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  • Grunge Rock

    Grunge music originated in the 1980’s by a few different bands around the area of Seattle, Washington, and is a different style of alternative rock. It was inspired by a few different forms of metal and punk music, and is identified mostly by angry lyrics, many of which were directed at the general form of society as well as an annoyance with social animosity and enmity, and also in the distortion of the electric guitar rifts using feedback and other effects to create an almost trashy sound. Many bands blended elements from both the more hardcore metal and punk genres, but some preferred to draw most of their inspiration from one of these sources. Many grunge musicians and groups have been highly looked down upon due to their disheveled appearances and their refusal to use any dramatics during their shows. The actual success of grunge didn’t actually come about until sometime in the early 90’s, thanks mostly in part to bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. The success of bands such as these gave alternative rock a huge boost in popularity, and also shot grunge into being one of the most popular genres of hard rock at that time. Even though most grunge bands have broken up since the end of the 90’s, current influences can still be seen in almost all forms of the rock music genres today.

    Since Seattle was mostly isolated from the mainstream music scene during the time of grunge’s conception, its sound was developed and influenced by the more local punk rock and bands such as 10 Minute Warning, The U-Men, The Accused, The Fastbacks and The Fartz. There were also bands outside the area that influenced the genre in their own way, such as Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and the band Pixies. Nirvana lead man Kurt Cobain even commented that the band Pixies was a heavy influence on his music and the style of the music they made. Aside from the deep rooted influences from alternative rock music and the punk rock scene, there were many bands who were evenly affected by heavy metal music, most notably that from the 70’s, such as Black Sabbath, or Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelins influence is especially notable in Soundgarden’s work. The intensive and purely raw sound of some rock bands had a large influence on the genre as well. The hardcore punk band from L.A. called Black Flag released an album titled “My War” that also heavily influenced music in Seattle. Bands such as Soundgarden and other early grunge bands were also heavily influenced by music from outside America, such as British bands like Bauhaus and Gang of Four, which were some of the more popular bands in the 80’s around Seattle.

    Grunge declined in popularity for a number of varying reasons. In the late 90’s, grunge was unseated by what is called post-grunge. Bands such as Candlebox and Bush emerged, forming their own take on the genre, lacking the deep laden roots of where grunge had really come from, more influenced by the aspects of its seriousness and inward aspects of thinking. Being more commercially acceptable than the distortion of electric guitars and angry lyrics, this form of grunge was more viable for radio broadcast. Also, many grunge bands such as Nirvana simply broke up, or became less visible in the late 90’s. The fall of grunge’s popularity was a direct result.

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