Newermind Track by Track

Been (mostly) digging Spin’s cleverly titled Newermind cover album in honor of the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind.  Song by song thoughts:

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” covered by the Meat Puppets
Great choice of band to kick things off, great cover that’s both true to the original while performed in an Unplugged-ish Meat Puppets style.

“In Bloom” covered by Butch Walker & the Black Widows
Groovy take that accentuates the bass line and funks up the guitar.  Really like the vocals here too.  A fun cover.

“Come As You Are” covered by Midnight Juggernauts
Gothy and ambient with a weird child-like vocal, I didn’t really like this one at first but it’s grown on me a little.  Best part is the extended repetition of the “memoria” mantra in the middle.

“Breed” covered by Titus Andronicus
Straight up rocker gets a straight up cover treatment.  One of my early faves from Nevermind back in the day that holds up no matter who covers it.  Love what sounds like the whole band singing the “she said” bit.

“Lithium” covered by The Vaselines
I really like the Vaselines.  I really like the concept of having the two bands Nirvana most famously covered return the favor here.  But this version doesn’t really do it for me as much as the Polyphonic Spree cover of the same song does.  (Related — I wish they took this “covers by bands covered” concept a little further with tracks by Devo, Greg Sage of the Wipers, and Lou Reed.)

“Polly” covered by Amanda Palmer
Haunting version that turns this into a creepy lullaby accentuated by music box sounding chimes.

“Territorial Pissings” covered by Surfer Blood
Another rocker gets the straight up treatment, right down to the “Get Together” opening.  Doesn’t try to break any new ground, but doesn’t really need to.

“Drain You” covered by Foxy Shazam
Another one that’s grown on me a lot, starting off as a ballad before unexpectedly rocking out.

“Lounge Act” covered by Jessica Lea Mayfield
I’m torn here.  This is my favorite song on Nevermind, so my expectations were probably a little high.  And the Painting Tasters managed to hit it out of the park when Ken Gordon covered it.  So this version here isn’t a bad cover per se, just disappointing.

“Stay Away” covered by Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band
Hands down the best song on this tribute.  If you weren’t paying attention and heard this cold you might not realize what it is until midway through.  A perfect example of what Brian Ibbott from Coverville is talking about when a band makes a song their own.

“On A Plain” covered by Telekinesis
Neat turn on a classic.  Almost sounds like an electric cover of Nirvana’s Unplugged version, taking things full circle in a metaphorical loud-quiet-loud Pixies concept Kurt was so fond of.

“Something In The Way” covered by JEFF The Brotherhood
Speaking of  loud quiet loud, this take on the not-quite closing track does just that.  I dig.

“Endless Nameless” covered by EMA
Props to SPIN for including this, even if they didn’t try the ten minutes of silence hidden track trick.  It’s a hard song to cover and pulled off admirably here — though I may have preferred a Local Boy style softer take that took the song in a different direction.