Sound — 9
All I can say is wow. This album is the best, easily, of all the Nirvana's albums. Not to say the other songs/albums are bad or over-hyped, but this album seems to have given us the raw, powered soul and sound of a long dead band. Die hard fans are gonna flood here, saying how great this album is and claim to be "true fans" but really opinion is opinion. Some people think that they sold out with Nevermind, but no matter, because this album gives a chill down your spine once you hear that guitar beefing up and then the drums pound away as Kurt growls and screams. This is supposed to be one of the founding stones of grunge, along with Pearl Jam's Ten and Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger. Strange this is, Bleach sounds nothing like any of these, or anything that was out at the time. Jack Endino really produces this band well, letting their real, untamed selves blast through in this album. Easily the best songs are Blew, for the sheer power it brings, Paper Cuts, for the splitting guitar part, Scoff, offering a nice mid piece, and Downer, a nearly perfect closer.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are strange and not nearly thought out. Some tell a story, some tell Kurt's feelings, some just to take space it seems. About a Girl, Floyd the Barber and School seem to me the best lyrics of the album. The others I could take or leave on the words, but how they meld with the music is essential, as Kurt proves by heavily relying on his soft vocals transitioning into a powerful yelling chorus. About a Girl, a song about Kurt's at-the-time-girlfriend, was written because of her pestering. Floyd the Barber, a song hybrid of Andy Griffith and Sweeny Todd, gives the listener an eerie sense of a near perfect town. School, a song about school, is very bare but little is more here and it does seem confusing but sort of gives a nostalgia feeling from the words.
Overall Impression — 8
Bleach, best viewed as a stand alone album and not compared to Nevermind or In Utero, lets you hear the band's pure, raw, untainted selves before the fame got to them and warped their minds. Kurt improves his songwriting and singing in later albums, but if you don't understand how a band sounds in the beginning, you can't hear the improvements. Also, if you want to imitate this sort of sound, you'll need to hear the origin. The best thing here is obviously the band as a whole sound, the worst, possibly Kurt Cobain's lack of decent lyric, but talk is cheap, right? Although it took me a while to find, I would totally buy this 50 times over if I lost it.