Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CD of the Day: ‘Incesticide,’ Nirvana (1992)

I’m not a huge Nirvana fan, but a disc like this that’s made me come to respect them so much. It’s obscene that a collection of b-sides, demos, and other castoffs is this good.

“Incesticide” is certainly solid enough to be an official album, even though it isn’t. The title is apt, because most of the tracks here sound like a blending between Nirvana’s second and third albums, with the power of “Nevermind” mixing with the raw-nerve sound of “In Utero.” The disc flies by, with most songs hovering around the two-minute mark. Yet, even a track like “Been a Son” feels like a fully developed effort at just 1:56.

B-side comps often become some of my favorite discs; there’s no pressure or expectations, no dramatic “statement” to be made—just a bunch of songs standing on their own. There’s also no better proof of a band’s caliber than when cuts this good can’t even make the official record. Sure, there are some trouble spots—Kurt Cobain’s caterwaul on “Hairspray Queen” is downright unbearable, for example—but that’s to be expected from a warts-and-all collection like this. Considering the broader context of this collection, a few missteps are easily overlooked.

Grade: B+

Favorite Track: “Been a Son”

Least Favorite Track: “Hairspray Queen”

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