Debut albums rarely do as well as this one, and after only two months of work in the Seattle studio, and countless gigs and a few weeks of strict rehearsing, Nirvana crept onto the main stream market with a defining yet stand-alone sounding release.
Grunge made punk look old fashioned, and in the process reinvented the feeling of angst for a new generation. Heavy, dirty, slightly out of focus riffs slapped like first coat paint over steady drumming emulates that ramshackle yet determined fire that keeps us going while everything is changing around us.
Kurt Cobain, famous for his suspicious suicide and an unstoppable teen spirit, had been out of luck and when finding a deal with Sub Pop open to him and the band, decided to rework the Nirvana sound to satisfy their doomy grunge direction. This is perhaps why the other work by this band is not quite so discordant. Lyrics which are reportedly written in moments of high emotion only hours before the release make the energy something very precise. Unfiltered moments of frustration are what make grunge work.
Opening with bass and melody, the droning Cobain begins the vocals within moments of the first bar. A chorus with a question, a statement, and a complaining attitude make it instantly accessible to anyone who is having trouble with getting on with life. Emotional immaturity but with intense passion for integrity, makes a dualistic mirror in the forward motion of the music.
No Recess! It's hard work making music, and for a big production. There is no playtime when there is work to be done, but with “Love Buzz” it all comes together as we see that work and play are the same thing. We are adults now, and we do what we enjoy, which is of course productive and pleasurable in one. Even in the boring bits, a small reminder that this is a musicians prerogative is enough to keep the energy adequate.
It is on tour when the real work begins, and for the time being, during the making of this album, such a thing was still a fantasy for the low key young adults with a band. They'd have done shows, and big ones, but touring the world is a different job entirely. The knowing of what is on the horizon would no doubt have been in the essence of the song writing, that eager awaiting which holds the fingers to the fretboard in the times of little faith.
A distinguished album, with over a million sold on initial release, Bleach makes Nirvana who they are, with continual guide from this to that, as we listen to their whole career, and then that of Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, who clearly has carried the torch for his friend since those days.
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