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Sliver: The Best of the Box

Sliver: The Best of the Box

3.0 4
by Nirvana
This 22-track disc is something of a Goldilocks epiphany for the Nirvana fan who found the With the Lights Out box set to be too much of a good thing, and the sprinkling of new material on the self-titled greatest-hits album not enough. Sliver collects 19 tunes from the former set,


This 22-track disc is something of a Goldilocks epiphany for the Nirvana fan who found the With the Lights Out box set to be too much of a good thing, and the sprinkling of new material on the self-titled greatest-hits album not enough. Sliver collects 19 tunes from the former set, giving equal weight to embryonic versions of well-known songs (notably Kurt Cobain's solo acoustic take on "Lithium" and a rehearsal stab at "Smells like Teen Spirit" that boasts noticeably different lyrics) and tunes dredged up from deep in the vaults. The latter category is itself divided, with some of the tracks -- like "Clean Up Before She Comes," which exudes a painful stillness reminiscent of the third Velvet Underground album -- reflecting Cobain's introspective side and others (like the spasmodically arty "Mrs. Butterworth"), his manic noisemongering. The live tracks, especially a house-party deconstruction of Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" (recorded in 1987) are probably the set's most adrenalizing moments, but completists will be most intrigued by this disc's three-pack of never-before-released offerings. Chief among the newly unearthed artifacts is a version of "Spank Thru," culled from the Fecal Matter demo -- a sort of holy grail among Nirvanaphiles -- that Cobain and Melvins drummer Dale Crover laid down in 1985. While not as volume-drenched as the fully formed song eventually became, this sketch is more primitive and far more edgy, thanks to Cobain's white-knuckled incantations and barely-in-control strumming -- both of which nod towards Half Japanese, the lo-fi legends he'd champion in his days as rock icon/tastemaker. Sliver isn't intended to be a complete document of Nirvana's career, but the whiplash-inducing manner in which it brings snapshots of individual moments into view is somehow an appropriate way to look back on the band's all-too-short lifespan.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Appearing a year after the long-awaited three-disc With the Lights Out, which was supposed to be a clearinghouse for all existing Nirvana demos and rarities, Sliver: The Best of the Box is a single-disc compilation of highlights from that set. Of course, a comp like this needs to have collector bait in order to guarantee interest from the die-hard fans, so in addition to 19 previously released cuts, this has three previously unreleased tracks, most noteworthy being the 1985 demo of "Spank Thru," recorded when Kurt Cobain's band was called Fecal Matter. The other two songs are a 1990 studio demo of "Sappy," the song first released under the title "Verse Chorus Verse" on the No Alternative various-artists album, and a "Boom Box Version" of "Come as You Are," which is a taped rehearsal take of the song recorded before Nevermind. All three of these would have fit nicely on the box (and arguably should have been there, especially "Spank Thru," which is the best of the earliest Nirvana-related recordings), and for obsessives, they're enough to warrant a grudging, hesitant purchase. The real question is, whether Sliver is worthwhile for serious fans who nevertheless for whatever reason don't want three discs of demos and outtakes. The answer is: kinda. Most of the major songs from With the Lights Out are here, but not all of them. What's missing are outtakes like "Verse Chorus Verse" (a different song than "Sappy"), B-sides like "Curmudgeon," and non-LP cuts like "I Hate Myself and I Want to Die." While it's understandable that a weird novelty like "Beans" wouldn't make the cut, the absence of these three cuts mean this comp does fall short of its billing as being "The Best of the Box," and it also makes it of less interest to fans who just want all the truly noteworthy cuts from the box. That said, this does have such great items as the outtake "Old Age," the non-LP single "Oh the Guilt," and a demo of Leadbelly's "Ain't It a Shame," plus acoustic demos of Cobain's last two songs, "Do Re Mi" and "You Know You're Right," which is enough to satisfy the curiosity of most listeners. But it has to be said that due to its source material of home recordings and lo-fi tapes, Sliver, like With the Lights Out, is not easy listening and demands listeners' utmost attention -- and if listeners are willing to concentrate that hard on Nirvana rarities, they'd probably be better off getting three discs of the stuff instead of just one.

Product Details

Release Date:
Geffen Records

Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nirvana   Primary Artist
Pat Smear   Guitar
Dale Crover   Bass,Drums
Chad Channing   Drums
Kurt Cobain   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Dave Grohl   Drums,Vocals,Group Member
Krist Novoselic   Bass,Group Member
Mark Pickerel   Drums
Aaron Burckhard   Drums

Technical Credits

Jimmy Page   Composer
Robert Plant   Composer
Jack Endino   Producer
John Paul Jones   Composer
Ian Beveridge   Producer
John Bonham   Composer
Kurt Cobain   Composer
Dave Grohl   Composer
Calvin Johnson   Engineer
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
Krist Novoselic   Composer
Butch Vig   Producer
Craig Montgomery   Producer
Robert Fisher   Art Direction
Barrett Jones   Producer
John Silva   Executive Producer
Michael Meisel   Executive Producer

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Sliver: The Best of the Box 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Nursing_Student89 More than 1 year ago
I love Nirvana, but this was the worst CD I have ever purchased. The sound quality was awful and it sounded like every song was recorded in a garage. I was very, very disappointed. This CD is definately not the quote un-quote "Best of the Box".
Guest More than 1 year ago
What would Kurt Say about this? We all know the Answer. This release comes from the same person who published his diary. No doubt there is some fantastic art on this disk. However, get it somewhere else. These Bootlegs circulate in their entirety and are far more rewarding that way. Even a rock history completest like C. Love would agree with that, if it didn’t affect her bottom line. Take my priceless advice and do what Courtney never could: JUST SAY NO!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i truly believe that kurt would have wanted us to laugh a little.but to me listening to this has made me like nirvana more because it captures clips of memories and vital signs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago