->"''I'm taking our music to the next level - [[FunWithAcronyms Guitar Rock Utilizing Nihilist Grunge Energy]] - or, as I call it, '''[[ShapedLikeItself GRUNGE!]]'''"''
-->-- '''Homer Simpson''', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''

Primary Stylistic Influences:
+ AlternativeRock, PunkRock, HardcorePunk, DoomMetal, NoiseRock
Secondary Stylistic Influences:
+ HardRock, AlternativeMetal, IndieRock, PsychedelicRock, Experimental Music, ProtoPunk

"Grunge" is a form of Alternative Rock. A very popular one, at that. So popular in the early 1990s that it made Alternative Rock more popular. Without this genre the vast majority of us wouldn't know the Alternative Rock bands we listen to today, since Grunge broke it out of its niche/underground status and into the public eye. For good or bad, the vast majority of us wouldn't know most of the bands we take for granted without it.

Grunge itself is widely believed to have started in the indie rock scene in UsefulNotes/{{Seattle}}, and is sometimes referred to as "the Seattle sound" by nobody in particular, even though some bands weren't actually ''from'' there. Grunge was created by two groups -- Malfunkshun and Green River -- and started off underground, which was the philosophy of the music. As a backlash against big budget HairMetal, which was big at the time ([[TheEighties the mid-'80s]]), Grunge artists didn't care much for theatrics or their appearance, resulting in that trademark messy look characterized by flannel shirts (though several prominent acts, namely Music/AliceInChains and Mother Love Bone, started out as glam acts; the former later cast off all traces aside from a noticeable metallic edge, while the latter never really dropped it and was still not a million miles from something like Cinderella or Love/Hate when ''Apple'' posthumously dropped).

The music itself could be described as a strange combination of [[DoomMetal sludge metal]], Black Sabbath,and AlternativeRock with even more influences from HardcorePunk (Music/BlackFlag's sludgier, slower material from 1984 on was frequently cited as an influence). Indie rock’s noise is another influence, as is pop. The guitars have heavy distortion and plenty of feedback (usually), songs often consist of both loud and soft sections, and the lyrics are often pretty personal, and describing drug addiction (particularly heroin), depression, poverty, suicide. This introspective writt influenced lots of more [[{{Wangst}} angsty]] genres such as NuMetal and [[Music/{{Emo}} modern emo bands]]. The vocals range from PerishingAltRockVoice to {{Yarling}}, and all stops in between.

However, these were among the few traits that most of the acts had in common; while Nirvana, Melvins, Green River, and Tad could certainly be said to have lived up to most of those supposed hallmarks, they had little to do with Pearl Jam's arena rock stylings, Alice in Chains' dark thrash-meets-glam dirges, Soundgarden's mix of 70s hard rock spectacle with the grit and fuck-you attitude of traditional doom metal, Mudhoney's punky, bluesy garage rock, Mother Love Bone's sleazy, punkish blues glam, Hole's violent, abrasive, grindcore-tinged noise rock, and Screaming Trees' psychedelic leanings. In short, while there was something resembling a basic skeleton of grunge, there wasn't really anything resembling a codified style and the bands that did sound alike often did so out of coincidence or common influences.

So, Grunge started off underground, but of course something happened. Record labels decided it was the next “big thing” and signed anybody with a guitar and two songs. Heroin use and a few overdoses caused a moral panic in the media. What was this "something", you may ask?


Nirvana, a UsefulNotes/{{Seattle}} (by way of Aberdeen and Olympia) Grunge band fronted by Kurt Cobain, unexpectedly made it big [[TheNineties in 1991]] with their album ''Music/{{Nevermind}}'', containing the famed hit single "Smells Like Teen Spirit", which, in typical "most famous song" fashion, was [[BlackSheepHit shunned by Cobain]]. The album drove away from the dirgy sludgy material that had defined the 'grunge' label and the bands earlier material to that point and instead experimented with less distortion and catchy pop hooks, a feature that when combined with Cobain's anguished voice and rugged good looks launched them into superstardom. With Nirvana's success, other bands from Seattle, as well as those that were similar in tone, such as Music/PearlJam, Music/{{Soundgarden}} and Music/AliceInChains, also made it pretty big, and less-popular groups (namely Music/{{Mudhoney}}, Music/{{Melvins}}, Screaming Trees, and ''Tad'') also had their moments in the mainstream spotlight. Against their will. As for punk before it, being big and famous went against Grunge's philosophy, and many of the bands tried to avoid fame. Cobain himself was pretty depressed over this, as well as many other things, including his heroin addiction. This whole depression thing culminated in Cobain's shotgun suicide in 1994 (although some {{conspiracy theorist}}s still maintain that he was murdered).

