A fine outing by these three fine lads. Can't wait to see what they do next!
In Utero is the third and final studio album by American rock band Nirvana, released on September 13, 1993, by DGC Records. After breaking into the mainstream with their second album, Nevermind (1991), Nirvana hired Steve Albini to record In Utero, seeking a more complex, abrasive sound. Recording took place over two weeks in February 1993 at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Soon after recording was completed, rumors circulated that DGC might not release In Utero due to Albini's abrasive sound. Producer Scott Litt was hired to remix the singles "All Apologies", "Heart-Shaped Box" and "Pennyroyal Tea", upsetting Albini. In Utero was a major commercial and critical success. Critics praised the change in sound and Cobain's lyrics. It reached number one on the US Billboard 200 and UK Albums Chart; "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies" reached number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. The album is certified five-times platinum and has sold 15 million copies. In Utero was the final Nirvana album before Cobain's suicide in 1994. "Pennyroyal Tea", planned as a single prior to Cobain's death, was released in 2014 and reached number one on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales Chart.
A fine outing by these three fine lads. Can't wait to see what they do next!
Meh. The 1 star belongs entirely to All Apologies.
This was an amazing album, among the best of its era. Sadly, it's also one of the band's best and an indicator of where Nirvana might have been headed musically had things turned out differently. The songs are stunningly crafted and pretty perfect, but deliberately less polished than on Nevermind. Musically, the band is unforgiving in their delivery. It grinds, it burns and blisters, but also sometimes with an ear towards the melodic. Cobain's delivery flows effortlessly from insouciance to raging in a way I can't even compare to another artist. Lyrically, Cobain is brutal, clever, sarcastic, clearly in pain. I would just like to add that this is the second album I have reviewed in the past week by an extremely talented person who took his own life after the album I was reviewing came out, and it's a bummer, to put it mildly. The world was a better place with Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith in it. If you're struggling, there are people who can help you. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255. Fave Songs: All Apologies, Heart Shaped Box, Dumb, Radio Friendly Unit Shifter, Milk It
For so long I was trying to determine whether to rate this 4 or 5. But then I realized I was trying to determine how whether it could match or surpass Nevermind. Nevermind is a masterpiece but is polished and poppy from start to finish. But this album is raw and punkish. Sure, the more popular songs have the sound and genius songwriting we're used to, as in "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies", but the majority is more personal to Cobain. Overall, the songs flow together as a whole better than Nevermind, but the comparisons stop there. There is a dramatic contrast between pop and punk, and you can never tell what the next song will sound like, it's that unpredictable. Take "Dumb" for instance. It sounds like it should be one of those poppy songs, and like "Heart-Shaped Box" or "Rape Me", you'd expect grungy soft sound followed by a loud and guitar-heavy chorus... but it never comes. And of course, this works perfectly with the subject matter and makes for a memorable experience. But even with these pop songs, there is a rawness found in the recording you would never find on Nevermind. This is all an attempt to sound more like the indie albums Cobain admired, like Pixies's "Doolittle." Most songs get real personal to Cobain, dealing with his partner, his daughter, his drug use, and the media. Beyond a few bands, I always found the grunge genre to be dull and uninspired, but Cobain is one of those few who can remind us what the genre is about. Not just being a social rebel, but finding a medium to express the grimy elements of our lives, both the happy and sad parts of it. I admire Cobain's determination to take total control of this album and produce something they truly want, instead of what the public expects. It doesn't end up as garbage. Instead we have an album that, despite all, holds itself up as one of the greatest albums of the decade.
This is the best of it's genre and an extremely important album to boot. It's style, sound, and substance was huge, managing to enjoy mainstream success while also resonating with music nerds of the day (and today). To top it all off, it managed to do this while being the follow-up to the darling Nevermind, and it still rocks. Oh, and it has Albini production. Nirvana forever.
I hadn't ever listened to this album in its entirety before, and I went in expecting five stars. After a few songs I was like "never mind."
