Nirvana

With the Lights Out
(Geffen)

Nirvana's With the Lights Out is a box of rarities.
Nirvana's With the Lights Out is a box of rarities.
For all the cynical talk of grave robbing and misplaced mythology, this much-ballyhooed, litigation-delayed three-CD/one-DVD Nirvana boxed set delivers an intriguing, entertaining, and periodically spine-tingling depiction of the trio's seven-year journey -- warts and all -- with none of the voyeuristic guilt associated with reading 2002's disgraceful journals. Opening with a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" (from Nirvana's first-ever show in 1987) and closing with Kurt Cobain's heavy-hearted solo acoustic versions of "You Know You're Right" and "All Apologies," the 61 career-spanning audio tracks are mostly unreleased, frequently sandpaper-rough demos, live recordings, studio outtakes, alternate versions, and radio gigs, along with a handful of previously heard rarities (such as the Dave Grohl-sung "Marigold"). Among the 20-track DVD's high points: a nine-song, 1988 rehearsal videotaped at Krist Novoselic's mom's house -- a remarkably candid and powerful performance that captures Nirvana in all its nascent glory, well before the tidal wave of fame took its ultimate toll.
 
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