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Grunge music

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Grunge is a music genre and a more commercially successful offshoot of hardcore punk, thrash metal and alternative rock in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Bands from the Seattle scene made grunge popular with mainstream audiences. Many of the more successful bands of the era were associated with the Sub Pop record label.

Grunge is usually thought of a reaction against the popular dominance of hair metal. Hair metal bands, such as W.A.S.P., Poison and Guns 'n Roses had been dominating the charts, especially in the US, for several years in spite of declining critical viability. Grunge music can be sharply constrasted to hair metal and its macho lyrics and image, heavy, anthemic riffs and a perceived lack of social consciousness, especially in the race to attract mainstream audiences.

Characterised by 'dirty' guitar, strong riffs and heavy drumming, grunge was embraced by the youth for its simple defiance of the then-cultural norm, which was seen by many as a corporate-dominated and superficial popular culture. The mainstays of this rock genre were primarily Seattle based bands, such as, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden.

Grunge music burst into the popular consciousness in 1991 (see 1991 in music) with the surprise success of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (off Nevermind). The album was a #1 hit around much of the world, and paved the way for more bands, including most popularly, Pearl Jam. For many audiences then and later, grunge came to be almost totally associated with these two bands and their punky, rebellious attitude towards mainstream mores as well as cultural and social institutions.

The popularity of grunge music was short-lived. The general consensus of fans and music historians is that the genre was entirely too-opposed to mainstream stardom to actually achieve that. Grunge bands refused to cooperate with the record labels in making radio-friendly hooks, and the labels found new bands that were willing to do so, albeit with a watered-down sound that did not sit well with the genre's long-time fans. When Kurt Cobain (of Nirvana) committed suicide, grunge music effectively died out. Many grunge bands have continued recording and touring with more limited success, including, most significantly, Pearl Jam.

Prominent bands:



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