Few records changed the world. Nirvana's Nevermind is one of them. Released in September 1991, the well-produced yet emotionally raw album catapulted grunge into the mainstream and forever altered the popular musical landscape, turning Nirvana into household names and singer Kurt Cobain into the reluctant spokesperson of his generation. By year’s end, Seattle-based music, fashion, and attitude consumed popular consciousness. Nevermind had restored the gritty passion, rebellious mentality, and cathartic power long missing from mainstream rock. Call it the mighty sword that in one swoop fell the excess, plasticity, and emptiness of 80s music.
The record’s impact is also be measured by the success of its singles. Named by Rolling Stone as the #9 Best Song of All Time, the anthemic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became an institution on radio stations and MTV. Subsequent singles “Come As You Are,” “Lithium,” and “In Bloom” also testified to the genius of the soft-loud arrangements and whip-smart commentary on Nevermind, which at its core was a blockbuster pop album in punk clothing.
More than ten million copies later, the record has only picked up more accolades, having been included at or near the top of nearly every major publication’s Greatest Albums list. Nevermind is listed as:
#1 in Spin’s 90 Greatest Albums of the 90s
#1 Album of the Year in Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop Poll
#6 in Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 1990s
#17 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time
#1 in Entertainment Weekly’s Best Albums of the 90s
In addition to the groundbreaking music, sound quality has always been among the album’s finest aspects. Cleanly produced by Butch Vig and mixed by Andy Wallace, Nevermind features explosive dynamics, bursting tones, and a wide-open midrange. While Cobain later disparaged the sound as being too polished, the truth was that the room-filling sound allowed the record to grab the attention of anyone within earshot. Much imitated but never equaled, the sound became the template that nearly every band requested be put on their albums. Experience this masterwork as the creators intended on this excellent analog pressing.
"The overnight-success story of the 1990s, Nirvana's second album and its totemic first single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," shot up from the nascent grunge scene in Seattle to kick Michael Jackson off the top of the Billboard album chart and blow hair metal off the map. No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation – a nation of teens suddenly turned punk – and such a catastrophic effect on its main creator."
- Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time