Geffen Records, Inc. (0694935072)
Release Date: October 29, 2002
This is the long-awaited "greatest hits" album from Nirvana. Looking at the tracklist on the back of the CD, it gives the impression that all that is on the disc is the "new" song, "You Know You're Right," plus remastered tracks taken from their various albums. It turns out that, in this case, appearances are deceiving.
The first track on the disc is "You Know You're Right," the last song Nirvana recorded together before Kurt Cobain's suicide in April of 1994. I really like this song, and it shows that Kurt still had some mileage left in him as a songwriter, but that he cut himself off. Whenever I hear it, it makes me think about "what could have been."
The version of "About A Girl" that appears on the CD is the original version from the band's first album, Bleach (rather than the MTV Unplugged version).
When I saw that "Been A Son" was on the disc, I assumed it would be the version from Incesticide. It turns out it's actually from the "Blew" EP (which is a different recording of the song, and is a version that was hard to come across before the release of this CD). The next several tracks ("Sliver," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Come As You Are," "Lithium," "In Bloom," and "Heart-Shaped Box") are all versions that appeared on their respective albums.
The next surprise was "Pennyroyal Tea." Instead of using the In Utero version, a previously unreleased single mix of the song is included. According to the liner notes, Scott Litt did this mix for a 1994 release, but the release of "Pennyroyal Tea" was scrapped after Kurt's suicide (because Geffen decided to cease promoting In Utero).
"Rape Me" and "Dumb" were taken from In Utero. For "All Apologies," the disc includes the MTV Unplugged version. And the disc ends with "The Man Who Sold The World," also from the Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance.
When I got this CD, I was expecting to get only one new track out of it ("You Know You're Right"). The alternate versions of "Been A Son" and "Pennyroyal Tea" were a big surprise, and made getting the CD more worthwhile (it's unfortunate that Geffen decided not to play up the fact that "Been A Son" and "Pennyroyal Tea" were alternate versions on the tracklist). I would recommend this CD to a Nirvana collector who wants the alternate versions of "Been A Son" and "Pennyroyal Tea," but don't want to have to track down obscure releases in order to get them. I would also recommend the CD to someone who isn't as familiar with Nirvana, because I feel this disc would make a good starting point for someone to become familiar with the band's material.
(reviewed by Lesley Muir on November 5, 2002)
All Nirvana songs written by Kurt Cobain except "Smells LIke Teen Spirit" written by Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic
"The Man Who Sold The World" written by David Bowie
"You Know You're Right" recorded and mixed by Adam Kasper
"About A Girl" and "Sliver" recorded and mixed by Jack Endino
"Been A Son" recorded and mixed by Steve Fisk
"Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Come As You Are," "Lithium," and "In Bloom" produced by Butch Vig; mixed by Andy Wallace
"Heart-Shaped Box" recorded by Steve Albini; mixed by Scott Litt
"Pennyroyal Tea" recorded by Steve Albini; mixed and remixed by Scott Litt
"Rape Me" and "Dumb" recorded and mixed by Steve Albini
"All Apologies" and "The Man Who Sold The World" produced by Nirvana and Scott Litt; mixed by Scott Litt