November 14, 1994 12:00 PM

Nirvana

At first listen, this diamond in the rough seems a bit too rough: ragged playing and the late Kurt Cobain’s wavering pitch mar some cuts in this relaxed live set, recorded last November, four months before Cobain’s suicide. But the album does reveal the stark splendor of his songwriting, and that makes it a must for Nirvana fans.

Gripping versions of “Come as You Are” (with its haunting refrain of “No I don’t have a gun”) and “Dumb” spotlight his gift for creating ear-catching hooks and alienating lyrics, and “Something in the Way” is painfully honest in its depiction of loneliness. All in all, Unplugged’s stripped-down sound reveals the genuine craft that was underneath all that grungy distortion, and the album shines with its own eerie luster. (DGC)

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