I was a junior in high school when Nirvana released their second album, Nevermind. The band first came to my attention when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” started receiving mainstream airplay on radio and on MTV. The song grabbed me immediately, because it was just so different from everything else I was hearing on the radio at the time. I heard other singles from the album, but I wasn’t actually moved to buy Nevermind until after seeing the band on MTV Unplugged in 1993. Nevermind is an album that I’m glad I purchased, because it was worth the money.
Nevermind opens with “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” While some people argue that the song is rather simplistic musically, and that the lyrics don’t make sense, I personally think it’s these traits that grab a listener’s interest. The song captures the essence of teenage angst perfectly, and I think it’s a song that came out at the right time and captured the feelings that many teens and young adults of the time were feeling.
While many of the songs on Nevermind may not make much sense lyrically, the listener can hear the intended emotion and feelings through Kurt Cobain’s vocals and the music. Many of the songs on the album are upbeat and driving numbers, but there are a couple of songs on the album that are slower, laid-back, and more on the “acoustic” side. The first of these is “Polly.” It’s a song that Kurt was inspired to write after hearing about a female rape victim from 1987 and what happened to her. The other song in this vein is “Something in the Way,” which is the last listed song on the CD. It should be noted that a hidden track called “Endless, Nameless” appears on this album, except for on the first pressing, when it was accidentally left off.
Another song of note is “Territorial Pissings,” which opens with bassist Krist Novoselic singing part of the song “Get Together” by The Youngbloods. It definitely makes this song memorable, but it’s also proof as to why Krist Novoselic never performed lead vocals for the band.
Overall, Nevermind is a rather strong alternative rock album. I can truly say that there isn’t a song on the album that I don’t like. The sequencing of the album works very well; I don’t hear any truly strange track order choices. After taking a listen through the whole album, it’s easy to hear how Nevermind ended up becoming the classic album that it is, and how it helped to propel the whole “grunge” movement of the early 1990s.