In Utero is the third and final studio album by American rock band Nirvana, released on September 21, 1993, by DGC Records. Nirvana intended for the record to diverge significantly from the polished, refined production of its previous album, Nevermind (1991). To capture a more abrasive and natural sound, the group hired engineer Steve Albini to record In Utero during a two-week period in February 1993 at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The music was quickly recorded within that time with few studio embellishments. The song lyrics and album packaging largely incorporated medical imagery that conveyed frontman Kurt Cobain's outlook on his publicized personal life and his band's newfound fame.
Soon after recording was completed, rumors circulated in the press that DGC might not release the album in its original state, as the record label felt that the result was not commercially viable. Although Nirvana publicly denied the statements, the band opted to remix parts of the album. Albini declined to alter the album further, and ultimately the band hired R.E.M. producer Scott Litt to make minor changes to the album's sound and remix the singles "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies".
Upon release, In Utero entered the Billboard 200 chart at number one and received critical acclaim as a drastic departure from Nevermind. The record has been certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and has sold 15 million copies worldwide.
All Apologies / Rape Me / MV
2013-09-13: Deervana: Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY, USA by Deer Tick
In Utero, In Tribute, In Entirety by Various Artists
Milkin' It by Various Artists
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2012 edition (number: 435)
In Utero was released September 1993, the follow-up to the phenomenally successful Nevermind from 1991. This was Nirvana getting back to their rawer roots. It was as if once Cobain had achieved the success he would never publicly admit he craved, Nirvana could shed all pretence and be themselves once again.
They dispensed with Butch Vig's smooth, chart-topping touch, in exchange for indie-veteran Steve Albini's workman-like punk and indie anti-hero kudos.
It seems odd that a record something so unexpectedly successful could spawn something that so apparently attempts to be the opposite, but such was the staggering level of expectation post-Nevermind that Nirvana brilliantly seek to upset and confound absolutely everyone.
This is Kurt letting us under his drug addled, membrane-thin skin, into the recesses of his fragile mind, to play air-drums and head-bang with his demons, of which there are many.
It's a diary of the damage wrought by having an extraordinary dream come true but not coping well with the consequences. Cobain is tapping the listener into the competing urges behind the obsessive, manically-depressive, contradictory, bleak, vulnerable and lonely voices in his head.
In Utero noisily hops between feedback-drenched, searing barrages of emotion to complex and catchy, credible and clever pop-punk dissertations; underneath the sharper edges Nirvana's talent for melody and memorable songwriting are still alive and kicking.
Albini's production revels in the fact that the instruments aren't so much being played as being kicked around while having their necks wrung, he also captures a more charming, human aspect to Cobain's vocals and the painful persistence and desperation of his trademark screams.
It's powerful, personal, psychological, physiological, scatological, paranoid, frenzied and exhausting, beautifully frank and funny and poetic and infectious and disarming and saddening and upsetting and willfully uncomfortable. And great.