Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Where were you in '92?! Grunge revisited
I've been reading a book called "Grunge Is Dead" this week. It ain't a particularly great read, being completely made up of dubiously edited comments like a book version of a talking-head style documentary, but it's put together with obvious empathy and love for the Seattle scene. It's got me feeling all nostalgic that even the music of the teenhood of a whippersnapper like myself is ripe for retrospective re-appraisal already.
But in the grand scheme of things did grunge really matter? Was it all just a media construct? Did it register on the radar of anyone outside of the middle-class white angsty teenager demographic? Did it change anything?
Maybe i'm biased, but I like to think it did. It may have been short-lived (destroyed by horrific Daily Mail pullots of how to "dress grunge" and such like, oh..and heroin; lots and lots of heroin) and only produced a handful of decent bands, but I think it's impact on making the alternative into the mainstream can't be underestimated. Before Nirvana it was all poser rock (Bon Jovi etc) and Mariah Carey until the grungers made dressing down and being a bit of a loser a virtue. When Kurt wore Captain America T-shirts in photoshoots, it became normal for one of the world's biggest stars to talk about lo-fi Scottish indie on the same footing that people talked about U2. and that, despite my indie-elitist tendencies, has got to be a good thing.
Anyway, here's a track each from the Big Five (rather obvious ones i'm afraid) to remind you of those heady days that meant so much to me at the time but which seem to have been forgotten about. The music still sounds fresh to my ears; Mudhoney is brilliantly chaotic and Pearl Jam sound urgent and powerful and fully realised despite this being an early single:
Alice In Chains