Lots of rock stars scream about how difficult it is, how they can’t be their true selves, how the system eats them up but very few deliver something this gutteral and beautiful. Make no mistake this is a real album about rock star angst. About feeling like you’ve sold your soul and trying to stay true to your craft. Just read the first line of the album “Teenage Angst has paid off well” It’s a thing of wonder that I didn’t fully appreciate until I was a bit older. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Get the shotgun
I enjoyed some damn good years in the 90s. But what I've come to realize is that how much of that was surrounded in myth because I don't miss the decade of snark, the cynicism, and in music that manifested into the "if it's not indie (which this wasn't...) it's utter shit" credo that wasn't even so much stated as just assumed. And Nirvana was the perfect synthesis of all of that. Which is probably why when they hit I hated them right off the bat. I wasn't stuck in the 80s or any particular era; as a marked counterpoint to that, the early 90s brought a revelation of/in rock music to me - so much amazing new music EVERYWHERE (I would say comfortably that nearly 100% of any excess money i made for a 2-3 year stretch went to buying new CDs) that I couldn't believe *this* was the band that stuck out and somehow got to be the symbol of the GenX rock fans. Goddammit WHY?! I wanted to revisit this today and give it a fresh ear. Because I hated this album. But I still hate it and maybe even more-so. Members of the loud/soft/loud cult of the late80s/early90s which I never enjoyed - there's not much melody to be found anywhere on this album; it's a noise record and - ok I can see how some people would like or even love this - but as much as I love power and energy in music there's no release in Nirvana's music for me. Kurt Cobain's voice is like listening to my cat angrily vomit into a microphone over and over which doesn't cover up the lack of musical progression. Listening to "Scentless Apprentice" are 4 of the worst minutes you'll ever spend. Until "Tourette's" - it's less than 2 minutes but feels like 20. Was going to give small points for occasional - OCCASIONAL - nostalgia. But then that same nostalgia gets some points docked because this is even worse than I remembered. No apologies. 1/10 1 star.
One of the greatest albums of the '90s and possibly ever. Nirvana expanded their dynamics on this album which gives it more texture and shows that the band was not simply content to rehash Nevermind. This album hints at their Beatles and Pixies influence while incorporating elements of punk and hardcore music. Kurt Cobain was a master songwriter and an avid student of music.
Not often on this list does an album incontrovertibly deserve to be on it regardless of personal feelings about the band, the music, etc. Rarer still, does the album earn all five stars in spite of that as well. At this time, there are two studio and one live album by Nirvana on 1001. This being their final studio album, it did ride on the success of "Nevermind" but demonstrated more importantly that Nirvana was not single happenstance, but rather a hot iron that had everyone scrambling to strike. While the success of "In Utero" was comparatively somewhat dwarfed by "Nevermind" any band with any dreams of success would be hard-pressed to achieve what "In Utero" did as it would likely be their best performing album of their career if they did. This album captures all of the heavy, the hard, the angst, and grunge elements of an era, an era not necessarily started by Nirvana, however nearly 30 years later, comparisons and root traces still find Nirvana as their common ancestor. Bands who have "Seattle-based" as part of their promotional material is undoubtedly drawing from the mythos of Nirvana. Subsequent or "new" music can all go back to what Nirvana did to rock music in the early 90s, when music collectively abandoned overnight the glam rock and heavily synth'd pop of the 80s. People found that Cobain's introspection asked people to look inward, ultimately for him which led to a tragic end. Casting a shadow on an entire city that became socially ubiquitous with a perception of depression, and mental fatigue. The album deserves 5-stars because it proved "Nevermind" was not a fluke, that Nirvana had indeed codified into the world of music how things were going to be.
This album is better when played as a whole rather than as several disconnected singles. It is clear that this record was meant to evoke a visceral response in the listener. From the opener, Serve the Servants to the closer All Apologies this record is meant for movement but is at it's heart disturbing emotionally.
