The Grunge Movement (Seattle Sound)
Grunge. Sounds like something gross right? Well, grunge just so happens to be a genre of music and a very influential one at that. The grunge genre is a strange mixture of punk rock and heavy metal, utilizing distortion in electric guitars, heavy bass guitar, quick drum patterns, and scream-type vocals. As interesting as the instruments are, the origin of this style is even more interesting.
The Grunge Movement was a music-based movement starting in the state of Washington, more specifically Seattle and its neighboring towns. The movement, taking place in the early 1980’s and the mid 1990’s, was originated from the underground/indie record labels in the Seattle area and was crucial in the launch of famous grunge bands. Some influential bands and songs that came out of Seattle include “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “Black Hole Sun” by SoundGarden, and “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam to name a few. After the suicide of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, the grunge scene began to die down, but the movement had already left its mark in the U.S. and moved on to Europe.
Grunge moved on and evolved into new forms of music and created new genres as well as expanding fashion. Some ways the Grunge Movement affected modern music is by their instruments, more specifically, the electric guitar. The electric guitar and its versatility was shown to be able to put out hard slamming power chords or relaxed, slow paced riffs. Today, many musicians use techniques developed during the Grunge Movement including bands such as, The Front Bottoms, Foo Fighters, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Many genres evolved from grunge including thrash metal, speed metal, and many more. One more popular genre is called post-hardcore, a type of alternative rock type of style, mixed with hardcore breakdowns, screaming, and high pitched vocals, and is very popular in the emo community. Retaining to the more emotional community, the death of Kurt Cobain left scarring marks on humanity and showed kids the dangers of depression and drug use. Thanks to Cobain, an uprising in anti-drug groups spiked and brought depression to the mainstream media. This particularly affected in the punk community and caused the creation of the “emo” personality.
Grunge is one of the most important beginning points of modern rock and metal with men such as Kurt Cobain (Nirvana,) Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day,) and Mark Hoppus (Blink-182) that helped pave the way for modern artists as well as a generation of kids. So next time you listen to your favorite artist that uses an electric guitar, realize that none of it would be possible without the Grunge Movement and the brave pioneers that moved grunge into the spotlight.