A devastating statement from the hesitant leaders of a manufactured counterculture. It lacks the universal punch of a "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but more than makes up for it in waves of blistering feedback, the like of which was never (and almost certainly will never be) found on a #1 record ever again.
I would argue that In Utero has a broader appeal than even Nevermind. I can't help but notice that my friends always skip the abrasive tracks I love, yet I could just as easily go the rest of my life without hearing "Pennyroyal Tea" again, which they can't get enough of. There's something for everyone. People always talk about the anger here, and yeah, he screams the word "rape" a whole lot, which is all fine and good...but the NOISE, man. The same stuff that scared off the "Teen Spirit" frat boys keeps bringing me back.
It's especially amazing in context: In Utero knocked Garth Brooks' In Pieces--an album that went platinum eight times--from the #1 Billboard spot, if only for a week. Then a month later, Pearl Jam released Vs., an album that also fell under the absurd "grunge" genre, yet probably has more in common sonically with Garth Brooks than In Utero.
This is an album completely out of time that had no use being anywhere near the pop charts, nor did it belong with the fading grunge fad. It's a profoundly unique death rattle from a band that only becomes more and more fascinating as a piece of pop culture history as time marches on.