It is often seen where bands go from punk to a more "radio friendly" genre, becoming polished over time and losing that "edge", but Nirvana did the exact opposite here, releasing their critically acclaimed Nevermind first and later following it up with the more edgy, unpolished In Utero. There are some songs on this album that have that similar Nevermind polish, but this is ultimately a more primal album. And as I understand it, this is exactly what Nirvana was going for. Still, the magic of Nirvana is there for those that are drawn to it in the first place. You have grating, visceral emotions from Cobain's vocals and lyrics. His words fit the grunge genre so well, as he is adept at telling his very personal stories with dirty, grimy, grungy lyrics befitting of the genre. The music, while also incredibly grungy and distorted, is masterfully edgy; you can tell you're listening to musicians who know how to do more than slam on their instruments. While I understand that Nirvana wanted to go more unpolished, I personally believe they were at their best on Nevermind. Still, this album is solid, and a very shining example of 90s grunge and punk-adjacent genres. Cobain was known for pushing hard for what he wanted, and Nirvana shows here what they wanted to be, and they were uncompromising on that. And it proved to be a success. This likely would have been the beginning of their sound moving forward, had it not been for Cobain's untimely death.
Basically if you take Nickelback, then dip them in a vat of crack and meth you get Nirvana. While I think the guitar riffs are really cool, I don't like how they fit with Kurt's voice; as soon as his voice comes in I'm like ah shit stop singing. I love counterculture music and Nirvana do have some better songs on other albums, but just never been able to appreciate this band in particular. Knew a few of these songs but I always prefer non-singles, which weren't decent enough to save this album for me.
Ghastly pub rock drone
ugh. Never liked them; never liked grunge or whatever they called it.
Nirvana never does it for me.
never really cared much for Nirvana
Disappointing. Not heard a Nirvana album before, so was excited. But it was boring & the singer's voice grated with me. Forgettable
If this album's goal was to annoy me then it did its job well. I don't like this genre and this album solidified that fact for me. If I wanted something to make me go deaf with just straight noise, I'd pick this. Favorite track: All Apologies
9/10. no idea why this site wants me to listen to so much 90s music but im not complaining. seriously like half of these fucking albums have been 90s. what the hell! anyway this album is great. i wrote a more serious "review" on my rym top 200 list but aside from scentless apprentice this is super good and connects with me kinda hard. probably needs a relisten!
I've never given Nirvana the credit other people do. I think it was just a metal kid's resentment towards grunge? Maybe it was thinking Dave Grohl made better music in Foo Fighters? But this album rules! || It might also be because I have a higher base stressed-out level these days, but the raw tones and attitude in the all of the tracks just seems to resonate and feel comforting. || Never knew it was recorded in Goodhue County, literally one over from where I grew up in Dakota County! doesn't mean much, but neat! ||
Definitely the best Nirvana album. The songs are catchy and raw, and the instruments are peak 90's grunge. Kurt's anger and energy throughout the album help solidify it as the best Nirvana album for me. The worst thing about this album is that it's their last (studio album, at least). Highlights: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 12.
There's so much of Steve Albini here. Great great production.
Sharp, tight guitar, definitely hear Albini's hand at the controls
One of the best albums of grunge, alternative rock and 90's music at all. Raw sound and pure energy! Listened dozens of time.
Someone should've told him he was brilliant. Best Tracks: Serve The Servants; Heart-Shaped Box; Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
4.2 + I appreciate the warts on this album now that I'm older. When I was 14, I was disappointed that this didn't sound like "Nevermind 2.0." Steve Albini captures a more live, organic feel, and there's more dynamism in the guitars. Compared to "Nevermind", there are higher highs ("All Apologies", "Heart-Shaped Box"). But there are also lower lows, which almost tank the second half ("Tourette's", "Radio-Friendly Unit Shifter"). Some of the same themes around anatomy and disease are here with some darker kinks ("eat your cancer", basically all of "Milk It", "umbilical noose"...). It's a messier, nastier, less poppy and more interesting record than "Nevermind." My only knock is with those two aforementioned tracks - they kind of stink.
A personal and anxious vocal performance that is complimented adeptly by obstreperous rockers.
