I’m sure that you are all thinking “why the fuck is he reviewing this on a site that’s not really a music blog”? And I’ll tell you why I’m doing it. Because since the 90s Nirvana have always been my personal favorite band of all time. There are also a lot of reviews of this thing available out there, but not a lot that are very in depth. A few paragraphs about the most notable things and that’s it. I am doing this review with the hope that other Nirvana fans see it and can make a better decision on whether or not they want to purchase the In Utero: Super Deluxe set. Hopefully I can provide a little more insight into what makes this multi-disc set seriously fucking awesome.
And that should be my review right there. It’s awesome. Over 70 tracks and everything you could want pertaining to the 1993 release are there. It’s far superior to the Nevermind: Super Deluxe set.
Though originally titled I Hate Myself and Want To Die (this would later be used for the name of a song) In Utero hardly sounds like a depressing record from a guy who was about to kill himself. It was actually released with quite a bit of mixed fanfare. The band wanted to make a more abrasive and raw record, something that was very much the opposite of Nevermind. They chose Steve Albini to record In Utero (look up his other work, he’s great at recording bands) and following the recording of the album their record label pretty much hated it. There were rumors the album was unlistenable, and leaked releases of the unmixed record had a lot people thinking those rumors were true. As a matter of fact, the label hated it enough to bring in Scott Litt (previously known for working with REM) to remix two songs (Heart Shaped Box, All Apologies) for the record. These songs were clearly meant to be released as singles and the label was worried about how the average audience would respond to them. So the album was released with Litt’s two remixed songs and it debuted on the Billboard charts at #1.
And the rest was history. The album got an overwhelmingly good response and is considered by a lot of people to be Kurt Cobain’s personal masterpiece. The album WAS indeed raw, but incredibly powerful. A lot of the music was heavier than Nevermind, but the songs still maintained the melodic sense that Kurt Cobain was so good at delivering.
So let’s get on with the 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe set and what it includes besides a poster and fancy book including the letter Steve Albini wrote to the band accepting their request to record the album. It’s a 3 disc set and includes a DVD of their MTV Live and Loud performance complete with songs not originally aired on television. I’m going to start with the music and briefly cover the DVD last. So on with it.
Disc 1 includes the original album as it was released, along with other songs that didn’t make the album and ended up being B-sides. They include “Gallons of Rubbing Alchohol Flow Through the Strip”, “Marigold”,”Sappy”, “Moist Vagina”, and “I Hate Myself and Want to Die”.
The following songs are remixed and are different from the previous versions in various ways.
Really cool mix that makes the song longer, and brings out the hard parts better. The cymbals seem hotter. I like it more than the original version.
Still sounds pretty slick to me, it’s very comparable to the original version but it’s remastered so naturally it sounds a bit better.
–I Hate Myself and Want to Die
Sounds heavy and nasty as shit. Love it, love it love it. Great version of a song that’s mostly forgotten.
The disc ends with Scott Litt’s version of “Pennyroyal Tea” (which was the version released on the ultra-rare single for the song and likely would have been the version used for the music video that was never made due to Kurt’s suicide). I frankly like it more than Albini’s, and it’s the only Litt mix I truly enjoy. The song sounds bigger, the vocals doubled and a slicker sound. This song deserved the treatment.
Also included are the Steve Albini mixes of “Heart Shaped Box” and “All Apologies“. I like both of the Albini mixes better. The songs sound more intimate when they are stripped down and a little nastier.
Overall, disc 1 features the essential shit that you need in a set like this. The album, all the tracks recorded that could have been on the album but didn’t make it, and alternate mixes. All important stuff to the story of In Utero.