Nirvana (Nirvana album)

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Nirvana album cover.svg
Greatest hits album by Nirvana
Released October 29, 2002
Recorded 1988–1994
Length 49:38
Label DGC
Nirvana chronology
From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah
With the Lights Out
Singles from Nirvana
  1. "You Know You're Right"
    Released: October 8, 2002

Nirvana is a "best-of" compilation album by the American rock band Nirvana, released in October, 2002. It is the third Nirvana album to be released following the death of vocalist and guitarist Kurt Cobain in April 1994, and the first to feature studio material. It is also the band's first best-of compilation. The album features the previously-unreleased song "You Know You're Right," recorded during the band's final studio session in 1994. It also includes a chronological selection from the band's studio releases, including a rare version of "Been a Son" and the Scott Litt remix of "Pennyroyal Tea," and 1994 live album, MTV Unplugged in New York

Nirvana opened at number three on the Billboard 200 with 234,000 copies sold. It has sold one million copies in the United States,[1] and has sold two million copies in Europe as of 2007.[2]


Nirvana was released following the settlement of a long-standing legal dispute between Kurt Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, and surviving Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. Much of the dispute centered around the song "You Know You're Right" which was recorded during the band's final studio session, in January 1994. Novoselic and Grohl had wanted to release it on a long-delayed Nirvana rarities box set. However, Love blocked the song's release, and sued Novoselic and Grohl over control of Nirvana's legacy. Love's lawsuit maintained that "You Know You're Right" was a "potential 'hit' of extraordinary artistic and commercial value."[3] She believed that "You Know You're Right" would be "wasted" on a box set, and instead belonged on a single-disc compilation similar to The Beatles' 1.[4] In September 2002, it was announced by the Nirvana camp that the lawsuit had been settled, and that "You Know You're Right" would be released on "Nirvana, a one-CD history of the band."[5]


The first song on the album's otherwise chronological track listing is "You Know You're Right," which was also released as a downloadable single. It is followed by "About a Girl," the only inclusion from Nirvana's 1989 debut album, Bleach. The album's producer, Jack Endino, originally saw the song as a potential single, and a live version, from Nirvana's 1993 MTV Unplugged performance, was released as a commercial single to promote the band's MTV Unplugged in New York album in 1994. "Been a Son" is a B-side from Nirvana's 1989 Blew EP, which itself was only a limited release in the United Kingdom, making this version of the song a rarity (a different version, recorded during a radio session in 1991, appears on the band's 1992 compilation, Incesticide). The fourth song on the compilation is "Sliver," which was released as a non-album single in 1990, the band's final release on Sub Pop (the same version appears on Incesticide).

The next four songs, "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Come as You Are", "Lithium" and "In Bloom," are the commercially released singles from the band's second album and major label debut, Nevermind, released in 1991. These are followed by "Heart-Shaped Box," "Pennyroyal Tea" and "Rape Me," three singles from the band's third and final studio album, In Utero, released in 1993. The version of "Pennyroyal Tea" included is the remix by Scott Litt, which was prepared for the song's single, but the single was recalled after Cobain's death in April, 1994. Prior to the release of Nirvana, this remix was only commercially available on the censored Wal-Mart and Kmart versions of In Utero, released in March 1994. The final studio track is the In Utero song "Dumb," which was never released as a single, but has become a popular song on alternative rock radio stations.[6]

The American version of the album closes with two songs from MTV Unplugged in New York, "All Apologies" and "The Man Who Sold the World," both of which were released as promotional singles from the album (the studio version of "All Apologies," which appears on In Utero, was released as that album's second single in 1993, as a double A-side with "Rape Me"). All non-US versions of the album end with "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," another song from MTV Unplugged in New York, from which it was also released as a promotional single. The Japanese version includes the Unplugged version of "Something in the Way," which was released as a B-side to the "About a Girl" single in 1994, as the second-to-last track.

The album contains liner notes by music journalist David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine.