Then Nirvana disbanded, Alice In Chains went on hiatus, Soundgarden headed in a more alternative rock direction and released their most famous song ("Black Hole Sun"), and with the rise of commercial {{PostGrunge}} bands like {{Bush}}, {{Foo Fighters}}, {{Silverchair}} and {{Matchbox Twenty}}, grunge itself had begun to fade into the shadows cast by the mid-to-late nineties, including {{britpop}}, {{nu metal}}, {{pop punk}}, {{The Spice Girls}}, Music/BackstreetBoys and Music/BritneySpears. By the turn of the millennium, grunge in the mainstream was reduced to nostalgia and another blow was dealt nearly a decade after Cobain's suicide when Layne Staley, lead singer of Music/AliceInChains, died of a heroin overdose -- on the approximate date of Cobain's death [[note]]Both were discovered dead after some time had passed. Both were still listed as circa April 5th, however.[[/note]], which is cause for concern and even more paranoid UsefulNotes/{{conspiracy theories}}. [[spoiler: Music/CourtneyLove [[YokoOhNo did it!]]]]

So, there you have it. The strange story of Grunge.

Archetypal of TheNineties. For more information see articles like [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2008/oct/31/grunge this one]].

The "signature look" of Grunge, much to the [[UnkemptBeauty distress of fashion designers]] everywhere, was loose-fitting jeans and a t-shirt with an open flannel shirt over it. This had been a "burnout" look among poorer teens for years -- the members of grunge bands only wearing such clothes because [[StarvingArtist it was literally the only warm clothing they could afford when they were struggling]] -- [[ItsPopularNowItSucks and was now promoted to "cool" kids]].

Although Grunge's time is over, the genre is still viewed as a landmark one due to its honesty and creative musicianship (especially compared to what [[{{PostGrunge}} it mutated into]]), and it still has a fanbase in certain corners, and the teens of the nineties are starting to look back upon it with nostalgia. Some of the bands have also had a significant influence on DoomMetal subgenres such as Stoner Metal and Sludge, which could be seen as a SpiritualSuccessor of sorts.

Not to be confused with {{PostGrunge}}, which, beyond being based around downtuned guitar, often has very little in common.

!!Bands typically categorised as Grunge include:

* Music/AliceInChains (often considered the [[AlternativeMetal heaviest of the lot]]; there was also some HairMetal present on the demos and ''Facelift'')
** Creator/JerryCantrell , though mostly by association
* Music/{{Ash}} (often seen as bridging the gap between Grunge and {{Britpop}})
* Music/BabesInToyland
* Music/{{Bush}} (Often called Post-Grunge, but they could just as easily be called 'real' Grunge. [[BerserkButton You really, really shouldn't mention them around fans of Grunge, however.]])
* Music/{{Candlebox}} (Mixed with Post-Grunge on early work. Later considered straight up Post-Grunge.)
* Music/{{Everclear}} (First two albums. Later went on to greater success as a Power Pop band.)
* Music/{{Failure}} (also dipping into AlternativeRock and SpaceRock)
* Fecal Matter (UrExample, best known as Kurt Cobain's band before Nirvana)
* Music/{{Feeder}} (only during the ''Polythene'' era)
* Music/TheFluid (also GarageRock Revival)
* Music/FooFighters (mostly only their self-titled debut)
* Music/FudgeTunnel is Grunge if you approach it with modern ears. They display all of the common tropes to Grunge and their music videos were shot in a very similar manner as grunge ones.
* Music/GreenRiver (TropeMaker) (Its members went on to form Mudhoney and Mother Love Bone / Music/PearlJam)
* Music/{{Gruntruck}}
* Music/{{Gumball}} (Most well-known for being led by famed Alternative/Indie producer Don Fleming)
* [[Music/HajisKitchen Haji's Kitchen]] (Typically a Groove Metal/ Prog Metal mix but they are often considered Grunge as well)
* Music/{{Hammerbox}}
* Music/{{Hole}} (Music/CourtneyLove's band)
** ''Music/LiveThroughThis''
* KEN mode (''Success'', mixed with post-hardcore; one of the few genuine revivalists)
* King's X (particularly during the ''Dogman'' era, typically a hard rock/progressive metal act.)
* Music/LoveBattery
* Music/{{L7}}
* Music/MadSeason (A Grunge {{Supergroup}} consisting of members of Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees, also blues rock)
* Music/{{Malfunkshun}} (UrExample)
* Music/{{Melvins}} (TropeMaker, along with Green River. Also associated with {{Doom Metal}}. Kurt Cobain was a fan, and Dale Crover occasionally filled in on drums for Nirvana.)
* Music/MotherLoveBone (Cut short by the lead singer's [[AuthorExistenceFailure sudden death from heroin overdose]], two of its members went on to form Music/PearlJam. Like Alice in Chains, they were also associated with HairMetal.)
* Music/{{Mudhoney}} the other {{TropeCodifier}}
* [[Music/MySistersMachine My Sister's Machine]]
* [[{{Music/NeilYoung}} Neil Young]] (Often considered the Godfather of Grunge, with ''Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)'' and ''Rust Never Sleeps (1979)'' having songs that can be described as Proto-Grunge.)
** ''Mirror Ball'' (1995, played with {{Music/Pearl Jam}})
* Music/{{Nirvana}} (TropeCodifier)
** ''Music/{{Bleach}}'' (1989)
** ''Music/{{Nevermind}}'' (1991)
** ''Music/{{Incesticide}}'' (1992)
** ''Music/InUtero'' (1993)
** ''Music/MTVUnpluggedInNewYork'' (1994)
** Music/KurtCobain
* Music/TheNymphs
* Music/{{Paw}}
* Music/PearlJam
** ''{{Music/Ten}}'' (1991)
* Music/ThePixies [[note]]They are more associated with {{Alternative Rock}}, but they and Green River were probably the first bands to play this style, as well as being a huge influence on the other bands; Cobain often said that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" sounded like a Pixies ripoff, specifically their song "Debaser"[[/note]]
** 1988 - ''Music/SurferRosa''
** 1989 - ''Music/{{Doolittle}}''
* Music/{{Pond}}
* Music/{{Radiohead}} (Only during the ''Pablo Honey'' era)
* Music/{{Seaweed}}
* [[Music/SevenYearBitch 7 Year Bitch]]
* Music/ScreamingTrees
* Music/{{Seaweed}}
* Music/{{Silverchair}} (Especially their debut ''Frogstomp'', released when the band was in their mid-teenage years at the height of TheNineties. They later moved on to PostGrunge and later to more experimental material.)
* Music/SkinYard
* Music/{{Soundgarden}} (Much like Music/AliceInChains, generally considered heavy enough to be AlternativeMetal, and also sometimes thought of as an UrExample of [[DoomMetal Stoner Metal]] as well)
* Music/TheSmashingPumpkins (Disputed, as they combine many influences. AlternativeMetal would probably fit better.)
* Music/StoneTemplePilots (Early work. Later work is more experimental or could be considered PostGrunge)
* ''Tad'' (Probably the heaviest example aside from Alice in Chains and Soundgarden)
* Music/TempleOfTheDog (A one-album collaboration between members of Mother Love Bone and Soundgarden that helped lead to the formation of Pearl Jam)
* Music/{{Tool}} (mostly Prog Metal, although some of their earlier works incorporate Grunge influences)
* Music/{{Truly}} (A band composed of members of Soundgarden and Screaming Trees)
* [[Music/UMen U-Men]]
* Music/ViolentSoho (A modern day example)
* Whores. (''Gold'', along with sludge; another revivalist act)
* Music/{{Willard}}