Ok, I am about to get my 90s kid credentials revoked. Let me preface this by saying that I like grunge. I like the mix of rock and punk and all the grit and distortion that comes with it. But for whatever reason, I just could never get totally behind Nirvana. There are lots of songs I like (All Apologies, Dumb), some I love (Heart-Shaped Box), and some I don't really get but I'm willing to go on that ride (PennyRoyal Tea). But I actively dislike Scentless Apprentice and especially Tourette's (why is that possessive??). They are just noise for the sake of noise. Rape Me has always bothered me because it is supposed to be an anti-rape song like "go ahead and rape me but I will survive this" but you can't really get that unless you read that Kurt intended it that way. Ultimately I feel like Nirvana is Ethan Hawke's character, Troy, in Reality Bites. Trying to be counter culture, anti-everything artists on the outside with a soft, sensitive center...but in reality Troy (and Nirvana) just aren't as good as people want to believe them to be.
All the apologies in the world wouldn’t suffice for making me listen to this butt rock bullshit.
1993. Key Songs: Serve The Servants, Heart-Shaped Box, Dumb, Rape Me
Rough and pleasurable
It’s been over a decade since the last time I listened to this album end-to-end, and I’m surprised at just how well it holds up
Obviously, I love this album. It has some of my favorite non-hit Nirvana songs on it. Very Ape and Milk It really stand out.
My favorite album tbh.
One of my favorites, great sound and awesome songs, always
One of the more raw Nirvana albums with a few defining hits. Playlist song Dumb.
Awesome. Just awesome.
Just classic. I remember when this was released and how raw and urgent it sounded. Still no album like it
My favorite Nirvana album (usually). Not as rough as Bleach, not overly slick like Nevermind. 9/10 1. Heart-Shaped Box 2. Rape Me 3. Pennyroyal Tea
This is my favorite Nirvana album. It's pure 90s and it's wonderful.
Released in 1993, "In Utero" is the third and final studio album by the iconic American rock band Nirvana. Produced by Steve Albini, the album serves as a departure from the band's commercially successful predecessor, "Nevermind." This in-depth review will delve into the various aspects of "In Utero," examining its lyrics, music, production, themes, and influence, while also addressing both its strengths and weaknesses. Lyrics: Nirvana's frontman, Kurt Cobain, wrote the majority of the album's lyrics, showcasing his introspective and often cryptic approach to songwriting. The lyrical content of "In Utero" delves into themes of existentialism, disillusionment, and personal struggles. Cobain's enigmatic and sometimes abstract lyrics contribute to the album's emotional depth. Songs like "Serve the Servants" and "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" reflect Cobain's inner turmoil, while tracks like "Heart-Shaped Box" and "Dumb" reveal a more vulnerable and introspective side. The lyrics are a highlight of the album, offering a glimpse into Cobain's complex psyche and adding layers of meaning to the music. Music: Musically, "In Utero" presents a departure from the polished sound of "Nevermind," embracing a rawer and more abrasive style. The album incorporates elements of punk, alternative rock, and noise, creating a sonic landscape that is both intense and experimental. The guitar work, driven by Cobain and Krist Novoselic, is characterized by distorted riffs, dissonant chords, and dynamic shifts, exemplified in tracks like "Scentless Apprentice" and "Milk It." Dave Grohl's powerful and dynamic drumming further adds to the album's visceral impact. The music on "In Utero" captures the essence of Nirvana's grunge roots while pushing the boundaries of their sonic palette. Production: Steve Albini's production on "In Utero" is a defining factor in the album's distinct sound. Albini's minimalist and unpolished approach aligns with Cobain's vision for a more raw and authentic record. The use of unconventional recording techniques, such as capturing live performances and avoiding overdubs, contributes to the album's unfiltered and visceral quality. The production choices create an intimate and immediate listening experience, heightening the impact of Cobain's impassioned vocals and the band's energetic instrumentation. While some listeners appreciated the album's rawness, others found fault in the lo-fi production, considering it a departure from the cleaner sound of "Nevermind." Themes: The themes explored in "In Utero" are deeply personal and reflective of Cobain's struggles with fame, relationships, and his own identity. The album's title itself, "In Utero," suggests a return to the womb, perhaps symbolizing a desire for retreat and escape. Songs like "Rape Me" and "Milk It" confront issues of exploitation and disillusionment, while "All Apologies" serves as a poignant reflection on self-forgiveness and acceptance. The themes on the