Nirvana’s Nevermind turns 20 September 24, 2011. In honor of this anniversary, a deluxe version of Nevermind–featuring a fully remastered version of the record, b-sides, live cuts and more–is being released on September 27. This reissue is well-deserved: The seminal album famously wiped away the lingering gloss and glam from the 1980s, put a new face on popular music and set the scene for almost every genre covered by this website. But don’t take our word for it: Some of AP’s favorite artists recently revealed what the album and the band mean to them. Whether you lived through the ensuing alternative revolution or grew up in the world Nirvana made, you’ll learn something new about Nevermind and its legacy. 

Anthony Raneri of Bayside

What's your favorite song from Nevermind?
It's hard to choose one, because every song is completely perfect to me. Over the last 20 years different songs have popped up as my favorite. If I had to pick one, I would have to go with “Lithium.”

Why?
Mainly because of the significance it has for me at that moment in my life. It was the first song that I heard off of the record. I went out and got the single on cassette and shortly after got the whole record, which launched me on to the course that my life has been on ever since. I got my first guitar so I could learn to play “Lithium.”

How do you think Nevermind has influenced music?
The music has obvious influences in general on a lot of bands musically—especially now, as people in my age group and a little older are becoming the new breed of professional musicians. Having all grown up on Nirvana, I think that that influence will only become more apparent.

I would have to say that the biggest impact that the album had, though, is not musical, but more in the music business. It was one of the first records where a band who was truly from the underground and was truly writing songs from the heart—not striving necessarily for commercial success—was able to make a massive impact in the mainstream world. It gave hope, and still does to this day, to punk bands, hardcore bands or any kind of experimental band who starts from the ground up that you don't have to look or sound or act a certain way to make a living playing music. It put a swift end to the plastic hair metal scene and introduced the world to something real. That impact is still felt right now.

Beau Bokan of blessthefall


What's your favorite song from Nevermind?
“Something In The Way”

Why?
This song has to be one of the creepiest songs they've ever written. Kurt's vocals are simply haunting.His high harmonies over the chorus give me chills every time. You can just feel the somberness in your bones when you listen to this song and wonder what he could have been feeling when he wrote it.

How do you think Nevermind has influenced music?
Nirvana changed music without trying to change music. They were raw and real and didn't care if anyone liked them or if any of their songs were played on the radio. I think that punk rock mentality has been instilled in many of us musicians that grew up listening to them—the idea of playing music because you love it or just rocking out without a care in the world. Because there's no way you would ever work behind a desk with a shirt and tie on. I'll always love and respect this band.

AJ Perdomo of the Dangerous Summer

What's your favorite song from Nevermind?
“Lithium”

Why?
I think it’s a revolutionary song. The dynamics opened up the ’90s.

How do you think Nevermind has influenced music?
I think everything you hear on alternative radio is influenced by that album. It opened up a world that wasn’t punk and wasn’t classic rock.

Kevin Devine

(Photo: Ninelle Efremova)

What’s your favorite song from Nevermind?
For reasons that will become clearer in a couple weeks, I've been spending a lot of time with Nevermind this past month. Right now, my favorite song is either “On A Plain” or “Drain You,” but it changes all the time.

Why?
I love the melodies and openness of both of those songs. They're sweet, vulnerable, funny [and] layered, and they still manage to rock, especially live. For a little while there before he got too far afield, they were just a relentless and ferocious force live.

How do you think Nevermind has influenced music?
I think Nirvana's influence is sort of everywhere and nowhere today. They are kind of broadly recognized above ground as the last truly significant rock ’n’ roll band, that genre's last moment of cultural relevance as an above-ground market presence, and he was its last real icon for sure.

Any other thoughts?
Their last two records don't feel especially dated to me, particularly in context of their peers and the time, which speaks to the timelessness and trend-unconsciousness of the songwriting. At the same time, they're a deeply misunderstood band, reduced to some ill-fitting tag words and imitated and lionized by a bunch of bands they would have totally fucking hated.

Matt Ridenour of Hawthorne Heights


What’s your favorite song from Nevermind?
“Territorial Pissings”

Why?
It is my favorite song from Nevermind because I feel that it was one of the only songs on the record that had a raw energy to it. It didn’t sound like it was recorded to a metronome, and [it] just embodied a pissed-off feel from the instant the drum fill starts. I also love that as soon as the song starts, I know exactly what it is. Kurt's voice alone, then feedback, then bam! The energy doesn't stop once that first verse hits. To me, it sounds like the song that the record label didn't like, or wanted to slow down. And, in my head, Kurt told them to fuck off. Whether or not that actually happened, who knows?

How do you think Nevermind has influenced music?
Nevermind had a huge influence on every facet of music. Nirvana didn't have stage moves, cool haircuts, or pyro. They were just three dudes with their instruments, shitty clothes, great energy and great songs. They didn't play the industry games that everyone had to play at that time, and ironically enough, it only made them more popular. Nirvana had the “fuck you” attitude of punk rock and radio hits—a very weird combination that will probably only work for them. They opened a door for bands to sound however they wanted to and get noticed by labels that wouldn't have looked their way otherwise. Nevermind was a punk rock album that spanned all genres, and it was undeniable for anyone who let the record into their lives.

Any other thoughts?
In my opinion, there will never be another Nirvana. [They were a] band that tried to do all the wrong things, and these turned out to be all the right things. They had an energy and sound that will never be matched. Bands try to do what Nirvana just did naturally. And I will always appreciate them for what they did for music, as well as the idea that anyone can be in a band that could possibly change the world.

JR Wasilewski of Less Than Jake

(Photo: Dennis Ho)

What’s your favorite song from Nevermind?
“Territorial Pissings”

Why?
There really is no finer definition of “teen angst” than this song. I was an actual teenager when I heard this song, [and] it made me want to break everything in my room. When Kurt is screaming “gotta find a  way, a better way, I better wait!” I didn't even care what he was saying, I just wanted to scream along with him.

How do you think Nevermind has influenced music?
It's influenced music enough that every time a band in punk/emo/rock puts out a record with “high expectations” someone in the press inevitably will say, “…it could be the next Nevermind.” Yet there has never been a next Nevermind…has there?

Any other thoughts?
I think the world needs more bands like Nirvana. Not so much musically speaking, [but] aesthetically. There are so many musicians concerned with trying to keep up with the Joneses, staying relevant and being modern that they forget to be honest to who they are (or, in some cases, who they were). That's why Nirvana worked. They never tried to be something that they weren't. And they never wanted to fit in. They were themselves and success found them, which is how most successes seem to occur. It's not forced; it just happens. I hope it happens again—and fast!

Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade


What’s your favorite song from Nevermind?
“Breed”

Why?
All of the songs on Nevermind are great, but that one has the most energy, and I've always loved that.

How do you think Nevermind has influenced music?
I don't think what's left of rock ’n’ roll would be the same without Nevermind. It's such a legendary album.

Any other thoughts?
When I was in elementary school, I remember showing my dad the song “Rape Me” from In Utero before I knew what rape meant. He gave me the weirdest look.

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