When a classic album hits a milestone, it seems that the only appropriate way to celebrate is to re-release the album, most of the time with bonus goodies to justify buying the album a second time. So of course it was appropriate for Nirvana to re-release their groundbreaking debut. While it doesn’t come with a second disc full of b-sides and demos, it’s still a great release to add to your collection, if anything just for the live songs that are included in this package, some of which they didn’t perform again later in their career. Even if you already have the album, you’ll want this in your collection again.
I have already looked at the album itself a while ago, so there’s really not much to say besides it’s a great debut. Fans used to their later releases may not be used to the heaviness and the unpolished sound of these tracks, but that’s what makes them so great. Also, it shows how the band was willing to experiment with their songwriting and sound. This is seen on “About A Girl,” which people often refer to as their Beatles moment: it’s a sweet little “pop song” that’s easy and fun to sing along to. There isn’t a bad track to be found here and it’s great to have these songs in a better audio quality. But the main reason to get the album again is for the live songs.
Granted, this isn’t the best Nirvana live disc around, but what makes it so great is that there are a lot of songs from their first album, like “Scoff,” that you rarely get to hear live. There’s nothing remarkable about the show like some of their later performances, but at least the band sounds great like always. Also, if you ever wanted to hear “Slappy” live, then you need to get this disc. It’s a pretty short setlist, but it’s still satisfying. There’s even an early cover version of “Molly’s Lips” and a really energetic version of early Nirvana song “Spank Thru.” There’s even a great version of their song “Love Buzz” here. And in classic Nirvana fashion, you can actually hear them destroy their instruments at the end of the set. I only wish they actually would’ve put the live portion on a separate disc, but it’s not that big of a deal. The packaging here is also worthwhile.
I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I am a sucker for good album booklets and luckily, that is what you get with this release. There are a lot of amazing color and black and white photos of the band from their early days. There are even some rare ones that haven’t been seen before. What’s even better is that it’s pretty thick, so it gives you a lot to look at. There’s not much information inside the booklet itself aside from song titles, but the pictures are a great addition. The CD comes in nice gatefold sleeve that features each one of the band members faces. It’s not important, but it’s something too cool to look at when you open it up.
Overall, the release gets 8.5/10. It’s not the best remastered package out there, but it’s well worth it for any Nirvana fan. There may not be any extra disc full of b-sides and demos, but seeing as that most of that was released on their box set some years earlier, the live show is a nice addition. Granted, it’s not the best Nirvana live recording out there, but it’s great to hear because the set list includes a lot of their early songs that were rarely performed live. Out of all the Nirvana sets that are out there, this is one is my favorite by far and it makes me look forward to what they’ll do for In Utero‘s anniversary.
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