YEAR RELEASED: 1991
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #5 UK
SINGLES: Smells Like Teen Spirit (#6 US, #7 US Mainstream, #1 US Modern Rock, #7 UK), Come As You Are (#32 US, #3 US Mainstream, #3 US Modern Rock, #9 UK), Lithium (#64 US, #16 US Mainstream, #25 US Modern Rock, #11 UK), In Bloom (#5 US Mainstream, #28 UK), On a Plain (#25 US Modern Rock)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I hope you know the whole thing by now!
LINEUP: Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The beginning of a soon-to-be uncontrollable phenomenon.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: How can you review an album that almost everyone has heard, and has formed opinions about? I guess as straightforward as possible.
Yes, it’s as good as everyone thinks it is. Yes, it’s more polished and professional and radio-friendly than any other ‘grunge’ record would be – at least as any Sub Pop or K or Kill Rock Stars record would be at the time. That doesn’t take away from the hooks, the songs, the power behind them, or the emotion poured into them.
However, it is not perfect. A few of the songs sound very similar, though good sequencing splits most of them apart (some back-to-back ones make you wonder if it was one track or two, at least to my ears). And a couple of tracks seem to be loud and obnoxious just for the sake of it. Now, that’s OK to shake up the poseurs, but it detracts from the overall quality to be honest.
Still, this belongs in anyone’s collection. Anyone’s.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Chad Channing, the former drummer, came back to play cymbals on “Polly”. I—I did not know that!
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a couple – including a Super Deluxe with demos, live recordings, etc.
GRADE: A: So close to an A+, still one of the premiere albums in the rock-and-roll era.