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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Rock > Albums > Classic Albums: Nirvana - Nevermind (Eagle DVD)

Classic Albums:  Nirvana – Nevermind


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: B-     Main Program: A-



Earlier that day, I had graduated from high school.  But now I was crammed into a tiny, rusted-out Toyota, jammed-in alarmingly close to several other survivors of the dogmatic trenches of catholic education while sitting on my lap was my increasingly alluring, sweetly perfumed ex-girlfriend who was just along for the ride.  We were zooming our way to another party. We were late and traffic lights were against us but our driver, slightly buzzed, bravely floored the gas and ran as many stop signs as possible.


It was a weird group in that car, aspiring poets, burned-out metal-heads, and career-minded fast-track business-types; the sort of people who could only find familiar ground and newfound communal appreciation for one another in the wake of only hours ago having diplomas shoved into their shaky hands while flashbulbs exploded all over the auditorium with the attendant familial applause and choked-up parental pride these occasions are so subject to.  It was disorienting, exciting, and a little frightening to have so recently jettisoned those gothic Christ-bearing walls and fetid, damp-smelling lockers for the streets and lights and ‘what now?’ of shell-shocked matriculation.  But we were happy and feeling good about whatever was coming next whether it was college superstardom or weekly AA meetings.  We were confident we could handle everything that came our way.


We jabbered away ignoring the dull, sober world flashing past the windows and giggled goofily over impressions of spooky math teachers and elfin English lit martinets.  And then out of nowhere, I hadn’t even registered that the radio was on, everything exploded in that claustrophobic, joyous little car.  Those first quick guitar chords and then those huge heart attack drums that we all knew and loved no matter what strata of high school society we had inhabited just blew up in the speakers.  And all of a sudden our bodies were bouncing and diving, bumping and flying, and everyone was singing and our heads snapped back and forth as though we were all engaged in some kind of epileptic frenzy.


Right then and there Smells Like Teen Spirit was the greatest song ever and we all knew it.  It owned us just as we owned it.  That song, whether we understood it at the time or not, was our youth.  It was us.  Even with everything else that happened on that milestone of a day that moment in the car, just us and Kurt Cobain, stands out as one of the happiest times of my life.


These memories came rushing back as I watched the exceptional installment of the Classic Albums series featuring Nirvana’s Nevermind, an album whose influence is still being underrated to this day.  This more recent installment of the show offers the usual track-by-track analysis of the album, but the impact of each and how good each track is makes this all the more amazing.  There is even an interview with Samuel Bayer on how the classic Music Video for Smells Like Teen Spirit happened, almost did not, and launched one of the few key directing careers that mattered in the field.  The extras include more segments that could not fit into the main program and a great piece on the teenager who we now know as “the Nirvana Nevermind baby” that reminds us what great album covers used to be.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image throughout the show and extras is a bit lacking, while the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo may have some Pro Logic surrounds, but falls flat as well.  The sound just does not do justice to the music, though interviews are clear enough.  The programming mows over these technical limits, however, in one of the best installments to date in the series finding something else to say about the last Rock album to arrive with any weight and influence.


What more can be added to the multitude of books and essays, what more can really be said about Nirvana’s Nevermind.  It was the album that, at least for a brief moment in time, had changed everything.  The day before Nirvana the radio and MTV were contaminated with hair-metal and lukewarm R&B, saccharine pop ruled the airwaves and charts.  The day after Nirvana there seemed to be a million new bands invading the fortress of the mainstream and overthrowing the old order.  Suddenly, totally unexpectedly, you could turn on a radio and actually, I’m not making this up, hear a really cool song.  And this is the mind-blowing part: right after that song would come another really cool song!  It was beautiful.



-   Kristofer Collins



Kristofer Collins is the owner of Desolation Row CDs and can be contacted at desolationrowcds@hotmail.com


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