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Nirvana’s 11 Loudest Tracks

Our teenage angst was so loud that now we're old and deaf

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    This feature initially ran in September 2013 as part of In Utero’s 20th anniversary. We’re reposting in remembrance of Kurt Cobain, who would’ve turned 50 today.

    How do you follow an album that’s not only a commercial breakthrough, but also defines a generation? If you’re Nirvana, you do so with your middle fingers proudly in the air. In Utero was (and still is) a massive fuck you to the corporate system, the fans that never really “got it” in the first place, and those bandwagon acts that trolled their sound three albums over. Twenty years later, it stands as the definitive Nirvana album and a portrait of a trio whose pop tendencies were secondary to their noisy nature. To celebrate their timeless ruckus, we’ve collected the loudest tracks in their repertoire and turned the fuzz up all the way to 11. In other words, the higher the number, the louder things get.


    01. “You Know You’re Right”

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    The posthumous release of “You Know You’re Right” from the band’s last studio session was contentious with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Courtney Love, but the fans were frothing at the mouth to hear it. Everyone knows the story behind it as one of the last songs Cobain recorded, but its beauty, even though it wasn’t totally finished, dwells in its vitriol. Cobain’s mastery of brain-numbing feedback is in full effect, and his vocals are as angry as anything previously released. The doubled screams hint at a future in post-hardcore that never was.

    How Loud? It’ll rattle a casket six feet down in the cold earth.

    –Nick Freed

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