Nevermind by Nirvana: An Album to Pay Some Mind to

The 30th anniversary of a revolutionary album’s release is surely a reason to celebrate. Read on to hear a fellow student – and music nerd’s – review of Nevermind by Nirvana!

By Carissa Chung

No matter how different your music taste is, I’m sure the band Nirvana, fronted by the late Kurt Cobain, has been on your radar at least a couple of times. Nevermind, one of the most popular albums by Nirvana and an album that was a turning point in grunge and rock history, was released on September 24th of 1991 – 30 years ago. When I choose music to bang my head or belt my heart out to, Nevermind is one of the most enduring choices I always come back to.

Nirvana has made countless memorable pieces of music that teens still fall in love with today.  Nevermind, their second album, is one of my favorite examples of this; it “sold out of its initial shipment of 50,000 CDs” and even boasts being certified triple platinum (Grammy Awards). The most popular songs on the album are undoubtedly “Come As You Are,” “Lithium,” and the arguably overwhelming favorite, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” These songs made waves for many reasons, but the near-magical chemistry within the band is possibly the most spectacular aspect of the album. Nevermind boasts a very impressive lineup of band members: Kurt Cobain on guitar and lead vocals, Krist Novoselic on bass, and Dave Grohl on the drums. Still, that’s not where the brilliance ends. The diversity in the songs of this album contributed greatly to the mainstream success and acclaim it received; the songs vary in instrumentation, feeling, subject matter, and even border on changing genres at times. In a 1992 interview with the band, Grohl even exclaimed that when making their songs they “just…jam!” (Internet Archive). The freedom is evident throughout the tracklist and offers an album great for the radio while ensuring that every song has something unique about it. Songs like Polly feature acoustic sound heard in the plucky noise of the guitar Cobain plays. In contrast, Territorial Pissings includes more rock influence as evidenced by Cobain’s screams throughout the track. Inspired by numerous bands like Sonic Youth, The Pixies, and The Vaselines, this album was unlike Nirvana’s previous release titled Bleach. It’s more experimental, takes more risks, and as a result, offers a more complete experience. Each song makes for a special listening experience that combines in a wonderfully honest, grungy, and heartfelt album. 

This album is largely credited for Nirvana’s seemingly overnight success, so it’s fair to assume that fans of the band and those with limited knowledge alike both enjoyed and continue to enjoy the tracks. Every song on the album may not be your favorite, but with Grammy nominations in 1991 and 1992, as well as being a part of the Grammy Hall of Fame, it’s hard to not find at least one track that you’ll love! The variety of sound that Nevermind offers is unlike many other beloved and world-renowned albums. After reaching number one – and beating out the great Michael Jackson – in 1992, this album shook the world and the course of Nirvana as a band. I urge everyone to at least give it a chance; the writing is great, the sound is rockin’, and the feeling it evokes can be smash-a-guitar levels of life-changing!

If you like Nevermind by Nirvana, check out the albums In Utero by Nirvana, Dirty by Sonic Youth, and Surfer Rosa by The Pixies, or even just the bands The Smashing Pumpkins, The Velvet Underground, or Pearl Jam!