With the Lights Out

Last updated

With the Lights Out
With the lights out nirvana.jpg
Box set by
ReleasedNovember 23, 2004
Recorded1987–1994
Genre
Length
CD 1: 71:25
CD 2: 71:31
CD 3: 73:31
Overall:
216:27

DVD: 66:14
Label DGC
Producer
Nirvana chronology
Nirvana
(2002)
With the Lights Out
(2004)
Sliver: The Best of the Box
(2005)

With the Lights Out is a box set by the American rock band Nirvana released in November 2004. It contains three CDs and one DVD of previously rare or unreleased material, including B-sides, demos, and rehearsal and live recordings. The title comes from the lyrics of Nirvana's 1991 single "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The box set was planned for release in 2001, but was delayed by a legal battle with Courtney Love, the widow of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain. [1] As of 2016, With the Lights Out had sold 546,000 copies in the US. [2]

Contents

Background

Rumors of a posthumous Nirvana anthology surfaced in the mid-1990s, not long after the death of singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain in April 1994. It was reported in Kerrang! in April 1999 that the surviving Nirvana members, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, were planning a Nirvana box set to be released in 2000 at the earliest. [3] It was later announced that a 45-track box set would be released in September 2001, to mark the 10th anniversary of the band's breakthrough album, Nevermind , but it was delayed by a legal battle with Cobain's widow Courtney Love. [1]

Much of the dispute centered on the unreleased song "You Know You're Right", recorded in January 1994 during the band's final studio session. Grohl and Novoselic wanted it for the box set, but Love blocked its release and sued them for control of Nirvana's legacy. Love's lawsuit asserted that "the parties have fundamentally different concepts of how to manage the musical and artistic legacy of Kurt Cobain", which resulted "in a stalemate of decision making". [4] She believed that "You Know You're Right" would be "wasted" on a box set, and instead belonged on a single-disc compilation similar to the Beatles' 1 . [5]

In 2002, the legal battle was settled, and "You Know You're Right" appeared on the "best-of" compilation Nirvana . This paved the way for what became the With the Lights Out box set, which arrived in November 2004, over three years after its original release date but with more music than originally promised, including an acoustic demo of "You Know You're Right". [6]

Release

Promotion

Before the release of With the Lights Out, a promotional EP entitled Selections from With the Lights Out was sent out to radio stations, featuring the songs "White Lace and Strange", "Blandest", "Lithium", "Heart-Shaped Box" and "You Know You're Right" from the box set. [7] "Lithium" was also released as an exclusive iTunes downloadable single on November 22, 2004. [8] The music video for the original version of "In Bloom", made in 1990 and first released on the Sub Pop Video Network Program VHS compilation in 1991, [9] was released to music television to promote the box set. [10] [11] The video appears on the box set's DVD.

An online trailer was also released for the box set, featuring footage from the DVD and audio from the three CDs. [12] [13]

Packaging

With the Lights Out is packaged in heat-sensitive material which changes color when touched, revealing images of recording session tapes. [14]

Each of the three CDs loosely represents the rare recordings from three periods in Nirvana's history, in line with the band's three studio albums, Bleach , Nevermind and In Utero , which were released in 1989, 1991 and 1993 respectively. The DVD contains rare live performances and rehearsals from throughout the band's career.

It includes a 60-page booklet which contains liner notes by Thurston Moore of the American rock band Sonic Youth and journalist Neil Strauss, as well as photographs and a chronological catalog of the band's recording history, including studio sessions, television and radio appearances, live performances and home demo recordings sessions.

The band's May 6, 1987 radio session at KAOS 89.3 FM in Olympia, Washington is mislabeled as being from April 17, 1987. [14]

Reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic 76/100 [15]
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [16]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [17]
Entertainment Weekly A− [18]
The Guardian Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [19]
NME 7/10 [20]
Pitchfork Media 6.3/10 [21]
PopMatters Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [22]
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [23]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [24]
Spin A [25]

With the Lights Out received generally positive reviews from music critics, [15] many of whom saw it as a valuable glimpse into the band's evolution. Julian Marshall of the NME called it "a humanising, comprehensive and often heartbreaking document of a man who, in five years, changed the face of music, almost by accident". [26] John Jeremiah Sullivan of New York Magazine called it "an appropriately eccentric testament to Cobain's talent". [27]

However, several critics felt it contained too much second-rate material never intended for release. Mark Richardson of Pitchfork wrote, "Those hoping for a trove of overlooked gems will be disappointed ... Simply put, there's enough good stuff here for a solid single disc." [21] Tim O'Neil of PopMatters wrote, "The majority of the material presented here will appeal only to a select group of hardcore fans, music historians and critics." [28]

Track listing

All songs written by Kurt Cobain, except where noted.

