With the Lights Out

With the Lights Out

by Nirvana

CD(Digi-Pak / Bonus DVD)

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This is the box set Courtney Love didn't want you to hear. But after years in legal limbo, the Nirvana archives are thrown open on this collection of long-lost material. And the good news is, the quality and relevance of Kurt and company's unreleased work is positively stratospheric. Comprising three CDs and a DVD, With the Lights Out provides a sharply focused look at the tracks that slipped between the cracks of Nirvana's career, not to mention some nifty time-lapse glances at the development of songs that would later become favorites. The set is peppered with cover material that's quite telling, what with Kurt Cobain leading his mates -- at their first public performance ever -- through a barely-in-control version of Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker," then later slicing out a tension-thick rendition of the Velvet Underground's "Here She Comes Now." The first disc is particularly heavy on previously unheard material, which ranges from bleak, In Utero–sounding scream fests like "Anorexorcist" and "Mrs. Butterworth" (the latter of which finds Cobain pondering suicide as far back as 1988) to surprisingly delicate home demos like the predawn mutter "Don't Want It All." It's revealing to hear the evolution of songs that spent a good deal of time simmering before their eventual release: The version of "Dive" here is markedly slower and more ragged sounding, while an acoustic take on "Lithium," performed by Cobain alone at a radio taping, points up the song's innate delicacy even more than the hit version. There's a goodly amount of acoustic material scattered across the set, notably the previously unreleased "Opinion" (Cobain's embryonic attempt at a '60s-style protest anthem) and three Leadbelly covers, highlighted by the gospel shout-along "They Hung Him on a Cross." The DVD component is equally illuminating, starting with an eight-song rehearsal taped in the basement of Krist Novoselic's parents' house, before an audience made up of the sort of mustachioed townies that Cobain would rail against on tracks such as "Mr. Mustache" included there. The disc is rounded out by a series of clips from far-flung live shows, notably the previously unreleased "Sappy" (later retitled "Verse Chorus Verse") and a homecoming show version of "Love Buzz," both dating back to 1990. Rife with danger, promise, and poignancy, With the Lights Out is a perfect distillation of the Nirvana legacy.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/23/2004
Label: Geffen Records
UPC: 0602498646649
catalogNumber: 000372700
Rank: 25558

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nirvana   Primary Artist
Pat Smear   Guitar
Dale Crover   Bass,Drums
Kirk Canning   Cello
Chad Channing   Drums
Kurt Cobain   Guitar,Vocals
Melora Creager   Cello
Jason Everman   Guitar
Dave Grohl   Bass,Drums,Vocals
Krist Novoselic   Bass
Dan Peters   Drums
Mark Pickerel   Drums
Kera Schaley   Cello
Aaron Burckhard   Drums
Dave Foster   Drums

Technical Credits

John Cale   Composer
Nirvana   Composer
Jimmy Page   Composer
Robert Plant   Composer
Lou Reed   Composer
Greg Sage   Composer
Jacques Brel   Composer
Jack Endino   Producer
Steve Fisk   Producer
Rod McKuen   Composer
John Paul Jones   Composer
Steve Albini   Producer
Peter Asher   Executive Producer
Ian Beveridge   Producer
John Bonham   Composer
Kurt Cobain   Composer
John Goodmanson   Engineer
Dale "Buffin" Griffin   Producer
Dave Grohl   Composer
Calvin Johnson   Engineer
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
Thurston Moore   Liner Notes
Sterling Morrison   Composer
Krist Novoselic   Composer
Moe Tucker   Composer
Robbie Van Leeuwen   Composer
Butch Vig   Producer
Craig Montgomery   Producer
Fred Kay   Engineer
Vartan   Art Direction
Mike Engles   Engineer
Robert Fisher   Art Direction
Barrett Jones   Producer
Eugene Kelly   Composer
Frances McKee   Composer
Roger Kay   Director
John Silva   Executive Producer
Lance Bangs   Producer
Neil Strauss   Liner Notes
Michael Meisel   Executive Producer
Gillian Gaar   Contributor
Greg Babior   Engineer
Steve Brown   Director
Robert Novoselic   Contributor

