With The Lights Out review by Nirvana

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  • Released: Nov 23, 2004
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.2 (109 votes)
Nirvana: With The Lights Out

Sound — 10
The sound quality gets progressively better as the album continues, but pretty much reaches a good enough level of listenability after about 1987, which is about 4 songs in. The incomplete nature of the songs would not appeal to those who prefer Nirvana's more polished later works, perhaps, but Kurt's solo efforts are particularly fascinating. There are brilliant moments of inspiration on here, like the short solo acoustic track Beans. Most of my favourite songs so far are on the first disc, If You Must and Blandest being particularly outstanding.

Lyrics — 10
Kurt's lyrics, voice and singing are analysed more than almost any other artist has ever been subjected to. I like that this set doesn't make a huge deal of his more famous quotes (despite one of them being part of the title of the thing), instead they let his inventiveness and imagination come across very simply, yet in many different ways. Some are funny, ironic, unsettling, all sorts of things. This box set gives as much of an impression of his true nature as you could wish for.

Overall Impression — 10
Other than having just a couple too many cover versions on here, especially the three Huddie Ledbetters in a row, and unnecessarily putting both versions of Rape Me right next to each other, the structure of the thing is amazing. I still haven't really taken in much of the third disc yet since I got it on Christmas day, and I've listened to it every day practically. There is just such a wealth of interest and musical brilliance on display here. Disc one is the most invaluable in terms of content, Kurt appears at his most unaltered and human before his rise to excessive fame (though not unmerited by his talents). The order of songs may seem a little slapdash but this is an exceptional effort.

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