2015 vinyl re-release[edit]

On June 23, 2015, Universal Music Enterprises announced that Nirvana was being re-released on 45 rpm double LP, pressed on 200-gram heavy weight vinyl and packaged in a furnace black gatefold sleeve with liner notes and a digital download card for 96 kHz 24-bit HD Audio; as well as a 33 rpm single LP 150-gram standard weight vinyl edition which will feature a download card for 320kbit/s MP4 audio.[7] It will also be released as a Blu-ray Pure Audio in high resolution 96 kHz 24-bit, available in three stereo audio formats: PCM, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD stereo.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[8]
Drowned in Sound 10/10[9]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[10]
Entertainment Weekly A[11]
NME 9/10[12]
Pitchfork 7.0/10[13]
Punknews 2/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[16]
Spin 10/10[17]

Several critics believed that Nirvana was too brief, and omitted key tracks. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote that "the presence of a few more tracks, along with placing "You Know You're Right" at the end where it belongs, would have made this collection not just stronger, but possibly definitive. As it stands, it feels like a bit of a cheap compromise and a wasted opportunity."[18] Will Bryant of Pitchfork called the album "an artful selection of the band's most seminal material," but also dismissed it as "a party mix for parents who want to appreciate Cobain's Lennon-esque knack for great melodies without having to click past "Scentless Apprentice" or "Territorial Pissings"...utterly inoffensive: an impulse buy from Columbia House, perhaps, with no more artistic value than The Eagles' Greatest Hits or the Beatles' 1."[13]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Kurt Cobain except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Album Length
1. "You Know You're Right"   Previously unreleased 3:38
2. "About a Girl"   Bleach (1989) 2:49
3. "Been a Son"   Blew (1989) 2:23
4. "Sliver"   Sliver (1990) 2:14
5. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Nevermind (1991) 5:01
6. "Come as You Are"   Nevermind 3:39
7. "Lithium"   Nevermind 4:17
8. "In Bloom"   Nevermind 4:15
9. "Heart-Shaped Box"   In Utero (1993) 4:41
10. "Pennyroyal Tea" (Scott Litt remix)   In Utero 3:38
11. "Rape Me"   In Utero 2:51
12. "Dumb"   In Utero 2:34
13. "All Apologies"   MTV Unplugged in New York (1994) 3:51
14. "The Man Who Sold the World" David Bowie MTV Unplugged in New York 3:47




Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ RIAA Database - Nirvana Archived 2015-10-17 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  2. ^ IFPI Platinum Europe Awards - 2007 Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  3. ^ Teri vanHorn (2001-06-29). "Love Blocks Nirvana Release - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News". Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  4. ^ "A piece of Kurt Cobain". Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  5. ^ Rasmus Holmen. "[NFC: The Internet Nirvana Fan Club]". Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  6. ^ Luerssen, John D. (2014). Nirvana FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Most Important Band of the 1990s. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 343. ISBN 978-1-61713-588-0. 
  8. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Nirvana: Nirvana". Allmusic. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  9. ^ White, Peter (27 October 2002). "Nirvana: Nirvana". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. 
  11. ^ Browne, David (8 November 2002). "Nirvana". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  12. ^ Segal, Victoria (12 September 2005). "Nirvana : Nirvana". NME. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Bryant, Will (2002-11-14). "Nirvana: Nirvana | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  14. ^ "Nirvana - Nirvana (Greatest Hits)". July 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Rolling Stone Music | Album Reviews". Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  16. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Nirvana". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 589. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  17. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (January 2003). "Nirvana: Nirvana (DGC/Interscope)". Spin: 95. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  18. ^ Thomas, Stephen (2002-10-29). "Nirvana - Nirvana". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  19. ^ " – Nirvana – Nirvana". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  20. ^ " – Nirvana – Nirvana" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  21. ^ " – Nirvana – Nirvana" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  22. ^ " – Nirvana – Nirvana" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
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  26. ^ "Nirvana: Nirvana" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  27. ^ (The user has to select "Nirvana" from the drop down list) "InfoDisc : Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
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  36. ^ "Nirvana Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  37. ^ Nirvana Billboard Vinyl Albums Chart retrieved May 8, 2016.
  38. ^ "Nirvana Chart History (Top Catalog Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  39. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 100 Albums 2002". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
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  41. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2015 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
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  43. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – 2007". Ultratop. Hung Medien. 
  44. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Nirvana – Nirvana" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  45. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 2007". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 
  46. ^ a b "Nirvana" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. 
  47. ^ "French album certifications – Nirvana – Nirvana" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  48. ^ "Italian album certifications – Nirvana – Nirvana" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
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  50. ^ "ZPAV :: Bestsellery i wyróżnienia - Wyróżnienia - Złote płyty CD". March 14, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018. 
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  52. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Nirvana; 'Nirvana')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  53. ^ "British album certifications – Nirvana – Nirvana". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Nirvana in the search field and then press Enter.

Works cited

External links[edit]

Preceded by
One by One by Foo Fighters
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
November 4–10, 2002
Succeeded by
The Best of 1990–2000 by U2