For its 20-year anniversary, Nirvana’s Nevermind has received a reissue in a number of configurations. The original album has been remastered and is available as a single disc, a two-CD Deluxe Edition, and a four-CD/one-DVD Super Deluxe edition. Revisiting the album for the first time in a number of years, I was reminded just how worthy this album is of such treatment. Much has been said about the cultural impact of the album when it first re-energized the rock scene in the early ‘90s. The suicide of Kurt Cobain added a whole other layer of resonance to everything released by Nirvana. But even setting all that aside, Nevermind works perfectly well when simply viewed as a classic collection of a dozen hook-filled rock songs.
And maybe that’s the best way to approach any classic album. Strip it of all its historical significance and just appreciate it for a well-crafted bunch of songs. There’s very little left to say about Nevermind, at least not for anyone who cared about it when it first came out. These songs have already long been ingrained in their psyche. Nirvana has continued to attract new young fans over the years, and for them this reissue may be even more exciting. Many of today’s teenage music fans were born after the band was no more. Whether they romanticize Cobain's life (and death) or just view the music for what it is, this is a new context in which to listen to the album.
The two-disc deluxe edition is obviously the most economical way to get a little extra Nevermind. The twelve original album tracks are contained on disc one. It might have arguably made sense to make “Endless, Nameless,” not present on all initial copies of the original ’91 release, its own track. Instead it is once again presented as an unlisted coda to “Something in the Way,” minus the ten minutes of silence that preceded it on original CDs. The first disc is filled out with nine additional tracks, all B-sides from the album’s singles. This includes three – “Been a Son,” “School,” and “Drain You” – that come from the October 31st, 1991 Paramount concert that is presented in its entirety on the fourth disc of the Super Deluxe edition.