Los Angeles Times

Universal rolls out multi-format reissue of Nirvana's Nevermind

Does 20 years out from Nevermind really matter?

Spin seems to think so. Others will surely follow. But don't let them tell you what to think.

On September 27, if you've got money to spend, re-examine the album in one of two new formats:

1) the "Super Deluxe" edition of Nevermind, with:

- the original remastered album with studio and live b-sides

- pre-Nevermind demos recorded at Butch Vig's Smart Studios and boombox (!) recordings of rehearsals, including "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Come As You Are" and "On a Plain."

- the Devonshire mixes, i.e. the album as produced and mixed by Vig (the official release was mixed by Andy Wallace -- and who wants to hear THAT version anymore?).

- two unreleased BBC recordings and a 1991 show recorded at Seattle's Paramount Theatre on both CD and DVD

- a 90-page book.

Or, 2) just get the "Deluxe Edition," with:

- the remastered album, B-sides, Smart Studio sessions, boombox rehearsals and BBC sessions, etc.

- a 4-LP 180-gram heavyweight vinyl edition (?) featuring the same 40 tracks as the Deluxe Edition

- a remastered CD of the original album.

If you go the "Deluxe Edition" route, you don't get the Paramount footage (available separately on DVD or Blu-ray) or the book, which you'd just lose anyway. But you'll get an LP (to lose).

It's hard to say whether or not the songs hold up. Some do ("Come As You Are" do; others got skipped over even when the album was a big deal ("Territorial Pissings," which sounded great live). I thought In Utero was a better album, but its release wasn't an "event." Anyway, Spin and Universal are both making a big deal out of this, so the least we can do is buy their shiny new stuff.

While you're at it, go ahead and celebrate a few albums from 1981, now turning 30: Black Flag's Damaged; Iron Maiden's Killers; The Police's Ghost in the Machine; Brian Eno/David Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts; Ozzy's Blizzard of Oz; Elvis Costello and the Attractions' Trust; Rush's Moving Pictures; Phil Collins' Face Value; the J. Geils Band's Freeze Frame; Van Halen's Fair Warning; Billy Squier's Don't Say No; the Psychedelic Furs' Talk Talk Talk; and Bob Dylan's Shot of Love. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) None of these changed the music world in any significant way like Nevermind did, but who cares.

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