Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nirvana, "Scentless Apprentice"

In Utero turns 20 this week, and is getting a load of press and a schmancy, 4-disc reissue that would probably appall any band that once wanted to name an album Cash Cow.

It's being advertised as Nirvana's "difficult" album, which is fair, and probably why it's my favorite of theirs. But even its heaviest and most distorted, In Utero almost can't help but be hooky. Take "Scentless Apprentice," a sludge metal masterpiece that could have appeared on the Melvins album that Kurt Cobain co-produced in the same year.

It's an apt offering from a guy who wanted to be a rock star but hated himself for wanting it, the type of guy who'd wear a hand-scribbled "CORPORATE MAGAZINES STILL SUCK" t-shirt on the cover of the corporate magazine he agreed to talk to. It's got a raw, abrasive tone and one of the scariest screams that I've ever heard on record, but was meticulously reworked from Dave Grohl's initial riff into the final product--rehearsal demos and concert performances went on for over ten minutes and tried out several different stanzas. The working title was "Chuck Chuck Fo Fuck," because the progression that drives most of the song sounds like Shirley Ellis' "The Name Game."

Pretty clever, Kurt Kurt Bo Burt.


M said...

Oh Man, I loved In Utero back in the day, it has stood the test of time have Nirvana actually. I can see why it's termed their difficult album, there is an uneasiness in the very compilation of songs... hard to describe exactly what makes the tension appear but I loved it anyway. Each song is a journey.

Ben Apatoff said...

Thanks for reading--I totally agree with you about Nirvana and In Utero.