Disc one

  1. "Heartbreaker" (John Bonham/John Paul Jones/Jimmy Page/Robert Plant) – 2:59
  1. "Anorexorcist" (a.k.a. "Annorexorcist") – 2:44
  2. "White Lace and Strange" (Chris Bond) – 2:09
  3. "Help Me, I'm Hungry" (a.k.a. "Vendetagainst") – 2:41
  1. "Mrs. Butterworth" (a.k.a. "Unknown #2") – 4:05
  1. "If You Must" – 4:01
  2. "Pen Cap Chew" – 4:02
  1. "Downer" – 1:43
  2. "Floyd the Barber" – 2:33
  3. "Raunchola" (a.k.a. "Erectum")/"Moby Dick" ("Moby Dick" – John Bonham/John Paul Jones/Jimmy Page) – 6:24
  1. "Beans" – 1:32
  2. "Don't Want It All" (a.k.a. "Seed") – 2:26
  3. "Clean Up Before She Comes" – 3:12
  4. "Polly" – 2:30
  5. "About a Girl" – 2:44
  1. "Blandest" – 3:56
  1. "Dive" (Kurt Cobain/Krist Novoselic) – 4:50
  1. "They Hung Him on a Cross" (Huddie Ledbetter) – 1:57
  2. "Grey Goose" (Huddie Ledbetter) – 4:36
  3. "Ain't It a Shame" (Huddie Ledbetter) – 2:01
  1. "Token Eastern Song" – 3:21
  2. "Even in His Youth" – 3:12
  3. "Polly" – 2:36

Disc two

  1. "Opinion" – 1:34
  2. "Lithium" – 1:49
  3. "Been a Son" – 1:12
  1. "Sliver" – 2:09
  2. "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (traditional) – 2:31
  1. "Pay to Play" (early version of "Stay Away") (previously released on DGC Rarities: Volume 1 in 1994) – 3:29
  2. "Here She Comes Now" (John Cale/Sterling Morrison/Lou Reed) (previously released on split-single with the Melvins in 1991) [30]  – 5:01
  1. "Drain You" – 2:38
  1. "Aneurysm" (Kurt Cobain/Dave Grohl/Krist Novoselic) (previously released on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" single in 1991) – 4:47
  1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Kurt Cobain/Dave Grohl/Krist Novoselic) – 5:40
  1. "Breed" (Butch Vig rough mix) – 3:07
  2. "Verse Chorus Verse" – 3:17
  3. "Old Age" – 4:20
  1. "Endless, Nameless" – 8:47
  2. "Dumb" – 2:35
  1. "D-7" (Greg Sage) (previously released on "Lithium" single in 1992) – 3:46
  1. "Oh, the Guilt" (alternate mix of previously released song on split-single with the Jesus Lizard in 1992) – 3:25
  2. "Curmudgeon" (alternate mix of previously released song on "Lithium" single in 1992) – 3:03
  3. "Return of the Rat" (Greg Sage) (alternate mix of previously released song on Eight Songs for Greg Sage and the Wipers in 1993) – 3:09
  1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Kurt Cobain/Dave Grohl/Krist Novoselic) (Butch Vig mix) – 4:59

Disc three

  1. "Rape Me" – 3:23
  1. "Rape Me" – 3:01
  1. "Scentless Apprentice" (Kurt Cobain/Dave Grohl/Krist Novoselic) – 9:32
  1. "Heart-Shaped Box" – 5:31
  2. "I Hate Myself and Want to Die" – 4:03 (mislabelled as the "b-side" version)
  3. "Milk It" – 4:34
  4. "Moist Vagina" (a.k.a. "MV") – 1:56
  5. "Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip" (Kurt Cobain/Dave Grohl/Krist Novoselic) (previously released on non-U.S. versions of In Utero , 1993) – 7:33
  6. "The Other Improv" – 6:24
  1. "Serve the Servants" – 1:36
  2. "Very Ape" – 1:52
  1. "Pennyroyal Tea" – 3:30
  1. "Marigold" (Dave Grohl) (previously released on "Heart-Shaped Box" single in 1993) – 2:34
  2. "Sappy" (previously released as "Verse Chorus Verse" on No Alternative in 1993) – 3:26
  1. "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam" (Eugene Kelly/Frances McKee) – 3:57
  1. "Do Re Mi" – 4:24
  1. "You Know You're Right" – 2:30
  1. "All Apologies" – 3:33

