Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nirvana - Sliver: The Best of the Box

Nirvana - Sliver: The Best of the Box (3/5)

Well it's finally here, and there's not a single song on it that hasn't been released in one way or another somewhere else. Sure, there are three song versions that have never been available before, or at least to non bootleggers, but is that enough to make someone drop fifteen bucks? Here's what you hardcore fans are getting:

Come As You Are (boom box version). This is perhaps the single most unnecessary item on the entire CD. I didn't even like the boom box version of Smells Like Teen Spirit, why the hell would I want a shitty version of Come As You Are? Yes, yes, I get it, "Nirvana was once just another garage rock band just like yours." That's all fine and good, but give me songs that show why they kick the shit out of my band.

Spank Thru (1985 fecal matter demo). Cobain's stoner delivery is hilarious. Sure, it's just a novelty song compared to the other versions out on the internet, and the one on Wishkah, but it's still fun to hear an eighteen-year-old Cobain mess around. This is rumoured to be the first song Noveselic heard Cobain perform before he decided to start a band with him.

Sappy. This is the real gem on the album. This is even better than the No Alternative version. It sounds more stripped down, and the guitars have that jangly sound instead of pushing a wall of sound at the listener. I loved the original version, and even "borrowed" the No Alternative CD from a friend just because of that song (don't worry I gave it back). This version just has more atmoshperics, and you can really get into Cobain's vocals.

Every problem I have with the rest of the album I had with the box set, but this time it seems more prevalent because I already have the box set. Nirvana fans want new and hard to get songs, not different versions of old classics. We already have the classics, and do we really need two versions of Rape Me? The disc tries too hard to equally represent every Nirvana era by album. They should just fess up to the fact that the most interesting stuff comes from their Bleach days. After Bleach almost all of the great songs went onto their CDs. I won't go over what I would have put on the disc because it's not nearly as atrocious as the self titled disaster (but just in case you're interested I would have included: White Lace and Strange, Token Eastern Song, Even in His Youth, D-7, Verse Chorus Verse, and I Hate Myself and I Want to Die).

Just in case anyone's still reading after that shameless turn of events, I also have some good things to say about the album. They do manage to pick the best of the best (Ain't it a Shame, Clean Up Before She Comes, Do Re Mi, Opinion, Old Age, Floyd the Barber (live)). The alternate versions of classics are more interesting without an intimidating three hours of music to wade through. Of course, you could always solve that problem by putting these songs on a mixed tape of your own. You know, kind of like a...oh, I don't know, "best of the box." Francis Bean did a good job with the cover art. You can take this thing into the car without worrying about the CDs falling everywhere. They should probably have called it With the Lights Out: Travel Edition.

Unless you're like me (a completist sucker), then I don't know why you would buy this album. There are a few problems with the box set, and people like to knock it, but it's really a decent buy. Just go out and drop the sixty buck instead of picking up this scam.

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