Last week I took delivery of the Super Deluxe Box Set 20th Anniversary Edition of Nevermind by Nirvana. It's a wonderfully lavish package, a box containing four CD's, a DVD, a double sided poster and a ninety page booklet - or at least that's what the sticker on the back says.
Unfortunately I just can't bring myself to open it.
I didn't buy it so it would stay wrapped up, I've never been one of those people who buys things so that they can appreciate in value I buy stuff because I want it but there's some sort of force field mind games going on with this box.
I can remember where I was the first time I heard 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' because it's one of the few times I've ever been anywhere (outside various churches and cathedrals) where there was a reverential hush when the music began. Funnily enough, given what they turned into, oneof the other times involved U2 and their mini album 'Under a Blood Red Sky', and what's even more bizarre is that both the Nirvana and U2 experiences were in major record shops not the little Indie stores that were central to so much of my record collecting.
There's not much you can say about the Nirvana album that hasn't been said already expect to say that it is an album that rewards repeated listening and that listening becomes more poignant when you realise that its success was the beginning of the end for Kurt Cobain. I remember when the BBC screened the Unplugged concert shortly after his death a friend said to me, "What a great voice, so much emotion." The loud-quiet-loud style of Nirvana's songs became an imprint for what became known as 'grunge' and yet so much of the music that followed in the wake of their success still holds its own, whilst admittedly a lot of it sounds like complete dross, but then so it should. Nirvana took the ethos of punk (especially that exhibited by The Clash, The Pistols and Black Flag) and mixed it with the songwriting craft of Kurt Cobain's other love The Beatles but a lot of bands lacked his songcraft.
So until I can force myself to open the box I'll have to make do with the original CD from 1991. Now how does that song go, ah yes, "Load up on guns and bring your friends."