Music » Music News

Sliver: The Best of the Box


At least the title isn’t misleading. Of the 81 songs in last year’s stellar With the Lights Out box, the best 18 are rereleased here. The bone of contention is the three "previously unreleased" tracks."Spank Thru" is Kurt Cobain’s first recording foray (from 1985, on a tape titled Fecal Matter), and while slightly different lyrically and instrumentally from that released on 1988’s Sub Pop 200 compilation, it’s still weak at best. The studio version of Nirvana’s perennial outtake "Sappy" (a song recorded at sessions for all three of their studio albums, though it was only released as an uncredited bonus track on 1993’s No Alternative comp) has been on bootlegs forever and is utterly forgettable. A boombox demo of "Come as You Are" begs for purpose.

The problem isn’t with the tracks themselves or the sequencing or the artwork; it’s deeper. It’s unnerving that well-intentioned fans will stand by attentively and buy every Nirvana release, while the label Tupacs the shit out of Cobain’s catalog flotsam. Were he alive, would he want these songs up for mass consumption?

What’s sad is there’s no changing this process. The bigwigs will milk their cash cow. Meanwhile, heaps of unreleased Nirvana-Cobain recordings — many of which are superior to the three from Sliver — await their fate. Best of the Box indeed. But still such a long way from the bottom of the barrel.

Ben Blackwell writes about music for Metro Times . Send comments to [email protected].

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.