NIRVANA – Incesticide

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"It arrived at the end of a batshit year for Cobain and Courtney Love, who were married that February, just over a month after Nevermind hit its zenith, knocking Michael Jackson out of the No.1 spot on the Billboard charts. Their 1992 devolved from there. The press tortured the Cobains in the months leading up to the birth of their daughter; then followed a custody battle with Child Protective Services. It was the year Cobain wore a “Corporate Magazines Still Suck” shirt on the cover of Rolling Stone and a hand-drawn Flipper tee on “SNL.” By the end of 1992, he wanted to call the next Nirvana LP I Hate Myself and I Want to Die, which had become his standard response when asked, “How you doing?”

Incesticide tells a different story: It forms a snapshot of Nirvana pre-Nevermind, the same band you see goofing around in a cha-cha line with Sonic Youth and dramatically eating grapes in David Markey’s classic tour doc 1991: The Year Punk Broke. In a hypothetical biopic of early Nirvana, these are the early songs that would soundtrack the deadpan humor of their ascent—ranging from ecstatic punk-pop to a maniacal, grinding noise, all united in crudity. Cobain felt Bleach was compromised because he had to avoid overtly poppy material in order to appeal to Sub Pop; he thought Nevermind’s slickness was “closer to Mötley Crüe record than it is a punk record,” embarrassing; and the confusion over the Steve Albini-helmed In Utero production is well documented. Incesticide has less baggage. No matter how gnarled the music gets, it inevitably feels lighter because when these songs were recorded, things were not yet so complicated. It’s humbling—as if Nirvana wished to shuttle back down to Earth and deliver the message, “We are not superhuman. We are passionately covering Devo.”

- Pitchfork

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