Release date: 1991
Favorite track: “Lithium”
When I was a kid, I was gifted a tight, black Kurt Cobain shirt one Christmas.
I had no idea who it was, but I’m sure I acted eternally grateful for this article of clothing with an enlarged face on it. When I put it on, my older sister said, “People will think you are cool.” Who was I to argue?
At that age, you’re desperate to be cool, no matter how unfamiliar the face on your shirt. Wish I still had it.
At the time, I was actually familiar with many Nirvana songs I had heard on the radio in the car with my mom. But I think it took several years before I made the mental connection from the T-shirt to the music.
Honestly, to this day I probably couldn’t recognize the guitarist, drummer or lead singer of some of my favorite bands — even if they walked right up to me. I know Google is a thing, but old habits die hard.
When I was younger, I was naturally drawn to the angst-y grunge music that is Nirvana. If I’m being honest, I don’t listen to the band much today, but I won’t change the station if it comes on the radio.
It’s been almost 27 years since this album first released. Weird.
“Nevermind” is largely responsible for the Nirvana songs you know and love — “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come as You Are,” “Lithium” and “In Bloom.”
These hits ushered in the ‘90s alternative rock I grew up with.
I’m not of the notion angrier is better. I like the commercial appeal of pop guitar riffs and catchy choruses.
“Come as You Are” has my favorite lyrics, though don’t ask me to interpret any of these. After looking through a book featuring pieces from Cobain’s journal, I can honestly say I have no idea what he was thinking. His art is poetic and complex at best.
Come as you are, as you were
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend
As an known enemy
— “Come As You Are”
My favorite song is “Lithium” because I fondly remember singing this with my mom as a kiddo. I also think it’s the song with the most “never mind” feel, so to speak.
Cobain originally planned to title the record “Sheep,” as a stab toward the type of conforming people who would buy the record. Ouch.
He went with “Nevermind,” which I like better because it feels more like the calm after the storm that is this record.
The album cover amuses me a bit.
While it obviously has the dark context of a baby underwater in a pool while going after a dollar on a fish hook, I can’t help but think of the now-grown man photographed for it. Spencer Elden’s parents were reportedly paid only $200 for his appearance. Of course, then they had no idea how successful “Nevermind” would be. His re-creation of the photo is rather entertaining.
For a surface-level interpretation, I do enjoy the bright blue color of the pool water. It really stands out in a collection, especially on my re-pressed edition.