The official report says Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994. It's an estimate — Cobain's body wasn't found until April 8 and questions and conspiracy theories still linger about the circumstances of his death. But today feels as fitting as any day to look back on In Utero, Nirvana's last studio album.
There's nothing I can say about this album that hasn't already been said. It's the corroded, tortured masterpiece everyone says it is, and even if it wasn't, I doubt people would say anything else. The tragedy of Cobain's death sealed the posthumous fate of this album.
I was eight years old the day Cobain died. I knew nothing about him, or Nirvana, at the time. If I happened to have overheard anything about his death 20 years ago, it's long forgotten.
People my age have a strange blessing when it comes to Nirvana — we're young enough to have been insulated from Cobain's death when it happened, but old enough to feasibly (if not entirely truthfully) claim we've been listening to Nirvana "all our lives." And regardless, people my age, jerks that we are, have a hideously overdeveloped sense of 90s nostalgia. Any late-twenty-something who fancies himself a music snob will clamour to tell you he loves Nirvana.
So it would be frivolous of me to try to say anything new about In Utero, or Nirvana, or Kurt Cobain. Plenty of ink has been spilled on these topics already — some of it good, some of it very, very bad. This will only continue as the album gets older and its fans both age and multiply.
So tonight, let's not add to any of that ever-amassing clutter. Tonight, let's just sit back and listen to the music.