Customer Reviews

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With the Lights Out 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not really heard most of the songs because most of them are previously unreleased.Altogether, the price and the content, make this boxset a must have for nirvana fans like me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you only like Nevermind, or you didnt think that Nirvana was too raw for you to listen to, then dont buy this set. If you love the fact that you cant understand Kurt on Bleach's Floyd the Barber, then you will love this album. This set is for the Hardcore fans. I would personally rate this set with 5 stars, because its all previously unreleased, but i gave it 3 because a lot of people wont like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most raw I have ever seen or heard Nirvana. They could never achieve this level of anger in their albums. I guess that goes with most live shows in general. The early version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has totally different lyrics. Only pick it up if you're a die-hard Nirvana fan because it's nothing but rarities and demos and stuff. Good stuff though
Guest More than 1 year ago
guys, this is a must need, i am a dedicated nirvana fan and have been since i came from my mother's "moist vagina" lmfao i have no money for this so i am selling my clothes. I shall run around nakie but as long as i have this my heart shall be filled with love and beauty :) -Katie
Guest More than 1 year ago
nirvana only the best band ever to grace my ear is now coming out with this, this shall continue keeping the legends alive and the awsomeness flowing! this earth needs beauty like this more often hugs and kisses for the band, but not cortney :) go get this now before its too late in order to truly rock you need this in your house, learn from the masters and god fathers of grunge
Guest More than 1 year ago
What can I say? This is an amazing compilation. One day our children will look at Nirvana in the same eyes that we grew up seeing the Doors. This will live forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
nirvana is one of the best bands to have ever graced the world. with their meaningful lyrics, and the motivating messages behind each and every song. i cant wait to get my copy of this box set because i know its going to rock my socks!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The collection NIRVANA fans have been waiting for! Many of us were disapointed with the 'Greatest Hits' CD, but this more than makes up for it. Though alot of the audio material you can find on the web, there's lots of stuff I havn't, and from the material on the DVD, it's more than worth the price!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing boxset. I bought it just a couple days ago and have already memorized the words to most of the songs. "Opinion" for one is an awesome song and should have been released 10 years ago.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though it takes it's name from a lyric from Nirvana's best known song (as well as one of its most commercially successful), "With the Lights Out", as many have mentioned, is meant more for the serious fan. Some fans have called it a rip-off and some have called it a treasure trove. Frankly, your opinion of the box set will depend on how big of a fan you are. If you are the type of casual fan that occasionally throws "Nevermind" on as background music at your parties, you're not going to get it. If you are a serious fan with all the albums, who is still hungry for more, you might get it. If you prefer Nirvana's rawer and less polished music ("Bleach", "Incesticide" or "In Utero") and you respect the indie rock music background that inspired Nirvana (such as Sonic Youth and the Pixies, to name two) you will most likely get it, as any die-hard should. Add extra points if you are a bootleg collector (the "Outcesticide" series, etc.) who is looking for slightly cleaner versions of rare songs, as well as a few they might have missed. "With the Lights Out" does not always offer pristine sound quality, but people who expect this have missed the point. Much of it consists of bootleg material that has been floating around for the past decade. One must appreciate the fact that much of the music was originally recorded with no intention of release. Add in the fact that this is Nirvana, who reveled in their rawness as any great indie/alternative band should. Serious Nirvana fans will be able to tell that the greatness of many of these songs still shines through. It may be tossed off for this band, but many lesser bands would have killed to have written one of the obscure songs. As an admitted die-hard, I have already heared some of these songs, though by no means all. Since my Kazaa crashed, it's great to finally have released versions to listen to. I don't think the best versions of every song were used, and of course, some rare material was left off, but overall, I am pleased with the box set. It would have been impossible to please every fan anyway. If anything, the lesser known tracks on the set only add to Nirvana's legacy, proving that many great songs were written that didn't even make it to the albums.