By Spenser Webb, Entertainment Writer
More than twenty-one years after the death of American rock icon Kurt Cobain, a collection of recordings and demos recorded by Cobain have been released to the public in a small collection accompanying the documentary “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”. The album, entitled “Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings”, comes in two versions: a thirteen track standard version and a thirty-one track deluxe edition. The standard version serves as the soundtrack for the documentary and consists of early demos and unreleased recordings while the deluxe edition gives a much more detailed picture of Cobain’s life, featuring less than musical tracks such as some spoken thoughts in addition to the songs of the standard version.
I’ll tell you right now, if you’re hoping to listen to “Montage of Heck” and find your new favorite Nirvana song it’s not going to happen. The album’s subtitle (The Home Recordings) is an accurate description, with most songs being demos, uncompleted works, or little more than Cobain improvising or experimenting on his own. What “Montage of Heck” does offer is a look into the life of one of the most iconic rockstars of our generation. The deluxe edition is especially interesting here.
As for the actual songs on the work, again, they’re unpolished and unfinished at best. This is simply due to the nature of the release. On some tracks Cobain even switches from guitar to bass and vocally remarks on the bass part for the song. It’s clear that most of these recordings were never meant for the public to hear and it’s a bit sad that they’ve come out the way they did, however there are still some interesting songs on the albums. “And I Love Her”, a Beatles cover, is one of the most well done songs on the album and is actually fairly pleasant to listen to. Other interesting tracks on the album include demo versions of earlier songs. The demo version for “Sappy” is a bit slowed down and somber compared to the final version, for example, and gives a good idea of what the song went through to get to its final release. Other demo versions on “Montage of Heck” include very early demos of “Been a Son, Something in the Way”, and “Frances Farmer Will Have her Revenge On Seattle”.
Overall “Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings” doesn’t live up to the twenty-one year hype. What you get is a collection of unfinished songs, ramblings, and early demos that while interesting aren’t musically noteworthy at all.