Nirvana’s seminal album Nevermind turns 25 years old today. An album which brought Nirvana to the mainstream, and almost every living room across the globe, gave us a number of hits that seem as relevant today as they were back in 1991. And who doesn’t instantly recognise that album cover photo?
After releasing debut Bleach in 1989, Nirvana went back into the studio to work on an album which would take the world by storm. If you were to tell them it would change them forever and propel them to triumph, celebrity and tragedy in equal measure they would’ve likely told you to “fuck off”.
Nevermind’s success wasn’t instantaneous but after a year of floating in and around the charts, lead single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ garnered enough interest to create a wave of sales that pushed Nevermind to the top of the US Billboard charts, removing “King of Pop” Michael Jackson’s Dangerous in the process. No mean feat.
With hindsight it was probably the success of the album that lead to the demise of the band and the inevitable suicide of Kurt Cobain.
Fame came easily to Nirvana after Nevermind took off eventually getting to the point of over-saturation. It was played wherever you went, from the record stores to radio, the TV and even in some wee Granny’s house no doubt. It’s reach was far and wide and that was something that Cobain never seemed to be comfortable with, but that’s a discussion for another day.
When you look at the calibre of singles to come from the album – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, ‘Come As You Are’, ‘Lithium’ and ‘In Bloom’ – it’s easy to see why Nevermind became a cult classic and has managed to keep that status for all of its 25 years.
It doesn’t stop there though. Tracks like the reimagined ‘Polly’, the upbeat and raw-yet-polished (is that even a thing?) ‘Breed’, and trippy ‘Drain You’ could stand as singles in their own right. The frantic surge through ‘Stay Away’ giving way to the penultimate and more laid back ‘On a Plain’ before really pulling it back for the more-than-slightly-depressing ‘Something in the Way’. It really is an album which has it all.
To this day it’s still one my favourite albums from my teenage years and will likely always be up there. Happy Birthday Nevermind, here’s to many more years of listening – hip hip hooray!