From the archive
We crave surprise: could there possibly be any left in Nevermind? A little, as it turned out. When I played it — finally! — what jumped out was Krist Novoselic’s bass sound and its constant malignant gravity, sucking songs down even as it keeps them brisk. It sounds, as it happens, very much like how I thought “swamp rock” might. I knew to expect a blend of ugliness and pop crispness, but I had to hear Nevermind to realise how little the two resolve, making the album sound alienated even from itself. I had some prejudices confirmed, too — the zombie lurch of Cobain’s singing is comfortably the weirdest thing about the record, and it seems a gloriously uncanny twist of rock history that it became so imitated. But I still can’t actually stand hearing it.