Box-Set Face-Off: U2 vs. Nirvana
See how the season’s two biggest 20th anniversary boxed sets fare in a stadium-worthy showdown
Two seminal ‘90s albums are being re-released in the fancy 20th anniversary boxed set editions this fall: U2’s Achtung Baby and Nirvana’s Nevermind. Each set will be released in multiple configurations, from the basic 2 CD versions aimed at the average listener to humongous limited-run editions, complete with extra CDs, DVDs and assorted gee-gaws (see below). Not sure which to spend your hard-earned cash on? Check out this quick comparison.
November 19, 1991
September 24, 1991
Other albums released on the same day
The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection
Red Hot Chili Peppers’
Blood Sugar Sex Magik
A Tribe Called Quest’s
The Low End Theory
Rock ‘til You Drop
What did it mean?
The most earnest band in rock discovered irony
Fame-averse loners from the Pacific Northwest become the kings of popular radio
On the cover
Bono in make-up, a nude Adam Clayton, a phallic snake
A swimming pool, a nude baby and a dollar bill
ballad about a torturous relationship
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”—a throat-tearing anthem about… uh…something about an albino?
Berlin at the end of the Cold War—specifically a ballroom once used by the S.S.
Los Angeles at the end of the hair metal era—specifically a studio once used by Dio and Ratt
Europe (the continent), and all the electronic dance music being made there.
Europe (the band), who were staying next door to Nirvana’s hotel and were the constant butt of Cobain and co.’s jokes
Jackie O sunglasses and leather pants
Torn jeans, thermal underwear and indie-rock t-shirts
Drug of Choice
Unfortunate After-Effect of Album Success
U2 spent the next nine years trying to be funny
Hundreds of rock bands spent the next nine years trying to be miserable
“An ambitious failure” – Jim Greer in
“The band has little or nothing to say, settling for moronic ramblings by singer-lyricist Cobain.” – Steve Morse in
The Boston Globe
Cell phone-throwing supermodel Naomi Campbell, who was engaged to bassist Adam Clayton not long after the album came out.
Rumor has it, if we even mention her name, she will appear out of nowhere and devour our souls.
Most Over-the-Top Box Set Available
: six CDs, four DVDs, five 7-inch and two 12-inch vinyl records, 16 art prints taken from the original album sleeve, an 84-page hardback book, a copy of Propaganda magazine, four badges, a sticker sheet, and a pair of Bono’s “The Fly” sunglasses. A bargain on Amazon for only $478.38