Nirvana, With the Lights Out

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 05.21.12 in Reviews

With The Lights Out - Box Set


For most bands who only recorded three studio albums, a three-disc retrospective of demos, covers and outtakes would be excessive. For this one, it’s revelatory. With the Lights Out traces Nirvana’s blazing path from ravenous punks covering Led Zep at their first show to really loud Leadbelly fans boggling at their sudden success to their final months as tense, jittery rock heroes grappling with more raw power than they knew what to do with. All that power, as it turns out, meant that even their throwaways and unfinished sketches pretty much blow the walls down. If this set were the only recorded evidence that Nirvana had existed, they’d still be an important band — although maybe just the cult act they kind of wanted to be.