Nirvana's In Utero is now 30 years old.
Released on September 21, 1993, In Utero had the difficult and unenviable task of following Nirvana's giant 1991 album, Nevermind, which had made worldwide stars out of Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, and brought the grunge and alternative rock movement of the '90s to the mainstream.
Coming off of Nevermind, Cobain was deemed the "voice of a generation" that spoke for the angsty and disaffected youth of the day. It's a role he seems to speak to on the opening In Utero track "Serve the Servants" with the line, "Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old."
Meanwhile, Cobain's increased fame put scrutiny on his personal life. His marriage to Hole's Courtney Love, with whom he had a daughter, Frances Bean, had become tabloid fodder, along with reports of the couple's drug use.
In Utero was produced by Steve Albini, with whom Cobain wanted to collaborate due to his work with bands including Pixies and The Breeders. The harsher sound of the record prompted mixed feelings from Nirvana's label, as well as among the band members themselves, who at one point considered rerecording the album. Eventually, frequent R.E.M. producer Scott Litt was brought in to remix future singles "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies."
Upon its release, In Utero was a critical and commercial success, even while Walmart and Kmart refused to sell it until the album artwork was changed. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified five-times Platinum by the RIAA.
Later in 1993, Nirvana recorded their legendary MTV Unplugged performance. Cobain died by suicide in April 1994, making In Utero Nirvana's final studio record.
A 30th anniversary reissue of In Utero will be released October 27.
If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
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