Albums that influenced the music of Nirvana - Part 2

Posted at September 11th, 2015 | by Mukul Menon | in

Here’s the contd list of albums that influenced the music of Nirvana.


David Bowie- The Man Who Sold the World (1970)




The man who sold the world was preceded by Space Oddity (1969) and followed by, skipping one, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), two benchmarks in the David Bowie’s career and rock music itself. Yet many claim that this was one of the records that laid the foundation for glam rock and even early heavy metal ( the riff on ‘Supermen’ was donated by Jimmy Page), yet was not immersed in either styles looking at today’s definitions of the same: his compositions were still genre-defying, angular, and outwardly dramatic. Although this period caught Bowie at the height of his powers as a songwriter, there seems to be contention regarding the compositions which were solely credited to Bowie officially while producers and other musicians involved claim otherwise. The heaviest of the albums created by him in that period, The Man Who Sold the World took his jagged composition style with a dash of proto-punk, blues, and country rock, while sporting lyrical subjects such as horror fantasy, insanity, schiznophrenia, war, and Nietzschean Philosophy. New Listeners are advised to consume Ziggy Stardust, the ‘friendlier’ one, before arriving at these songs.
Introductory Tracks: The Man Who Sold the world, Black Country Rock, She Shook me Cold



Gang of Four- Entertainment! (1979)




With what seems like thinly veiled sloganeering at first, the politically inclined lyric of Entertainment! weaves macro subjects with personal tribulations, giving it an intriguing style that suits the urgency of their music. Once you get used to their bare bones sound, you realize that there are hardly any elements in their album which couldn’t be exactly reproduced live by just the four of them; all high and low dynamics are achieved through a crunchy guitar, a tight reggae bass, bellowing vocals, and drums. Yet, I can’t recall having listened to a groovier album belonging to that time period. Perhaps every dance punk, indie rock, and post-punk band in the world owes it to this record. Their politically motivated lyric has been a major influence on bands like Rage Against the Machine and Fugazi. Flea of the red hot chili peppers famously claimed that this album changed the way he thought about music and his bass playing, which is natural considering the amount of sonic and compositional space the bass occupies in Entertainment!
Introductory Tracks: Damaged Goods, Return the Gift, I Found that Essence Rare.


The Saints- Know your Product (1978)





The compelling ‘Know Your Product’ by The Saints is one of the tracks in the period that introduced pop elements to punk rock. The two tracks ‘Know your Product’ and ‘Run Down’ feature prominent brass and harmonica sections each behind a throbbing punk rock fare. With their evident technical abilities and anti-consumerist stand, the saints’ delivered top-notch songwriting in an otherwise dumbo-punk environment.
Introductory Tracks: Know Your Product


Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation (1988)




Daydream Nation is less of an album of music than it is one of sound. The opener ‘teenage daydream’ is the only track in it that doesn’t feature the patented dual guitar noise soundscape of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo who are also technically able guitarists as opposed to what you’d imagine the ‘pioneers of noise rock’ to be. Consider “Silver Rocket”, where in place of the traditional guitar solo, both guitarists do everything they can to make to make an avalanche of noise out each of their instruments, with the rest of the band on halt, the resulting pair of sounds dovetailing each other in the most brutal animalistic fashion. Daydream Nation is preserved in the National Recording Registry of America, an honor that not too many records can boast of.
Introductory Tracks: Teenage Riot, The Sprawl, Hey Joni


R.E.M- Green (1988)




R.E.M were the most bright and lush sounding rock band of the pre-nineties grunge defining era that included other pioneers such as Pixies and Sonic Youth. A lot has to be credited to the textures that guitarist Peter Buck creates in Green using mandolins, arpeggiated guitar chimes, and string harmonics, and lap steel guitars apart from the unique steely delivery of Michael Stipe’s voice and his politically motivated songwriting. The album invites a wide spectrum of sounds from pulsating rock numbers like ‘orange crush’ and ‘turn you inside out’ to a host of cello, accordion, and mandolin bearing acoustic folk songs.
Introductory Tracks: Orange Crush, Pop Song 89’, Stand

Mukul Menon


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