While I have a lot of “favorite albums”, there is one that I have fairly consistently considered my absolute favorite, and it’s Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York. Originally recorded as part of MTV’s Unplugged show. It was the first Nirvana album released after Kurt Cobain’s death. There are quite a few of these types of albums from MTV’s Unplugged show by different bands. From back when MTV actually played Music all the time.
I just love everything about this album. I love the goofy chatter between the songs. I love the fact that there are plenty of electric effects and an electric guitar in Nirvana’s “Unplugged Set”, because Nirvana doesn’t care apparently. I particularly love that it’s not just an acoustic greatest hits album. I think at least half the songs are covers and most are not their “top hits”. Come As You Are and All Apologies are probably the only real big hits on the album, though there are a couple of others. They aren’t even necessarily covering the big hits of other groups either.
While I really like every track, the covers may actually be my more favored tracks. The Man Who Sold the World, originally by David Bowie is excellent. Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam is great as well. There are three covers of Meat Puppets tracks, Plateau, Oh Me, and my favorite of these three, Lake of Fire. Members of the Meat Puppets also participated in this set.
The set ends with another non-Nirvana track Where Did You Sleep Last Night which is a folk song done by a variety of artists over a period and also goes by several other names. The whole, “angsty 90s Cobain” really shines through on this track and I really like it as well.
The set opens with About a Girl, which as Cobain comments, “this was off our first record, most people don’t own it,” which is certainly accurate as Nirvana wasn’t really popular until Nevermind and then later In Utero. It’s a nice and interesting throwback to the band’s origins. The last track I wanted to throw out as one of my favorites from this album comes from In Utero, Pennyroyal Tea, despite its kind of random and rambly nature, really fits this format well.
I think one thing I really like about this album is just how much it’s Nirvana’s messy and gunge style, cleaned up in a slick format, which still keeps the messy and grunge feel. I don’t really know how else to describe it. That isn’t to say Nirvana isn’t a great band, but I really feel like this album lets them really show a great other side to the band and everyone seems to be generally having a good time making this music as well.