Saturday, August 01, 2009

Rock of Ages: Nirvana - "Heart Shaped Box" (1993)

Love 'em or leave 'em, no list of songs is going to be without Nirvana. I personally love them, so it's no big deal, but when a band explodes like Nirvana did, it's easy to find naysayers. Nevermind was a tour de force record but we are looking at the stellar follow-up In Utero for our entrance into the Rock of Ages lexicon of tracks. '93 showed new direction for Nirvana. In Utero, produced by Steve Albini, took a turn for the grittier. It dropped the polished sheen of Nevermind and was much rawer, although not as raw as their amazing debut, Bleach. The main single off of the album, "Heart Shaped Box" has always been my favorite tracks of the 90's. The track as we know it is not produced by Albini, but still fits well within the sound of the record. It's got a catchy hook with an awesome chorus and a lot of emotion behind it. Many speculations go into the meaning of the lyrics, but I always thought it was Cobain's statement to the press.

Kurt Cobain always wore his disdain with the media on his sleeve and "Heart Shaped Box" definitely shows how he wanted to retreat from the limelight. It's pounding beat, care of Dave Grohl, surges in and out and picks up heavy during the amazing chorus. Krist Novoselic's bass groove on this track is the main backbone for the song pulsating in waves throughout the song. Cobain's vocals and guitar are very grainy and harsh sounding as if he is being restrained. There is something beautiful and dark about this song. It's definitely one of Nirvana's fienst tunes. As history would go to show, Cobain's struggles with fame and his own inner demons would come to a sad ending with his untimely suicide in early 1994, but a legacy of great songs and influence have held on. Nirvana still sounds as relevant and current today as it has 15 years ago.

Up Next: Red Hot Chili Peppers beast song... from the Coneheads soundtrack?

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