This year marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's final studio album "In Utero." Just like with the 2011 reissue of "Nevermind," this album gets the same treatment with various formats ranging from cheap and reasonable to it's expensive but I want it. While each edition has something extra for the fans it's the super deluxe edition that gives you the most and makes it worth your money. With four discs, a beautiful full color book, a two sided poster, and a wicked display box it's definitely the best reissue of the year and somehow it outdoes the "Nevermind" box set.
The first disc is where you'll find the remastered album, which also features the b-sides and unreleased tracks from this era. “Gallons of Alcohol Flowing Through the Strip” was a hidden track on the international release of the record and while “Endless, Nameless” is the more memorable hidden song, this one isn't bad, it's just weird. It has a hypnotizing guitar riff as if it's trying to put you in a trance. The whole thing from the music even to the vocals sounds disjointed and untuned, but not in a bad way. The rest of the songs on this disc are new remixes of b-sides “Sappy” and “Moist Vagina” along with Dave Grohl's “Marigold.” The two stand out tracks here are the long talked about Steve Albini mixes of “Heart Shaped Box” and “All Apologies.” The differences in the tracks are subtle, but interesting to hear nonetheless. It may not be much, but it's great to listen to these versions after hearing about them for so many years.
Unfortunately, the second disc of the set isn't as strong as the first. Most of it is a 2013 mix of the album and unless you're a hardcore audiophile, you won't notice the difference between the two. You're listening to the same album, but with little details added in like more background vocals or guitar feedback shirking through. There are even some elements that are taken out of songs. On “Dumb” the strings that play during the chorus are missing until the end and the ending on “Heart Shaped Box” is clean , missing the dwindling feedback. It's not a major issue, but when people have been listening to these songs for 20 years, they get used to every little sound in the songs. But the demos of "Scentless Apprentice," "All Apologies," and the unearthed track "Forgotten Jam" make up for the unnecessary 2013 mix of the album.
The third and fourth disc is the audio and live show of the infamous Live and Loud concert. Just as with "Unplugged," this is one of Nirvana's most notable shows mainly because they do a number of tracks from their third album. It's not their greatest live album or DVD you could get, but it's certainly up there. You can hear and feel all their energy and anguish in every track. This release is also interesting because it showcases Nirvana as a four piece. Unless you have really good hearing, you can't really tell there are four people on playing instead of three. If anything it just expands their sound a bit. Some of the more notable tracks here are “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,” an overlooked song from the record, an electric version of “Man Who Sold the World,” which is almost as good as the acoustic, and the classic “Endless, Nameless.” It's a great way to tie together the this era of Nirvana's career.
The 20th anniversary edition of "In Utero" is out now. It's available in a single disc, 2 disc, 3 LP, and 4 disc format. The Nirvana concert Live and Loud is also available as a stand alone DVD. To get your copy of the album visit the official Nirvana website.