In honour of the 25 year anniversary of Nirvanas debut album, Bleach, my first blog post is about how this album rocked its way into the music world of grunge and rock n roll!
The album was released on June 15th 1989 by the indie record label, Sub Pop, who had one of the best future rock stars in waiting right in their hands when other record labels had turned them down. The band at the time consisted of Kurt Cobain, bassist Kris Novoselic and drummer Chad Channing who together stamped themselves on the ever growing music scene with their head banging tunes and foot stomping beats. This album was thankfully produced due to Jason Everman who gave the band $606.17 to be able to pay for the recording sessions which in turn earned him credit on the album Bleach.
The first track, Blew, consists of Cobain’s slurred and dry vocals mixed with Channing’s angry drum beats which helps you to imagine the listeners of that time ears to prick up and make them immediately question why the fuck they were listening to bands like Aerosmith! This is emphasised by NME who said, “If you find yourself nodding off to Guns N Roses occasional acoustic noodling’s then wake up to Nirvana”. Bleach helped to pave the way for listeners to change their views and smell the real music which in the future would take over the world by storm.
My favourite track on the album has defiantly got to be Love Buzz due to the fact I cannot help but tap my foot along to the catchy drumbeat. Channing stands his corner on this track by his rhythmic drum beats which is almost taken over by the powerful electric guitar. Cobain’s mysterious and slow vocals do make me fall slightly in love with him over any other track! Love Buzz is actually a cover by Dutch rock band, Shocking Blue, which was Nirvanas debut single in 1988. Originally, Cobain was not happy that his first record was going to be a 7inch and only have one of his songs on it, Big Cheese, but I believe that his cover of Love Buzz has more of a grunge and rock approach to it which he has defiantly made his own on the album.
Bleach is full of tracks which showcases Cobain’s dark and sinister but clever lyrics, for example, in School when he says “no recess” and “it’s just my luck” which makes people start to wonder who is the man behind the hoarse throat vocals and angry lyrics. His almost violent screams and groans in `Paper Cuts` and `Floyd the barber` adds a tenser atmosphere for the listener but I find myself being there with the band through every breath. We see a different side to Cobain in `About a girl` which is more of dance worthy track due to its great bluesy solo and pretty much the only non-psychotic song on the album. Listen up lads this is a great song to sing to your girlfriend if she is in a mood and is a fan of Nirvana! Personally, the worst track on the album has got to be Mr.Moustache as I find it to be more of a metal mayhem than rock royalty.
This album had a mixed reaction because nothing like this had ever been heard before, maybe people were so used to bands like Guns N Roses and Black Sabbath? However, Bleach did fairly well and better than Sub Pop had expected as the record went Platinum which was Sub Pops biggest seller at the time. Bleach had obviously put Nirvana on the music industry’s wave length and helped them to become one of the biggest rock bands of all time!