Grunge became popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s due to a group of bands in Seattle, Washington. As a blend of punk and metal, the “Seattle Sound” paved the way for the current rock movement.
In the battle against ’80s hair metal, no band was more effective than this threesome. Cobain used caustic humor to poke fun at his social ineptitude and self-doubt, making punk music accessible to a wider audience. The band’s apex came with “Nevermind,” which demonstrated that a person’s inner turmoil could serve as the foundation for a powerful song that was heard by millions. In the wake of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Nirvana disbanded, giving birth to one of today’s largest rock bands: The Foo Fighters.
Eddie Vedder’s booming, empathic tales of teenage disillusionment and family problems helped Nirvana’s adversary on the charts create an arena-rock variant of grunge. Following the success of their debut album, “Ten,” the band has shown that they are open to experimenting with folk, punk, and anything else that takes their fancy.
Soundgarden was the most influenced by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, among the Seattle bands that became popular. Chris Cornell has the pinup good looks and majestic lungs, but unheralded guitarist Kim Thayil gave the dense thicket of power chords and ferocious solos. Their best and most popular album, “Superunknown,” made the rest of their rivals look delightfully mediocre. Before his sad death in May 2017, Cornell enjoyed great success as a solo musician and vocalist for the ensemble Audioslave.
The River Green
In some cases, the actual pioneers of a trend are overlooked in the shadow of the subsequent bands. Green River is a good example of this. They are best known now as the band that featured future members of Pearl Jam. In the mid-’80s, most rock fans don’t know much about the band, but “Dry as a Bone/Rehab Doll” is a good place to start.
It’s safe to say that Mudhoney would never be a household name, but that didn’t stop them from putting out a series of fun albums that sounded like they were recorded in a basement. “March to Fuzz,” a compilation of the band’s greatest songs, is a good place to begin for those who have never heard of them.
In the wake of their self-titled 1993 debut, they were lambasted for their homogenous grunge image. The band’s cynical commercialization of the Seattle scene’s deep-felt rage and disenchantment is certainly true. Yet, singles like “Far Behind” have established the blueprint for mainstream rock bands aiming for a blend of tunefulness and introspection.