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Grunge: The Musical Revolution That Changed America

945 words - 4 pages

GRUNGE: AN INTRODUCTION
Music in America in the late 1980s saw a revolution in the form of a whole new genre, which would later be known as ‘grunge’. It is perhaps one of America’s most notable contributions to the music world. Grunge originated in Seattle and spread through the United States over the 1990s. It also influenced the international music scene, inspiring artists, and creating a huge world-wide fan base. The music was inspired by punk rock, but had more edgy riffs coupled with emotive, sometimes heavy lyrics. This type of music reached out to and addressed an oppressed and often abused audience. The angry musical riffs, paired with lyrics that most young Americans could relate to, or had even experienced, made grunge instantly popular. Grunge revolutionized not only music in America, but also left its mark on American culture. Grunge, as a genre of music and as a lifestyle, broke away from the glamour of the mainstream music world, allowing people to express themselves through music that was relatable and real.
GRUNGE: BRIEF HISTORY AND DEFINITION
Grunge began as a raw, rough sounding version of the rock music that was prevalent during the 1980s. It started in 1980s Seattle in the form of bands like Mudhoney and The Screaming Trees. However, it was in the early 1990s, when bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden emerged that the grunge movement took America by storm. These bands allowed people to experience and revel in an entirely new kind of music, which was both expressive and relevant. Though there are several bands both within and outside of the United States that play and some who still play grunge music, the most influential band was Nirvana. Front-man Kurt Cobain still holds a place as a music icon, and it is the general opinion that his demise in 1994 was also the demise of grunge music.
Grunge was extremely different from the other genres of music that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s, both musically and thematically. Grunge possessed a strong melodic quality, despite its slightly distorted sound. Unlike other forms of rock during that time, it did not seem to center on guitar solos. It also did not share the same lyrical themes as punk and metal. Whether the theme was love or just general experiences, grunge lyrics usually communicated negative experiences and emotions (Strong 18, 19).
GRUNGE: CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
The time of emergence of the ‘grunge-era’ is of great significance. It was during this time that America saw several changes under the policies of President Ronald Reagan. People began to feel frustrated at the rising levels of poverty. Students were dissatisfied with the minimized financial aid they were granted. In her paper ‘Grunge and Blues, A Sociological Comparison: How Space and Place Influence the Development and Spread of Regional Musical Styles’, Tara...

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