song's dynamic, the band's best quality, to me.

6) Dumb 
A contrast to the previous track, this song is a melodic and acoustic ballad that features cello accompaniment by Kera Schaley. The lyrics are a reflection of Cobain's depression and alienation, as he sings about feeling numb and dumb in a world that doesn't understand him. There is a good version of the famous Unplugged in NY.

7) Very Ape
A fast and furious punk rock song that showcases Dave Grohl's drumming skills and Krist Novoselic's bass playing. The lyrics are a sarcastic critique of machismo and conformity, as Cobain mocks those who follow trends and try to fit in.

8) Milk It: 
One of the most experimental and chaotic songs on the album, this song features a disorienting structure that alternates between quiet verses and explosive choruses. I love the chaos on this album!

9) Pennyroyal Tea 
A catchy and melodic song that was planned as the third single from the album, but was canceled after Cobain's death. The song deals with Cobain's stomach problems and his use of herbal remedies such as pennyroyal tea. 

10) Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
A sarcastic title for a song that is anything but radio-friendly, this song is a noisy and distorted collage of sound that features feedback, samples, and effects. The lyrics are mostly nonsensical and random, as Cobain sings about worms, germs, love buzzes, hate snakes, and radio friendly unit shifters. The song is a rejection of mainstream music and culture. It used to be the opener of their last tour.

11) Tourette’s
A short and intense burst of energy that features unintelligible vocals by Cobain, who screams and growls over a frenzied guitar riff and drum beat. The title is a reference to Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary vocalizations and movements. The song is an expression of Cobain's anger and frustration. I love the chaos on this album! Oh, wait, did I say that?

12) All Apologies 
The closing track of the album and the second single from it, this song is another acoustic ballad that features cello accompaniment by Kera Schaley. The lyrics are an apology from Cobain to his wife Courtney Love and his daughter Frances Bean Cobain for all the pain he caused them. The song ends with the repeated phrase which suggests a sense of acceptance and resignation.

Rating 90/100

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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