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The 10 Heaviest Moments on Nirvana’s In Utero

on September 21, 2018, 12:00pm
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05. Steve Albini’s raw album production

If you wanna sand away and obliterate any pop sheen from your music, it would make sense to go to a producer who also sings and plays guitars in religiously anti-industry punk and noise bands like Big Black and Shellac. And while Steve Albini is famous for being a very hands-off helmsman who doesn’t butt in on the vision of the bands he works with, you just know that the producer enjoyed every second of helping Cobain and co. smash everything the mainstream thought of Nirvana to smithereens one guttural scream or ragged guitar riff at a time. –Matt Melis


04. The Second Verse from “Serve the Servants”

“As my bones grew they did hurt/ They hurt really bad/ I tried hard to have a father/ But instead I had a dad”

Here, Kurt opens up about the strained relationship he had with his father, Don Cobain, telling Rolling Stone of the song in 1994, “My father and I are completely different people. I know that I’m capable of showing a lot more affection than my dad was.” He later references his parents’ divorce in the song. –Spencer Kaufman


03. The pain in Cobain’s voice on “All Apologies”

There are so many ways that singers convey their pain to listeners. Cobain, who often complained of feeling emotionally numb during Nirvana’s final days, skipped all the craft and gimmicks and went with the simplest possible method: belting out a cry that sounded more like a wounded animal than the type of voice that should be found charting across popular radio. Whatever you may think of Cobain as a talent, it’s impossible to argue his sincerity or ignore his pain during this song. –Matt Melis


02. The last 30 seconds of “Rape Me”

Everything about “Rape Me” is pretty heavy, from the song title to the subject matter, but the last 30 seconds of the song are as intense as anything Nirvana ever recorded. Kurt takes his voice into that trademark upper register as he screams the titular line over and over again, one of the most intense half minutes of music you’ll ever hear. –Spencer Kaufman

01. The Weight Nirvana Felt Following Nevermind


Kurt Cobain couldn’t cope with fame. And that’s fame with a capital ‘F.’ A fame only known by a small handful of acts in music history. So, while the average artist might feel the weight of the world on his shoulders to follow up the most important album of a young decade with something equally beloved, Cobain actually felt the need to forever remove that weight from his shoulders, mind, and heart. As Ryan Bray’s insightful piece explains, the pressure Cobain felt going into the In Utero sessions was not to continue along the band’s heady trajectory, but rather to sabotage the band, come back down to Earth, and make the world rethink everything they thought they knew about Nirvana. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, especially the head that would rather hurl that crown into a landfill. –Matt Melis

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