Kurt Cobain was so interested in the Incesticide project that he personally created the art work for the front cover, selected the image for the back cover, wrote the liner notes and, as I argue in chapter four of Dark Slivers, gave detailed personal attention to the song selection and order. Each element of the record benefitted from his attention, he didn’t compromise on any aspect of the release and it remains as one of only four major releases to have his intense focus.
I argued the other week on this blog (Incesticide: Kurt Cobain Gives a Christmas Present & Celebrating Incesticide at 20 Years Distance) that the album represented Kurt kicking back against fame, against Nevermind – that it was this release NOT In Utero that formed the reaction to unwanted superstardom. I also explained that the release was a reaction against cosy family vibes and the demand that he release ‘Christmas product’. Faux-offensiveness is often cynically used to promote bands; Incesticide was the real deal on every level.
But it was also a release of sheer quality; there are no untidy, untrimmed demo versions of existing songs, no dulled live recordings, nothing that sounds obviously unfinished. This was the CD era, the band had enough material for a full 70 minute release cramming on anything and everything. Instead they stuck to their usual 40-45minutes of actual music, vinyl-length in other words.
(New Wave) Polly stands out – the only alternative version of an album song on the compilation. Why? Well, again I talk about this more in the book, but the release is riddled with games in terms of creating parallels. Incesticide was about reacting to Nevermind therefore what could be more appropriate by taking one of Nevermind’s softest tracks, finding a far more roughed up version of it, then placing that same song in the same position at end of Side A?
Without the clear, rigid deadline of Incesticide’s anniversary I’d never have got all this finished. Also, with the book finished (logistically speaking), finally I should be able to get back to building up more material for the blog. For the time being though, there are now 70 articles on here, around 50,000 words, to go on top of the 72,000 words in the book Dark Slivers. So! I hope you Nirvana fans are enjoying having a full book worth of content free – all yours! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Incesticide!