Bleach – Nirvana ★★★

1989BleachNirvana★★★55RockAlternative RockGrunge

Not exactly the best representation of what Nirvana will become in the years that follow, but Bleach is an album that built the groundwork for an entire decade of music. 

Wailing, screeching guitars over a havey, distorted grunge fuzz. A thumping, muddy bass that works as a driving heartbeat with crisp drumming. Vocals that combine raw screaming, haunting harmonic moans and mumbled, stumbling lyrics for dramatic effect. 

You can still hear Kurt Cobain’s iconic voice through the more merkey sounds from time to time, but the album sound more like a lot of other bands that would get big in the years that follow – Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Queens of The Stone Age, even acts like Korn. 

Overall, Bleach is a good collection of songs that end up sounding a little too raw or scattered compared to the vast catalog of great grudge music that came after it as bands got more refined. But there aren’t any bad tracks, and two tracks really stand out above the rest. 

“About A Girl” is that classic Nirvana sound, with softer guitar strumming building up with Cobain singing with a clearer voice. And “Love Buzz” has a dark, groovy riff that’s catchy and creates a garage-rock vibe that’s a bit more upbeat than everything else on the album.

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