My Favourite 90’s Grunge Songs
I always thought the early to mid 90’s were a real golden age for music. This probably isn’t a mainstream opinion and maybe it’s just a function of being a teenager at the time. Maybe, as often happens when great art and music are made, it was the turmoil of time: the fall of Soviet Union, the first Gulf War and a recession that led to grunge bands replacing hair bands – with a lot more to say. Either way some great music came out of that period so here are my top picks:
Cherub Rock – The Smashing Pumpkins
I don’t think I ever caught a single word of what Billy Corgan was singing (and am not going to Google the lyrics now since I couldn’t when I first heard it!) but I have a vivid memory of the music video and the wall of guitar sound that came out of the speakers with his thin voice but piercing (in a good way) cutting across the mix and leading up to the huge chorus. This is a real anthem, the status confirmed for good when the song was featured in Guitar Hero (the videogame).
No Rain – Blind Melon
Slightly left field choice as I was never that into alt/psych rock but I always thought Shannon Hoon (who tragically died of an overdose aged 28 in 1995) had a really appealing rock ‘n roll edge – he was actually friends with Axl Rose and sang backing vocals on Use Your Illusion I and II as well as performing with GnR a few times, check out the videos online! There is something magical about the contrast between the sad lyrics and the happy music, almost like in country music but looser and with an eerie arrangement that has an unsettling yet chilled out stop/start feel in the change between verse and chorus.
Hunger Strike – Temple of The Dog
Temple of the Dog was a super group formed by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden with Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard, Matt Cameron and Eddie Vedder – yes, Pearl Jam! It’s a two-chord song (more or less) which sounds gigantic thanks to Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder’s vocals that keep chasing each other up higher and higher, an amazing vocal performance on top of some beautifully dark, almost biblical lyrics. Super song for a super group.