DVD

  1. "Love Buzz" (Robbie van Leeuwen) – 2:32
  2. "Scoff" – 0:47
  3. "About a Girl" – 3:05
  4. "Big Long Now" – 4:22
  5. "Immigrant Song" (Jimmy Page/Robert Plant) – 1:57
  6. "Spank Thru" – 3:10
  7. "Hairspray Queen" – 3:37
  8. "School" – 2:53
  9. "Mr. Moustache" – 3:47
  1. "Big Cheese" (Kurt Cobain/Krist Novoselic) – 3:13
  1. "Sappy" – 4:27 (mislabeled as track 12 on the cover)
  1. "In Bloom" – 4:28 (mislabeled as track 11 on the cover) (Pre-Nevermind version, featuring Chad Channing on drums, recorded April 1990 at Smart Studios, Madison, Wisconsin. Producer: Butch Vig)
  1. "School" – 2:33
  1. "Love Buzz" – 3:40
  1. "Pennyroyal Tea" (first live performance) – 1:55
  2. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Kurt Cobain/Dave Grohl/Krist Novoselic) (first live performance) – 6:16
  3. "Territorial Pissings" – 2:45
  1. "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam" (Eugene Kelly/Frances McKee) – 3:32
  1. "Talk to Me" – 3:35
  1. "Seasons in the Sun" (Terry Jacks) – 3:40

Personnel

Nirvana

Additional personnel

Sliver: The Best of the Box

Sliver: The Best of the Box
SliverBest.jpg
Compilation album by
ReleasedNovember 1, 2005
Recorded1985–1994
Genre
Length74:24
Language English
Label DGC
Nirvana chronology
With the Lights Out
(2004)
Sliver: The Best of the Box
(2005)
Live at Reading
(2009)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [32]
Blender Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [33]
Drowned in Sound 4/10 [34]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [17]
Pitchfork 6.8/10 [35]

Recording and release

Sliver: The Best of the Box is a compilation album by the American rock band, Nirvana, released in November 2005. It contains 19 tracks from the band's 2004 rarities box set, With the Lights Out, as well as three previously unreleased recordings: "Spank Thru", from the 1985 "Fecal Matter" demo, a 1990 studio recording of "Sappy", and a 1991 boombox demo of "Come as You Are". Sliver: The Best of the Box opened at number 21 on the Billboard 200. Nielson Soundscan reported that as of 2016, Sliver: The Best of the Box has sold 376,000 copies in the U.S. [2]

Artwork

According to Rolling Stone , the title and cover photograph for Sliver: The Best of the Box were chosen by Frances Bean, the daughter of Cobain and Courtney Love. The cover photograph depicts a cardboard box filled with Nirvana and Cobain tapes, including a copy of the Fecal Matter demo. Some of the tapes have spilled out of the box and are strewn across the floor. [36]

Track listing

  1. "Spank Thru" (December 1985 Fecal Matter demo) – 3:45
  2. "Heartbreaker" (March 1987 show in Raymond, Washington) – 2:59
  3. "Mrs. Butterworth" (Summer 1987 band demo) – 4:05
  4. "Floyd the Barber" (January 23, 1988 show in Tacoma, WA) – 2:33
  5. "Clean Up Before She Comes" (1988 home demo) – 3:12
  6. "About a Girl" (1988 home demo) – 2:44
  7. "Blandest" (June 6, 1988 studio session in Seattle, Washington. Produced by Jack Endino) – 3:56
  8. "Ain't It a Shame" (August 1989 studio session in Seattle, WA) – 2:02
  9. "Sappy" (January 1990 studio session in Seattle, Washington. Produced by Jack Endino) – 3:33
  10. "Opinion" (September 25, 1990 KAOS radio show) – 1:35
  11. "Lithium" (September 25, 1990 KAOS radio show) – 1:49
  12. "Sliver" (1990 home demo) – 2:10
  13. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (March 1991 boombox demo) – 5:40
  14. "Come as You Are" (March 1991 boombox demo) – 4:10
  15. "Old Age" (May 1991 studio session for Nevermind) – 4:21
  16. "Oh, the Guilt" (April 1992 studio session in Seattle, WA) – 3:25
  17. "Rape Me" (May 1991 solo acoustic home demo) – 3:23
  18. "Rape Me" (October 1992 studio session in Seattle, WA) – 3:03
  19. "Heart-Shaped Box" (January 1993 studio session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – 5:32
  20. "Do Re Mi" (1994 boombox demo solo acoustic) – 4:24
  21. "You Know You're Right" (1994 boombox demo solo acoustic) – 2:30
  22. "All Apologies" (undated boombox demo solo acoustic, circa 1992) – 3:33

Charts

Certifications

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