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  • Writer's pictureViolet Easter

Album Review: In Utero by Nirvana

In Utero was Nirvana’s third and final album that was released before Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994. The album was released on September 13th in 1993 in the US. It was one of the last albums that Kurt had full control over. On the Nevermind album, Kurt wasn’t given much control, which he hated. Kurt never liked the mainstream sound and was more into the distorted and angsty sound, which is exactly what Kurt did on In Utero and now let’s dive into the tracks.

We begin with the song Serve The Servants, it’s noted that it is one of Kurt’s most “autobiographical” songs. It has a lot of tributes to Kurt’s dad, Courtney Love and to his own fame in the lyrics. This is also one of my favorite tracks off this album and is also in my own opinion one of their best songs.

The second track of In Utero is Scentless Apprentice, this is the first and last time all the members specifically (Krist, Dave and Kurt) all collabed on one song together. The song is about a man born with an amazing sense of smell but no BO of his own and becomes a murderer, it's been alleged that Kurt didn’t like the track but Dave thought it was really good so he went along with it thus the birth of the track.

The third track of In Utero is Heart-Shaped Box. This song is one of the most popular and familiar track off this album. Originally named “Heart-Shaped Coffin” but changed to “Heart-Shaped Box” after a box Courtney gave Kurt. The song has a bit of a dark undertone to it because it’s allegedly supposed to be about Courtney and Kurt’s relationship as well.

The fourth track of In Utero is Rape Me. Nirvana has said in multiple interviews that the song is in fact an anti-rape anthem. It also ironically uses the same chords as Smells Like Teen Spirit only its inverted.

The fifth track of In Utero is Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle, is based off a real life film star from the 1930s named Frances Farmer who was rebellious and was eventually caught drunk driving and attempted to flee out of the states. She then tried to enter herself into therapy and was treated with at the time the “best treatment” which was electric shock therapy, Kurt had seen similarities between him and Frances due to the way the media had portrayed him to the public.

The sixth track of In Utero is Dumb, Dumb is about people who are easily amused Kurt said. In his own words, “People who are not only capable of progressing their intelligence but are totally capable and happy with watching 10 hours of television and really enjoy it”. He also said that he attempted to make this song to be a pop song so that he no longer had to pretend to be a “punk rocker again”.

The seventh track of In Utero is Very Ape, Very Ape is a song about masculinity and was originally supposed to be named “Perky or Punky New Wave Number”.

The eighth track of In Utero is Milk It, The song Milk It off the album is allegedly supposed to be a tribute to the song It’s Shoved by the Melvins, which was one of Kurt’s favorite bands.

The ninth track of In Utero is Pennyroyal Tea, Kurt had suffered from stomach ulcers for years until his death and he tried the tea in hopes it would ease or get rid of the pain from his condition but it tragically did not.

The tenth track of In Utero is Radio Friendly Unit Shifter, the song was originally named Four Month Media Blackout, he claims that he just put a bunch of lyrics together.

The eleventh track of In Utero is Tourette’s, Tourette’s is the shortest song on the album and is about Kurt’s fear of “turning into an old guy with Tourette’s syndrome”.

The last track on In Utero is All Apologies, Kurt was originally going to make this song a folk song and call it “La La”. He dedicated this song to Courtney Love and Frances Bean, his wife and daughter. He was asked to describe in words and he described the song using the words “Peaceful, happy and comfort”.

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