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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The 5 Most Unexpected Covers of Songs From Nirvana's In Utero

Posted By on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 9:17 AM


In news that will make a lot of people feel ancient, Nirvana's In Utero turns 20 this Sept. 13. To celebrate this milestone, a 70-track (70!) deluxe reissue -- featuring two versions of the record, as well as tons of demos, unreleased tracks, live recordings, B-sides and even songs from the rehearsal room -- will be released this Sept. 24. Holy mother of God, we can't wait. But while we bide our time until this inevitable glory, here are the five most unexpected covers of In Utero tracks.

5. "Pennyroyal Tea," The Flaming Lips

It's kind of amazing how completely the Flaming Lips have erased the memory of their early career. We're positive that if the band decided to cover "Pennyroyal Tea" today, it would be an entirely different affair than this '90s rendition -- probably something twinkly and surreal and quiet. And for the record: Wayne Coyne was already in his 30s when this cover was recorded. Just goes to show, kids -- you're never too old to re-write your entire life. 

4. "Heart Shaped Box," Lana Del Rey

The best thing we can say about this cover of "Heart Shaped Box" is that it isn't Lana Del Rey's live version -- which approaches a whole new level of lifelessness. Del Rey told Sirius FM in 2011: "Even at a young age, I related to [Cobain's] sadness." After hearing this cover, Courtney Love related, too -- to the fact that this song was about her lady bits. "You do know the song is about my vagina right?" Love Tweeted. "Next time you sing it, think about my vagina will you?" We all will now, Courtney -- we all will.

3. "Pennyroyal Tea," Hole

Back at the peak of Hole's awesomeness (1993, naturally), the band made a habit of performing "Pennyroyal Tea" on the regular. The unexpected part though, is it they did it before the song had even been released. This recording, for example, was made at England's Phoenix Festival a couple of months before In Utero even came out, and over five months before MTV aired Nirvana's now-legendary Unplugged set. Listening to this reminds us of how magnificent Courtney Love was back then. Sigh.

2. "Rape Me," Richard Cheese

Before his death, Kurt Cobain told Spin that "Rape Me" was basically a giant fuck you: "It's like she's saying, 'Rape me, go ahead, rape me, beat me. You'll never kill me. I'll survive this and I'm gonna fucking rape you one of these days and you won't even know it.'" So naturally, it's a perfect song for lounge-comedy guy Richard Cheese to cover. We're particularly fond of the use of xylophone and jaunty piano here. "Here's one for the ladies!" Indeed.

1. "All Apologies," Herbie Hancock

Legendary pianist Herbie Hancock loosely covered "All Apologies" in a jazz style, for his The New Standard album back in 1996. This stands as a reminder of just how all-encompassing the influence of grunge was in the early-to-mid-'90s. Hancock ensured that your parents were listening to Nirvana without even knowing it. Nice.

-- @Raemondjjjj

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