Second re-release of the third and the final full-length studio album by legendary American Grunge/Alternative Rock band.
Following the massive and unexpected commercial success of Nirvana's second album, "Nevermind", in 1991, the band had intended to "return to its roots" by recording a more abrasive and less mainstream-sounding release with polished production. To capture a more abrasive and natural sound, the band hired engineer Steve Albini to record "In Utero" during a two-week period in February 1993 at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The music was recorded quickly with few studio embellishments, and the song lyrics and album packaging incorporated medical imagery that conveyed frontman Kurt Cobain's outlook on his publicized personal life and his band's newfound fame. Soon after recording was completed, rumors circulated in the press that DGC might not release the album in its original state, as the record label felt that the result was not commercially viable. Although Nirvana publicly denied the statements, the band opted to remix parts of the album. Albini declined to alter the album further, and ultimately the band hired R.E.M. producer Scott Litt to make minor changes to the album's sound and remix the singles "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies".
"In Utero" turned out to be Nirvana's last record, and it's hard not to hear it as Kurt Cobain's suicide note, since Albini's stark, uncompromising sound provides the perfect setting for Cobain's bleak, even nihilistic, lyrics. Even if the album wasn't a literal suicide note, it was certainly a conscious attempt to shed their audience - an attempt that worked, by the way, since the record had lost its momentum when Cobain died in the spring of 1994. Even though the band tempered some of Albini's extreme tactics in a remix, the record remains a deliberately alienating experience, front-loaded with many of its strongest songs, then descending into a series of brief, dissonant squalls before concluding with "All Apologies", which only gets sadder with each passing year. Throughout it all, Cobain's songwriting is typically haunting, and its best moments rank among his finest work, but the over-amped dynamicism of the recording seems like a way to camouflage his dispiritedness, as does the fact that he consigned such great songs as "Verse Chorus Verse" and "I Hate Myself and Want to Die" to compilations, when they would have fit, even illuminated the themes of "In Utero". Even without those songs, "In Utero" remains a shattering listen, whether it's viewed as Cobain's farewell letter or self-styled audience alienation. Few other records are as willfully difficult as this.
Upon release, "In Utero" entered the Billboard 200 chart at number one and received critical acclaim as a drastic departure from "Nevermind". Rolling Stone has ranked it at number 435 on its list "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". The album was also included in the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". The record has been certified five times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and has sold 15 million copies worldwide.
DGC, A Universal Music Group/Geffen Records, 1993/2013 (0602537502950). Made in Germany.
1. Serve The Servants 3:36
2. Scentless Apprentice 3:47
3. Heart-Shaped Box 4:41
4. Rape Me 2:49
5. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle 4:09
6. Dumb 2:32
7. Very Ape 1:55
8. Milk It 3:54
9. Pennyroyal Tea 3:37
10. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter 4:51
11. Tourette's 1:35
12. All Apologies 3:53
Total playing time: 41:19 min.