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LP (12" album, 33 rpm), Remastered
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In Utero - 20th Anniversary Remaster
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Audio, Cassette, Explicit Lyrics, September 21, 1993
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Nirvana In Utero on Limited-Edition Yellow-Colored 180g LP from ORG Collector's Pressing Bests Any Other Version You've Ever Heard Remastered 180-Gram Pressing Cut from Original Master Tapes by Bernie Grundman and Pressed on Yellow Virgin VinylLimited to 4000 Copies Worldwide! Do Not Wait on This! Named 2009 Recording of the Year by TONE AudioSteve Albini-produced set Ranks as Nirvana's Best Album A reactionary statement to the phenomenal commercial success of Nevermind, In Utero remains Nirvana's most noisy, caustic, uncompromised, and aggressive album. It's also the band's best, a brilliant combination of contagious hooks, feedback-drenched squalls, bruised beauty, and biting lyrical wit intended to blindside causal listeners with raw emotion, difficult listening, and painful honesty. Rife with medical imagery and references to disease, sickness, decay, and dismay, In Utero is the distraught sound of personal catharsis and unyielding trauma. More revealingly, the record doubles as a haunting foreshadowing of singer Kurt Cobain's suicide that took place just months after its release. Unhappy with the high-gloss production and pop-based arrangements on Nevermind, Nirvana set out to make a harsher album that would literally alienate millions. While the trio succeeded in its goal of getting intimate with blistering dissonance and acerbic tones, In Utero resonated with the public, debuting at #1 on the Billboard charts and ultimately selling more than four million copies. Echoing John Lennon, Cobain's piercing songwriting spoke to the disaffected masses that shared his anguish and set new standards for ironic depth that still stand. For every unsettling screed (''Serve the Servants,'' ''Milk It,'' ''Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,'' ''Tourettes'') there are introspective moments of folk-inspired elegance (''All Apologies,'' ''Pennyroyal Tea,'' ''Dumb'') that hint at the direction in which Nirvana was headed. In Utero is equally legendary for the controvers
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I directly A/B'ed the Blu Ray and CD, both playing at the same time with the same song, switching back and forth, and my conclusion is that the difference between formats on this remaster is incredibly subtle. I've been a fan of high rez digital formats for a few years now- SACD, DVD-A, downloads from HD tracks, and now this format. I don't mean this as a diss on the record or the remastering job, just that the CD sounds really almost as good and I had to listen hard (with headphones) to really make out the difference in detail- you can just barely hear it in the drums, more body and depth in the snare. What you're hearing with this is the difference between a file at this resolution versus the dithered CD. Unfortunately the mix and master of this record is a bit too slamming to really show off the revealing details of the higher rez format unless you really listen for it.
Another reason I'd give it two stars, though, is because it doesn't contain the 2013 Albini mix that was a truly awesome listen on the CD. It's a much more dynamic, stripped down mix, and I'd love to hear it here. There's no reason why it couldn't have been included alongside the original album on the same disc.
I already own various versions of In Utero so I got this to have a complete collection. What is unique about this particular version is there is a remixed version of the album. I don't know if that was the version that was discarded when the album was recorded (if you don't know the history, record executives at Geffen/DGC didn't like the album and wanted Nirvana to re-record it) or if it was done after the fact.
While interesting, it's still a bit strange hearing alternate versions of the songs I've already been listening to for 20 years. If you are a huge Nirvana fan this is must-have to complete your collection, otherwise I'd recommend sticking with the regular version of the album.
There's a click in the right channel just before the 1st verse on Heart Shaped Box that really bugs me. It sounds clearly like a digital artifact and not part of the performance. Out of the 3 versions of heart shaped box on these discs I think it's on 2. The original release of course does not have the click.
Really a great album, remastered and reimagined. Thank you, Steve Albini, for not ruining this great album, unlike the remaster of Nevermind.