Record Label: Geffen Records
Recorded in November 1993, less than six months before singer Kurt Cobain killed himself, Nirvana's MTV Unplugged is a watershed document that presents a band at the peak of its powers. Unlike any other unplugged affair, the diverse album is not a simple stripped-down regurgitation of greatest hits or a cash-it-in set of nostalgic favorites. Rather, the live effort is among the most emotionally naked spectacles ever released an album so starkly intense and profoundly personal, it's impossible not to get chills down the spine.
Made primarily with acoustic instruments, Grohl even trades sticks for brushes, Krist Novoselic picks up an accordion, and cellist Lori Goldston prominently figures in the arrangements. Unplugged in New York reveals Nirvana's folksier side and clear ambition to move beyond abrasive rock. The setlist is as surprising as the stylistic makeover. Save for renditions of All Apologies and Come As You Are, the adventurous material includes brooding covers of the Meat Puppets' Lake of Fire, Plateau, and Oh Me as well as harrowing versions of David Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World, and the Vaselines Jesus Don't Want Me for a Sunbeam.
And then there's the heart-shattering climax. Intensely private and disturbingly primal, Nirvana's rendition of the Leadbelly standard Where Did You Sleep Last Night takes its place among the most cathartic songs ever committed to record. It's the musical equivalent of the insides of Cobain's soul being ripped out and put out display for all to see.