album contribute to its emotional weight and resonate with listeners on a visceral level. The exploration of darker and more introspective subject matter distinguishes "In Utero" from the more accessible narratives of its predecessor. Influence: "In Utero" left a lasting impact on the alternative and grunge music scenes, influencing a generation of musicians and shaping the trajectory of rock music in the 1990s. The album's rejection of mainstream expectations and its embrace of a raw, unfiltered sound paved the way for a wave of alternative and indie acts. Nirvana's success also played a crucial role in bringing alternative music to the forefront of the mainstream, challenging the dominance of glam metal and opening the door for a diverse range of musical expressions. The rebellious spirit and emotional honesty of "In Utero" left an enduring mark on the cultural landscape, solidifying Nirvana's legacy as one of the most influential bands of their era. Pros: Lyrically Rich: The album's lyrics are thought-provoking, introspective, and add depth to the overall listening experience. Musical Innovation: "In Utero" showcases a departure from conventional grunge, experimenting with abrasive and dynamic musical elements. Raw Production: Steve Albini's production style enhances the album's authenticity, capturing the band's live energy and intensity. Emotional Resonance: The themes explored in the album resonate on a personal level, providing a raw and genuine emotional experience. Influence on Alternative Music: The album's impact on the alternative music scene and its role in shaping the 1990s rock landscape are significant. Cons: Lo-fi Production Criticism: Some listeners found fault in the lo-fi production, missing the cleaner and more polished sound of "Nevermind." Commercial Viability Concerns: The album's departure from a more mainstream sound raised concerns about its commercial viability, especially following the massive success of "Nevermind." Conclusion: "In Utero" stands as a testament to Nirvana's artistic evolution and Kurt Cobain's uncompromising vision. The album's exploration of raw emotion, coupled with its sonic experimentation, solidifies its place as a landmark in the alternative and grunge genres. While the lo-fi production may have divided opinions, it ultimately contributed to the album's authenticity and impact. "In Utero" remains a powerful and influential work that transcends its time, offering a window into the tumultuous psyche of one of rock music's most enigmatic figures.
Edging to this
ABSOLUTE BANGERS ON THIS ALBUM!
5 star for Diogo, my bro!
I was surprised how it still sounds good.
Todas las canciones, memorables. Un gran disco
Masterpiece. A hypnotising, singular and wonderful experience. A one of kind album.
The first time I listened to this I thought I was about to listen to a live album and that Utero was the name of a city. I'm glad it wasn't.
I've never listened to Nirvana before. It's really astounding how it grabbed my attention (I'm listening to this at 2am after working late) because holy shit I really savoured this like I haven't for other music in the past. Goddamn
Nirvana's best studio album
A couple radio friendly singles mixed by Scott Litt (REM) + that classic Albini engineered abrasiveness = a timeless classic. No apologies for giving this 5 stars babyyy!
Farmer Francis will have her revenge on Seattle. The first nirvana album i got into, so it will always be my favourite. It’s a pretty flawless album.
Arguably nirvana’s best album. Shows a ton of growth musically and lyrically from Nevermind. The biggest shame is not knowing what would have come next. Highlights: Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle, Milk It, Dumb
One of the best albums of the early 90s. All Apologies, Heart-Shaped Box, Pennyroyal Team, and Dumb are great songs. It just never gets old. Nirvana just takes you back to your youth and the music has aged really well. It was so ahead of its time, but at the same time, very much a product of the 90s.
Always a good narrative. Union of all of the good things coming out at the time. Penny royal tea and Heart-shaped Box favourites
Simply sensational. Even after all these years. Almost every song absolutely kills it and it still feels as raw and as edgy as back then in 94.
A formative album for me. I actually don't listen to Nirvana that much anymore... but still a classic for me.
Que honor haber nacido el mismo año que este disco.
Escuchar este disco me hizo sentir como el meme de “How do you do fellow kids?” Y aunque el grunge nunca fue mi vibra, sí disfruté mucho esta escucha
9.7 Impossibke to separate from tennage years.
Beautiful early-to-mid 90s memories with this one. Teenage years soundtrack. I would often swing back and forth between more extreme metal and grunge/alt-rock. I preferred this one to Nevermind as it sounds somewhat rawer, but I'd give 5-stars to both of them (and if you ask me, my actual favorite is Incesticide...).
