Review #173: In Utero, Nirvana

Karla Clifton
3 min readSep 15, 2021

#173: In Utero, Nirvana

Well, let’s address the elephant in the room: The baby on the cover of Nevermind, Nirvana’s monumental sophomore record and #6 on the list, is suing the band, accusing them of distributing child pornography. This is an extremely divisive issue and while it’s worth talking about, I don’t think it has too much to do with their music. So here’s my quick and dirty take on the subject:

1. His feelings about his image being plastered everywhere are allowed to change.

2. He’s suing the wrong people.

3. I don’t think he’s going to win.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss why In Utero is way better than Nevermind:

1. Kurt Cobain liked it more.

2. It sounds like a heavy metal mud fest.

3. No naked babies.

FAVORITE SONGS:

“Serve The Servants” Teenage angst has paid off well/Now I’m bored and old. Don’t deny it, that’s such an amazing first line to the follow-up to the biggest grunge album ever.

“Scentless Apprentice” — Between the heavy metal guitar intro and the way KC squeals like a pig, I’m in heaven.

“Heart-Shaped Box” — One of the first songs I ever learned on the electric guitar. I don’t even care if it’s about Courtney Love’s hoo-ha.

“Rape Me” — Love this song, but can’t imagine their record company would have approved this title today.

“Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle” — I’ve listened to this album thousands of times and haven’t ever looked up Frances Farmer, so this time I did! She was a fifties film actress who’s life was much mythologized after the fact because of her involuntary psych hospital stays. She was born in Seattle, so I guess this song is how she took her vengeance posthumously. Also I love these harmonics.

“Dumb” — Are you happy? Or just dumb?

“Very Ape” If you ever need anything, please don’t/Hesitate to ask someone else first./I’m too busy acting like I’m not naive. Looking back, this album shaped my whole personality.

“Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” — Oh I love this grinding guitar thing that’s happening. What is wrong with me?

“Tourrette’s” — Kurt Cobain was actually suspected to have Tourrette Syndrome.

“All Apologies” — This song is almost like a coda to the rest of them — “Sorry the rest of this album sounded so scary. My bad.” I want my whole life to sound like this. All in all is all we are.

LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:

“Milk It” — Only because this one is genuinely terrifying. Between the screaming, the whimpering, the weirdo animal lyrics…I have nightmares about this song.

“Pennyroyal Tea” — I always thought this chorus was annoying. But the lyrics of the verses are gorgeous.

IS RS FULL OF IT?

No. If this was a list of Karla Clifton’s 500 Favorite Albums of All Time, this would make the top 10. But I would also definitely have Bleach, Nirvana’s debut, in the top ten, an album that pretty much nobody liked. And Nevermind is still being analyzed to death today by even non-grunge fans (and now lawyers). So RS isn’t full of it.

Review #172: Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel

Review #174: The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff & Various Artists

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