Grunge: The Music Genre That Defined Generations

Michael Blutman proudly holds a bag from Tower Records, a storied defunct chain of record stores that sold many grunge records in the early ‘90s. (Photo courtesy of JerEcho)

The music world recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of grunge and many Jericho High School students and staff took notice.

Grunge, which originated in Seattle, Wash., in the late 1980s, wasn’t widely recognized until a decade later when artists such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains released albums and songs that reached mainstream audiences.

This genre has captivated listeners for decades with hit albums such as Nirvana’s Nevermind, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger and Alice In Chains’ Dirt. These releases rose to the top of charts and won several awards.

Some Jericho High School teachers have loved listening to grunge music since the early 1990s. Forensics teacher Angela Cancemi said, “Nineties alternative is my favorite type of music because it was different at the time and it wasn’t like the pop music from the 1980s.”

Grunge spoke to the youth when it first gained popularity. Music teacher Michael Blutman, who listened to grunge during its popular stage in the ‘90s, said that grunge came out when he was in middle school, so this genre of music impacted his adolescence.

Grunge has impacted how music is written and composed. Later in the ‘90s, a genre called post-grunge appeared. This combined the elements of grunge with a mixture of rock & roll and pop music. Some bands, like Foo Fighters, Creed, and Matchbox Twenty became the pioneers in this genre and went on to influence other musicians years later.

Today, ‘90s grunge bands are remembered by many people, especially students, through their merchandise that is still sold. Sophomore Pranavi K. said, “I think most students wear T-shirts of grunge bands because they recognize the symbol, not the music. This is ironic because of grunge’s roots, starting in anti-capitalism and anti-consumerism.”

It is clear that grunge has impacted today’s music by inspiring many artists that came after the genre’s peak . It seems that grunge will live on for years to come.

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