Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Breeding Thick Basslines

Something about today inspired me to dust off Nevermind for the first time in...well, a long time. Nevermind is one of those classic albums that's aged just fine, but I listened to it so many times in my teenage years, particularly when my music collection consisted of five or six albums, that it's really, really hard to hear it again without my ear tuning to the same aural paths that I've heard for ever and ever. I don't want to get bored of Nevermind, so I don't listen to it very often.

However, today's been different. Halfway through "In Bloom," I started thinking about this album as it sounded when it came out - a recording that was experimenting with some new things and incorporating a lot of old things - rather than the milestone it eventually became after its release. The idea was revelatory enough to me that for the first time in a long time I started really hearing new things in every song: the vocal harmonies on "In Bloom," how the guitar in the chorus of "Come as You Are" sounds a bit like a voice, how much of this album is a pop album dressed up in really angry clothes. I also really heard the sound of the bass on "Breed" for the first time and man, it's awesome: so thick and compressed that it sounds almost like an analog synth, carrying that cool growl of the opening guitar riff in through the rest of the song.

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