Incesticide was the third album that the Kurt Cobain
released, and it was set loose on the world in 1992. The album was not made up of new, original records - rather, it was a collection of covers
, rare B-sides
recordings and outtakes.
The front cover shows a strange skeletal painting by Kurt Cobain, and the back shows a distorted yellow rubber duck.
Nirvana were probably the band that introduced me to "modern" music (before I started listening to them, I was mostly into progressive rock). My tastes have moved on since the days when I listened to nothing but Nirvana, but this album still has a place in my heart. Whether you're a fan of the band or not, there's no denying that Cobain's voice has a certain... whiney quality to it, and the entire tone of the music is depressing. The lyrics are often not much cheerier, with songs like Turnaround scorning love of self and humanity.
These are the qualities that make the band so favourable to young males suffering from testosterone poisoning and unsure of their place in the world.
This album is fairly homogenous so far as style is concerned, all the way throughout it you find distorted guitars, Cobain's nasally singing and his screaming.
Track one, Dive (3:55) is "typical Nirvana". A distorted, pulsating guitar riff reverberates in the background for the entire track, as the repetitive lyrics, out of which it is hard to derive a meaning or direction, are sung. The song just "feels grungy", and that's why we like it!
The next track, Sliver (2:16) is about a spoilt, bratty kid who isn't happy no matter what people do for him. The song is sung in a mocking, sarcastic tone and the music follows the usual guitar/baseline pattern that makes it a joy to listen to.
Stain (2:37) is track three. There are only five lines to this song, and they are repeated again and again throughout. It's a song about someone that is consumed with self-loathing and believes themselves to be a "stain". As with Dive, the same basic riff is repeated again and again throughout, with a little "twiddly-bit" here and there. I never said this was music for the mind.
Been a Son (1:55) is a slightly more bouncy track than the ones that came before it, but the lyrics aren't much nicer: they're about a parent who seemingly despises their daughter, and spouts a long list of faults, culminating in the fact the daughter isn't a boy!
Turnaround (2:19) is a cover of a song originally by Devo, and is a song of self-loathing. It tells you to step outside of yourself, then your city, then your nation and finally the planet, each time turning around, looking back and considering what a mess it is.
Strangely for Nirvana, the next track, Molly's Lips (1:54), appears to be about love, and what's more gives a positive reflection on love! The musical style of the song is also bouncy and happy. The next track, Son of a Gun (2:48) follows a similar style and lyrical message.
(New wave) Polly (1:47) is an almost dance remix of the original slow, acoustic song Polly, which can be found on the album Nevermind. The song is about rape and abuse, and as such doesn't warrant any further analysis. Nice tune, though.
Beeswax (2:50) is a strange, distorted track with lyrics that are impossible to make out. If you actually get a copy of the lyrics, they're not much easier to understand in written down form either - the general theme seems to be circumcision, which is why I enjoyed this song a lot more when I couldn't understand the lyrics. The musical style is pulsating and enjoyable.
Downer (1:43) is probably the closest Nirvana have ever come to a political song. The song is fast and furious (try to sing along, I dare you). There is rage at God and forced patriotism in the song, but there seems to be nothing in the way of a coherent, overall message.
Mexican Seafood (1:55) is another song that just "sounds grungy", and which you can't help liking if you like the genre. The lyrics have little real meaning - you can't work out what he's saying anyway. If you actually read the lyrics, you'll see there about what sorts of things Mexicans supposedly put into their food - and they're none-too-pleasant. Like many of the songs on this album, it is to be appreciated for its general style rather than its message.
Hairspray Queen (4:13) is, to put it bluntly, screechy. Cobain sings in a high, irregular voice about a popular girl who he both despised and desired. This is another heavily grungy song, and the lyrics are almost sounds rather than articulated words.
The album ends on three strong points, the first of which is Aero Zeppelin (4:41). The song's style is slow and depressing at the start, but it shifts to a higher tempo with a hint of anger. The song decries love and consumerism, and lack of direction in culture.
Big Long Now (5:03) is without a doubt the most depressing song on the album, and also one of the best. It's slow, grinding and relentless, with Cobain singing softly in an unusually low voice over an ebbing background guitar riff. The slow tempo and depressing tone of the song mean you're totally unprepared for the finale -
Aneurysm (4:36) is a loud, tuneful guitar masterpiece with catchy lyrics. This is probably the strongest song on the album, and a fitting ending to a great album.