If you really want Nirvana's greatest hits, just pick up a copies of Nevermind and In Utero, 10 bucks each.
And the review could end there.
But you see, long ago I was bored and tired at a Target Supercenter, and I suddenly realized that I was running out of possible purchase choices from a Target Supercenter. Target Supercenter offensively puts all of Target Supercenter's music in one big pile as the Target Supercenter's senior citizen's running the checkout dance around the pile as if they were pagans ritualistically degrading the music I love by placing it next to the likes of Clay Aiken and that fellow with the large breasts and creepy grin who is still trying to sing his sorry for 2004. In 2005, of course.
But there before me, friends, stood a totem of hope, and that was a black, stark little case flavored silver with NIRVANA printed across the front in a looming, "ooh somebody died" kind of elegance in its font. Of course they didn't carry anything else by Nirvana, but Target Supercenter has a certain theory, and that's that every band only releases one album in their lifetime and therefore only one CD should appear in any rack at all times. Disagree? Well, that's too bad. Insubordination is not the Target Supercenter way.
Now I know you probably haven't heard of these guys, but lets just say they were a grunge band in the early 90's who sparked little or no publicity and still fail to receive the massive every other song is Nirvana radioplay that they so deserve to garner.
The packaging is abysmal. Page 1: Miserable Kurt lifts his sunglasses before two equally disgruntled band members. Turn page. Kurt glares up from his guitar with the angry look as though somebody just shot his wife (Just kidding. He's not smiling in this picture)Turn page. Half of Kurt's face is cut off on a seething zoom into that same saddened glare. Behind him Grohl poses as if he should be zoomed into on this picture. And not just this picture, but his face should also randomly appear in the pictures of a million other bands for very brief and disappointing interludes. Turn page. Kurt stares at his guitar as if it's about to explode. Turn page. Kurt's crouched on the floor with his face out of sight. Turn page.
As gloomy as In Utero sounded, the accompanying images were lively and funny. Kurt had pink hair. He was giving a peace sign behind a cigarrette and a christmas hood. I know what you're thinking, but Kurt's dead now! He should only look miserable in every single one of his pictures! Well, I would agree with you record company friends, but that would make me look like a moron.
The gloomy packaging is only furthered by the opener and one new song You know you're right. Make no mistake, however, You know you're right is a wonderful song and it should be on a greatest hits because it easily fits into their top 10. People call it a rarity, hardly. It could just as well have functioned as a single for whatever their third release would have been.
Crushingly simple as the track is, it boasts not just a powerhouse chorus, but also a biting snip of guitar and bass as well as the lyrical originality that comes from personality more than production. My favorite line would have to be I have never failed to fail which hands itself off to a dark profoundness only the creatively cracked tongue of Mr. Cobain could deliver properly.
The rest of the disc boasts nothing. It seems to have the idea that this CD spans their entire carreer, but that's a dirty lie. This might not be a "best of" as much as a greatest hits. Of the 14 tracks, 9 are from Nevermind/In Utero (Including the live version of all apologies, which in all fairness is better sounding than the original), and is that such a surprise? I am annoyed to no end by their choices for In Utero. Does Rape Me belong on this disc when Serve the Servants could be? What about Breed or Polly? It don't matter 'cause, liek, its liek a disc made for one (Really, amazingly) good song.
One track from Bleach? No Negative Creep or Love Buzz? Why even include About a Girl then? Fortunately tracks from Nevermind feel at home here, the forever-in-anybody's-memory vibes of Smells like Teen Spirit and Lithium are left intact. I'm glad they chose to include In Bloom, which is one song that never seems to get old, unlike Come as You are which worsens so much with each listen that now it's virtually obsolete for me.
They did hit it with a lovely closer though, making the first and last tracks the only real sustaining elements of the disc. A cover of Bowie's Man Who Sold the World is about twice as good as the original, Grohl and Novaselic crunching it up with the signature Nirvana scent while Cobain twists Bowie's poetry into a cathartic but laid back walk with the devil.
He said I was a friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone a long long time ago
Any Bowie that was left in this track seems to have been restitched. It's a beautiful track in and of itself. That is, until some moron goes "woo!" in the background and screws up the mood totally. Whenever I hear this track now I immediately think of the "woo" and it grates me as I now have to watch for it like sound warping on an mp3.
But the two worthwhile tracks seem like bookends to a career that is essentially defined by two discs. Get those tracks from i-tunes or mp3.com or something. Or just download it off of an illegal client, whatever you kids think is trendy. This release was ultimately necessary just to get You Know You're Right the exposure it deserves. Nevermind and In Utero are Nirvana's real "best of".