As today is Krist Novoselic’s birthday we thought we’d take a look back at one of the bassist’s best performances. We’re revisiting his iconic isolated bass track for Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’.
Few tracks embody the spirit and ethos of Nirvana like ‘In Bloom’. The Nevermind track was a deliberate thumb to the nose of the new poser fans of the growing Seattle underground scene.
‘In Bloom’ was to all intents and purposes Nirvana providing the growing set of fans with a grunge track doused in some sugary sweet pop. Like a chewable vitamin, this was all the nutrients you needed but with a palette-pleasing coating to get it past the children.
Bassist Krist Novoselic recalled that it “originally sounded like a Bad Brains song. Then Kurt turned it into a pop song”.
Played just one day before Cobain and Novoselic began demoing the track. The band were keen to nail down the song as soon as possible. Cobain took the track home with him and began playing reworked versions over the phone to Novoselic—it would be this arrangement that they would add onto their promo CD which circulated the major labels and eventually nailed down their contract for the release of Nevermind.
‘In Bloom’ would eventually appear as the second track on the record after the grunge anthem ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ took its spot leading the LP. With ‘In Bloom’, upon closer inspection, and especially when looking at the lyrics, we get to see an almost perfect distillation of Cobain’s character.
“He was cagey about his lyrics,” Novoselic later recalled in an interview with Rolling Stone. “You could read into them anything you want… Kurt — I would call him a windmill… He wanted to be a rock star — and he hated it.” This very sentiment, the one which would, in essence, seal his fate, is innately expressed in ‘In Bloom’.
Often the forgotten member of Nirvana, Novoselic underpinned everything the band did well. He was the foundations of the group from which Kurt Cobain could adequately build his expressive monuments and Dave Grohl could crash them down. Without Krist Nirvana would be nowhere.
On this isolated bass track from the band’s brilliant ‘In Bloom,’ you can hear Novoselic’s sensibilities as he brings the heavy moments of power to the song.
Like thunder and lightning, Novoselic underlines Cobain’s visceral lyrics with the shadow and light Nirvana drenched all their records in.
Listen to Krist Novoselic’s isolated bass on Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’ to shake your bones.