Saturday, May 7, 2011

311. Unplugged in New York -Two Giants collide.

Album: Unplugged in New York
Artist: Nirvana
Genre: Rock
Year: 1993


  1. About a Girl
  2. Come as You Are
  3. Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam
  4. The Man Who Sold the World
  5. Pennyroyal Tea
  6. Dumb
  7. Polly
  8. On a Plain
  9. Something in the Way
  10. Plateau
  11. Oh Me
  12. Lake of Fire
  13. All Apologies
  14. Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

In 1993 Nirvana were one of the biggest bands on the planet, they were riding high on the success of hit singles and albums and had gone from playing tiny clubs where Kurt Cobain felt comfortable to huge arenas where he didn't.

In the same year MTV unplugged had also hit its peak. While it started with humble beginnings (the first show featured Squeeze, Syd Straw and Elliot Easton, it’s hard to get much more humble than that) by 1993 it had seen megastars like Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton not only perform but release albums of the recordings to massive sales and Grammy awards.

It was inevitable that the producers of Unplugged wanted the biggest band in the land on their show and equally inevitable that Cobain wouldn’t want to do it. Unplugged was a television show first and foremost with a decorated set and cameras. The live audience wasn’t the reason for the show they were a prop designed to provide extra atmosphere. A television studio run by producers was a long way from the vision Cobain wanted for his band. The fact that Nirvana ended up appearing without sacrificing any of their credibility and the resulting album would be a huge seller is a triumph of compromise.

The secret is in the setlist that Nirvana put together. The tradition in unplugged shows was for artists to do acoustic versions of their biggest hits while sneaking in a few tracks off their latest album. Cobain decided to perform Come As You Are and then provide the audience with a selection of obscure originals and even more obscure covers. Kurt even insisted on being joined by two members of The Meat Puppets, one of his favourite bands, for versions of three of their songs. He even closed the show with a traditional tune whose origins are so lost in the sands of time that nobody can even agree on what it’s called. The album calls it Where did you sleep last Night but folkies have been calling it In the Pines for years. Either way it was hardly the Smells Like Teen Spirit closer that everyone was expecting.

Not long after the recording Cobain was dead and the decision to release Unplugged was a no-brainer (just like Cobain’s corpse.... oooh I didn’t just type that). It sold by the bucketloads and proved to the radio buying public that Nirvana had talent. Stripped of the distortion and volume they could produce compelling music that was worthy of attention.

Highlight: All Apologies
Lowlight: Polly

Influenced by: The Pixies
Influenced: Anyone who calls themselves grunge

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I only heard 1 song off the album, the song where Curt keeps screaming, "LOGGER TRUCK!!! LOGGER TRUCK!!" over & over, i dont get the lyrics
But what i do get is how in retrospect the isolation caused the mass evolution of intersection change in vertibre


get some better lyrics Cabin, someone needs to tell this Cabin fellow to get his head together"

-Another example of internet trolling but quite a good one. Calling Kurt Cobain "this Cabin fellow" is a genius touch.

So do you prefer Nirvana plugged, unplugged or not at all? Let me know below.


  1. I love the trolling too but i can't figure which song he's referring to..what's logger truck?

  2. Honestly I have no idea what Logger Truck is referring to. I think it's his interpretation of what Cobain is singing at one point but I'm honestly not sure what lyric he's talking about.