Nirvana were in a tough position when it came time to record a follow-up to Nevermind. The world was waiting breathlessly to hear what they'd do next, and anything overtly commercial would infuriate the hardcores. At the same time, their label would have loved another bunch of songs like "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Almost anything they did was going to be criticized. They wisely recruited producer Steve Albini, best known for his work with Cobain's heroes the Pixies. "It was made really fast," Cobain told Rolling Stone in 1993. "All the basic tracks were done within a week. And I did 80 percent of the vocals in one day, in about seven hours. I just happened to be on a roll. It was a good day for me, and I just kept going."
The band wasn't happy with the result. "We had no idea why we didn’t feel the same energy that we did from Nevermind," Cobain said. "We finally came to the conclusion that the vocals weren’t loud enough, and the bass was totally inaudible. We couldn’t hear any notes that Krist was playing at all." They eventually re-worked parts of the album with producer Scott Litt, much to Albini's chagrin. The album still flew off the shelves when it came out, and they scored hits with "Heart Shaped Box" and "All Apologies." The group began a tour to promote the disc, but had to scrap a ton of dates due to Cobain's drug problem. At the time some saw In Utero as a slightly disappointing follow-up to Nevermind, but today it is revered as an absolute classic.