Not the same impact as Nevermind and I remember a slight disappointment at the time, but still a classic.
After being quite disappointed with this album after it came out, it has really grown on me quite a bit. This album is fantastic.
My favorite Nirvana album. In my estimation the best Nirvana album. It’s incredibly powerful.
Rating: 9/10 Best songs: Serve the servants, Heart-shaped box, Rape me, Dumb, Very ape, Tourette’s
An absolute classic. Heard it a million times, happy to platter it up a million more
One of my favourite albums of all time
I was 13 when this came out and it was a big part of my life. I even have specific memories of times and places I listened to this album. I think about it every time I pass through Cannon Falls on 52.
It’s amazing how influential nirvana became after essentially only 2 albums but it’s understandable. Both this and nevermind are all time greats for good reason, not much more to be said. Nevermind is still better in my opinion. Fav songs: heart-shaped box, rape me, all apologies
A grunge manifesto in disgust for corporate and popular society at large. Cobain's seething delivery and simple yet evocative guitar lines underwrite not only an indictment of Nirvana's success post-Nevermind and Kurt's feelings of exploitation ('Rape Me', 'Radio Friendly Unit Shifter'), but a continually relevant vision of the sheer vapidity of modern society ('Very Ape', 'Dumb'). Shifting between pure discord and true beauty ('All Apologies' is and always will be a stunner of a track), this LP is not so much rage but cynicism sonified, one final wail against the cesspool of American society before finally giving in.
3/3 студийных альбомов Нирваны.
Might be my favorite album of all time.
You gotta be kidding me, two of my favs in a row! Here's a meme for you: Слушает In Utero Мальчик: Rape Me, Heart-Shaped Box Мужчина: Milk It, Radio Friendly Unit Shifter, Very Ape
Heard it! Love it!
241121 17:13 4.5
Grunge will always have a special place in my heart, it was really the entryway for metal for me, and Nirvana played a big role in that. This is Nirvana at their best. 4/5 Album.
Now we're talking! The best Nirvana album, sorry, Nevermind, which showcases a lot of the band's best tracks as well as having huge significance to me personally. Whilst the highs of Nevermind might have a slight edge on those of this record, In Utero has a stronger complete track list and is a stellar example of 90's grunge from the band that brought the genre out of it's niche and exposed it to the masses.
Everyone has a collection of music that has helped them through some hard times and helped shape them. Nirvana features heavily in my collection. Tourette's is maybe the only song on the album that I wouldn't consider a banger as it feels almost too volatile, explosive and I think there's too much going on. I would however argue that it achieved exactly what it set out to achieve so I can hardly fault it. I may have only been 1 when this album was released but In Utero is timeless. 5/5.
In 1993, it was a different world. We didn't have cell phones or the internet (well, most of us). We didn't have Google, and we didn't have Genius for looking up song lyrics and meanings. We had the liner notes, pulled out of the jewel case and poured over for hours, trying to make some sense of the mystery. I can't decide if we were better off trying to decipher Kurt Cobain's obtuse lyrics, or better off now having so much information at our fingertips. Every magazine story about Nirvana, each video interview with Cobain, even Courtney Love's tweets to Lana Del Rey in 2012 about her vagina's role in Cobain's songwriting. And here we are judging this content 30 years later, 30 years filled with more life experiences and cultural changes that Cobain never experienced. How would he reflect on this music decades later? How would Nirvana's music have evolved? We'll never know, but we do have this amazing time capsule of an amazing band at their creative peak, raw and angry and vulnerable and passionate, screaming until their voices and instruments broke. It's pretty awesome.
Cobain is one of the few lead singers that I know, that can't hit notes, but is still an amazing lead. Incredible album.
Fucking eh, what a great album.
A masterpiece, maybe less raucous and brash than its predecessor Nevermind, but nonetheless heartfelt and passionate
Just as good as my teenage angst remembers! It gets the nostalgia 5/5
There are 2 types of people - Nevermind people and In Utero People. I plant my feet firmly in the In Utero Camp. Brilliant, and reminds me of driving around in my first car with this in my cassette player.