Nirvana boxed set well worth the price

Amy Barrick

Amy Barrick

Nirvana emerged as one of the most famous rock bands of the 1990s, propelled by the fast-selling album Nevermind and later, the famous suicide of Kurt Cobain, the voice and main songwriter of the band. Since Cobain’s death, interest in Nirvana and Cobain himself has grown steadily; dozens of books were written on Nirvana and Cobain, posthumous record sales remain steady and the band still receives sporadic radio play.

With the Lights Out, a final compilation of some of Kurt Cobain’s early demos and unreleased Nirvana songs, as well as numerous live recordings and radio appearances, was set to be released on the 10-year anniversary of Nervermind’s debut. However, the release was set back to 2004 due to legal discrepancies.

The boxed set, named after an almost indecipherable famous line of their most popular song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (With the lights out/ It’s less dangerous), contains some of the most raw and unapologetically grungy music currently being released. The first disk, filled with Nirvana’s earliest material is raw and boisterous at times, and some of the production is poor enough to make the material almost unlistenable-almost.

The second disk is filled with versions of some of the bands best-known songs, including Nirvana’s first live performance of the super hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Cobain also delivers great solo acoustic renditions of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” “Lithium” and “Dumb.”

The third audio disk contains Nirvana’s latest material, kicking off the set with two different versions of the emotionally charged song “Rape Me.” The first half of the disk continues in this manner, serving up more rough, although poignant, rock songs such as “Heart-Shaped Box,” “Milk It” and “I Hate Myself and Want to Die.” But as the disk plays on, Cobain’s solo acoustic recordings are once again some of the greatest parts. The solo acoustic version of “You Know You’re Right” is a deeply emotional and engaging piece of work, and is one of the biggest moments of the entire boxed set.

The fourth and final disk is a DVD filled with live footage of Nirvana’s early rehearsals and performances. For most of the early rehearsal footage, Cobain sings into a microphone against the wall, so the early part of the DVD doesn’t boast much visual entertainment. However, the later live performances are a bit more explosive, and the “In Bloom” video that is featured is rather enjoyable and features Nirvana’s pre- Dave Grohl drummer, Chad Channing. The crowning moment of the DVD, and the set itself, is the final footage of the band singing a rendition of the ’70s pop song, “Seasons in the Sun,” with Cobain playing the drums and singing. The song is a fitting choice for the end of the collection, as it is a song of a man saying his final goodbyes to the world and his loved ones, as Cobain would soon do not long after the footage was shot.

Overall, this set is a very interesting collection of music from one of our times’ greatest bands and songwriters. I recommend it to anyone who is a modern rock music fan. The appeal of these songs is broad, as they range from blues to punk rock, and is well worth the price.