Marking the 20th Anniversary of Nirvana’s debut album, Sub Pop records have just re-issued Nirvana’s Bleach. The expanded CD/double-LP will includes a never-before-released live performance, special packaging and the first run of the double-LP will be on 180g white vinyl (the first run of the original LP was also on white vinyl).
Originally recorded over three sessions with producer Jack Endino at Seattle’s Reciprocal Recording Studios in December 1988 and January 1989, Bleach was released in June of ‘89 and remains alot of Nirvana fans favorite LP. The album initially sold 40,000 copies, but was brought into the international spotlight following the release and worldwide success of their 1991 sophomore effort, Nevermind. Subsequently Bleach went on to sell 1.7 million copies in the US alone. This 20th Anniversary Edition has been re-mastered from the original tapes at Sterling Sound in a session overseen by original producer Jack Endino.
Bleach was recorded before Dave Grohl joined Nirvana and is a much more raw album than later efforts by the band. Kurt Cobain was quoted in Spin Magazine as saying that with Bleach “I didn’t give a flying fuck what the lyrics were about” and claimed that eighty percent of the lyrics were written the night before recording. Cobain often still working on them on the drive to the recording studio. He explained, “It was like I’m pissed off. Don’t know what about. Let’s just scream negative lyrics, and as long as they’re not sexist and don’t get too embarrassing it’ll be okay. I don’t hold any of those lyrics dear to me”. This is reflected in later comments about feeling pressured to write a ‘grunge’ record by the label and feeling the need repress his more arty/pop side.
I think Bleach is a great record and is the one album that has stuck with me from Nirvanas discography, its a very honest record that doesn’t pull punches. Whereas Kurt may have felt somewhat repressed and therefor indifferent about the records content and viewed that as a negative thing, I think completely the opposite. Without the emotion involved, the label problems, issues they were having at the time with then drummer Chad Channing and not to mention the issues of lack of finance for the recordings. The record might have turned into a very juvenile effort with the band holding back writing what they wanted to write about for arts sake.
Check out the Bleach Re Issue here