Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Exactly Like a Funeral



Nirvana
MTV Unplugged in New York
1994, DGC
produced by Alex Coletti, Scott Litt

Kurt Cobain - acoustic/electric guitar, vocals
Kris Novoselic - acoustic bass, accordion, acoustic guitar
Dave Grohl - drums, acoustic bass
Pat Smear - acoustic guitar
Lori Goldston - cello
The Meat Puppets - acoustic guitars and basses

singles:
  • About a Girl
This is the first album I bought all on my own.  I'm pretty proud of it actually.  Recorded for Mtv's unplugged series, the album was released posthumously and debuted at #1 on the billboard.  The album is mostly acoustic, although Kurt did run his guitar through an amplifier and effects pedals for Man who Sold the World.  It doesn't take away from the acoustic sound however.

Not every rock band can pull off the acoustic album, most cheat and incorporate an electric bass.  Nirvana's unplugged album is a perfect example of what an unplugged album ought to be.  The band departs from what was expected of them, and the tracks chosen are not necessarily the hits.   Not relying on Smells Like Teen Spirit, or Lithium makes this album even stronger in its own way.

DGC released the album following Kurt Cobain's tragic suicide.  Even though it was recorded a year before the tragedy, listeners cant help but connect the album to the tragedy.  In fact, the stage decorations (black candles and lillies) were requested by Cobain because they were "exactly like a funeral".  There is a poignant moment at the end of the Leadbelly cover when Cobain loudly sighs, sounding so small and weary.

The album sold very well, I'm sure the news of the tragedy help propel sales of the album, but I would like to think it would have done well if Kurt had lived.  It is a strong live performance.  It also reveals a little window into where the band could have been going creatively in a future that never happened.

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