In Utero

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For the term used in biology, see in utero.

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In Utero is the final studio album from the band, Nirvana. Produced by Steve Albini, it was released on 21 September, 1993 (see 1993 in music), and was intended to secure Nirvana's indie credibility by featuring a harsher sound that did not pander to mainstream tastes. Albini actually refused to be listed as "producer" in the album sleeve (he is listed as "recordist" instead), and asked to be paid just $100,000 dollars for his work, turning down royalty payments which would certainly have been worth much more. Although In Utero did not sell as well as 1991's Nevermind, many believe it is the band's strongest album.

All guitar, drums and bass tracks were recorded in a two week period, and all of singer/ guitarist Kurt Cobain's vocals were recorded in one sixteen hour session. In 1992, the band had recorded a split single with The Jesus Lizard called Puss/Oh, the Guilt that foreshadowed the harder sound of In Utero tracks like "Scentless Apprentice." Obvious influences on the raw sound of In Utero can be found in Surfer Rosa-era Pixies, The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat album.

The alienated, bitter lyrics and atonal sounds make for a gloomy record, especially with the knowledge that it was the last album before Cobain's suicide. The album's opening line is particularly telling: "Teenaged angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old." Beat writer William Burroughs, who had collaborated with Cobain on an EP called The Priest They Called Him, declared Cobain to be "Dead already" after reading the lyrics.

Cobain, a talented visual artist, made the clay fetuses on the back cover himself, and even wrote a set of album liner notes which were not used at the time (but made public in 2002, with the publication of his journals). In the Incesticide notes, he had attacked the homophobic, racist and sexist faction of his fanbase, which he wanted to eliminate. The unused In Utero notes were less confrontational, dealing mostly with the songs themselves. For the "Pennyroyal Tea" entry, he wrote, "It doesn't work you hippie," referring to the abortifacient after which the song is named. For the "Serve The Servants" entry, the wrote about the fractured relationship he had with his father, a theme addressed very clearly in the song itself.

In Utero went to #1 on Billboard's Top 200.

The song "Heart-Shaped Box" was released as the album's first single (with "Milk It" and "Marigold" as the B-sides); the second release was a split single featuring the songs "All Apologies" and "Rape Me" (with "Moist Vagina as the B-side)." A third single, "Pennyroyal Tea," had been produced and was ready an April 1994 release, but was recalled after the discovery of Cobain's body that same month (perhaps because one of the B-sides was called "I Hate Myself And Want To Die"). Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, has stated that "Scentless Apprentice" was to be the album's fourth single. Though never released as a single, the song "Dumb" became a radio hit, and appears on the Nirvana best-of album.



In 1998 Q magazine readers voted In Utero the 63rd greatest album of all time; in 2001 the magazine named it as one of the 50 Heaviest Albums Of All Time.

Track listing

  1. "Serve The Servants" (Cobain) - 3:34
  2. "Scentless Apprentice" (Cobain/Grohl/Novoselic) - 3:47
  3. "Heart-Shaped Box" (Cobain) - 4:39
  4. "Rape Me" (Cobain) - 2:49
  5. "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle" (Cobain) - 4:07
  6. "Dumb" (Cobain) - 2:29
  7. "Very Ape" (Cobain) - 1:55
  8. "Milk It" (Cobain) - 3:52
  9. "Pennyroyal Tea" (Cobain) - 3:36
  10. "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" (Cobain) - 4:49
  11. "tourette's" (Cobain) - 1:33
  12. "All Apologies" (Cobain) - 3:50
  13. "Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip" (Cobain/Grohl/Novoselic) - 7:33 (This "devalued American dollar purchase incentive track" was only on U.K. copies of In Utero. It is a jam recorded at Ariola Ltda BMG in Rio de Janeiro on January 22, 1993. It does not get a separate track position on the record; it starts about 20 minutes after "All Apologies" finishes.)

Charting singles

Billboard Music Charts (North America)

1993 Heart-Shaped Box Official UK Singles Chart No. 5
1993 All Apologies/Rape Me Official UK singles Chart No. 32
1993 Heart-Shaped Box Mainstream Rock Tracks No. 4
1993 Heart-Shaped Box Modern Rock Tracks No. 1
1994 All Apologies Modern Rock Tracks No. 1
1994 All Apologies Mainstream Rock Tracks No. 4
1993 Heart-Shaped Box Official Sweeden Singles Chart No. 16
1993 Heart-Shaped Box Official Australian Singles Chart No. 17


  • Nirvana
  • Karen Mason - Photography
  • Steve Albini - Engineer
  • Adam Kasper - Assistant Engineer
  • Scott Litt - Mixing
  • Bob Ludwig - Mastering
  • Charles Peterson - Photography
  • Bob Weston - Technician
  • Kera Schaley - Cello
  • Michael Lavine - Photography
  • Robert Fisher - Art Direction, Design, Photography
  • Neil Wallace - Photography
  • Alex Grey - Illustrations

External link

Kurt Cobain | Dave Grohl | Krist Novoselic
Chad Channing | Dale Crover | Jason Everman | Pat Smear
Bleach | Blew | Nevermind | Hormoaning | Incesticide | In Utero
MTV Unplugged in New York | From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah | Nirvana | With the Lights Out
Popular Songs
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" | "About a Girl" | "All Apologies" | "Aneurysm" | "Come As You Are" | "Drain You" | "Dumb" | "Heart-Shaped Box" | "In Bloom" | "Lithium" | "Love Buzz" | "Milk It" | "On a Plain" | "Pennyroyal Tea" | "Polly" | "Rape Me" | "Sliver" | "Something In The Way" | "You Know You're Right"
Other Related Articles
Grunge music | Generation X | Courtney Love | Heavier Than Heaven | Kurt & Courtney | Tom Grant

pl:In Utero ru:In_Utero


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