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Nirvana tried to get back to their roots with In Utero. By then, Kurt Cobain was too far into the flame.

DVD Review: Nirvana – In Utero – Classic Album Under Review

This has been my first experience with the “Classic Albums” series and after seeing this one, it will not be my last. I was very impressed with the detail and information presented in this documentary about the life and times of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana and the process that lead to the creation of their final studio album – In Utero.

While much has been said about the short and tormented life of Kurt Cobain, this video has been the first to present to me the background and history that led to the music that Nirvana produced, and the history behind the sound. It also explores the accidental sudden rise to fame – the fame that they were not looking for. It describes the inability for Cobain to handle his success and his ultimate suicide.

The album provides, live and in-studio performances by Nirvana with rare interviews, facts and commentary. This is all interspersed with an independent review and criticism from a panel of experts. These include: original Nirvana drummer Chad Channing; Jack Endino, producer of Nirvana's Bleach and owner of the studios in which the band started early work on In Utero; Tracy Marander, former girlfriend of Kurt Cobain, about whom the classic About A Girl was written; Nirvana biographer Charles R. Cross, author of Heavier Than Heaven; Seattle record label boss and musician, Slim Moon; and ex-Melody Maker writer and grunge champion in the UK, David Stubbs, among others.

The DVD is 63 minutes. The quality of the picture is good. Many of the clips are from U.S. Television and originated in NTSC. There is also a really tough quiz on Nirvana knowledge and a bit on the group's MTV Unplugged performance.

All in all, I found this a fascinating documentary. From a historical prospective it was insightful. From a cultural point of view, I took away from it the feeling that Cobain and possibly Nirvana was like a moth being attracted to the light, just going about doing what they wanted to do. When they find themselves in a place that they were not ready to be in with the album “Nevermind”, they try to get back to their roots with In Utero. By then, for Kurt Cobain at least, he was too far into the flame.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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