So right now I’m listening to the excessive 4-disc reissue of Nevermind
Nevermind is very much Of My Generation — I was just barely 20 when it came out — so I’ve kind of been avoiding the whole “20 years ago today” we’re having about this. (This and R.E.M.’s breakup, and now kids born in 1990 are drinking in bars, legally. Also 20 years ago: Linklater’s Slacker and Coupland’s Generation X and the World Wide Web. YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN.)
I don’t remember thinking Nevermind was very exciting or original at the time, but then I was already a Pixies fan.
I’ve kind of formed an amalgam memory about September 1991. I was moving (back) into the dorms as an RA and during move-in week (late August) the speakers pointed into the quad were playing three songs depending on where a particular freshman had just moved to Lincoln, Nebraska from:
- From Omaha (rough side of town): “Down Wit’ OPP"
- From Omaha (nice side of town): “Don’t Cry” GnR
- From small towns: “I Got Friends in Low Places"
But by October the only noise you heard in the quad was “Load up on guns and bring your friends..."
I think the official line for music types is that Nevermind was kind of a sellout album, what with the Big Vig production and all. But it was the production that made THIS album the one that broke punk forever. I remember playing Hüsker Dü for a metalhead girl in high school and her criticism was something like “it doesn’t even sound like it was recorded properly.” Punk (OK, “Grunge") was one well-produced album away from being a big thing.
Oh well, whatever.