If there’s one thing Nirvana were remarkably good at, it’s the ethereal ability to make others’ songs sound like their own. They show off a bit of this swaggering style with their 1990 cover of The Velvet Underground’s cult-classic hit ‘Here She Comes Now’.
The cover would come at a curious time for the band. Nirvana, Kurt, Krist and at the time Chad Channing, were beginning to see the benefits of their hard work. They were a few months off their seminal album Nevermind but were still being roundly touted as one of the bands to pick up the mantle of rock and roll for all those disenfranchised by the hairspray antics of the ’80s.
While the future was looking bright for the band they were still keen to pay homage to the past. They, alongside another North West stalwart The Melvins, decided to cover two tracks in tribute to one of their favourite bands; The Velvet Underground. The VU, the world’s first purveyors of alt-pop, were a group cherished by both bands and so the split single seemed a no brainer to all involved.
The Melvins would take on one of the more easily recognisable tracks from the VU and chose to cover ‘Venus in Furs’ from the band’s debut record The Velvet Underground & Nico. Kurt and Co. decided to go a little more leftfield and picked up the cover of ‘Here She Comes Now’ from The Velvet Underground’s sophomore album White Light/White Heat. Released as a split single, Nirvana’s track would also appear on a tribute album to the VU Heaven & Hell.
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Many covers can feel less of a homage to the original and more like a direct copy, losing the spark of magic which can make covers such an interesting prospect. Not so with this song as Nirvana manages to walk the line between respect and artistry. First of all, the song is almost twice as long as the original. The track feels like it is split in half with one side feeling quieter and more thoughtful, more akin to the original jangle, until it explodes into a wall of distorted heavy rock.
The volume continues to gather pace and is matched by Kurt’s uncannily stretched growl. Cobain moving from singing to pure screaming after a few minutes only to soon let his rearing guitar do the talking. Compliment by Novoselic’s undulating basslines, the band are quickly possessed and deeply bedded into a jam session of epic proportions.
This is where Nirvana achieve the perfection of performing somebody else’s song. They take the track and add in their own distinctive tonal sound, at once able to lullaby a baby bear to sleep only to be violently thrashed awake by its mother. But in doing so, they pay respect to the original creators of such a noise, The Velvet Underground.
Listen below to Nirvana’s impeccable cover of The Velvet Underground‘s ‘Here She Comes Now’ below.
Source: Brooklyn Vegan