Profile + Playlist: Grunge

(Nirvana Performing on SNL. Credit:

Kaitlin Nunez | Profile + Playlist | USD Radio

90’s Grunge Playlist (click here to listen)  

Fenders, flannels, and the Seattle sound; grunge was one of the major genres of music that flourished in the 1990s and influenced an entire generation of music listeners. From the melancholic lyrics of Kurt Cobain to the melodic vocals of Chris Cornell, grunge captivated listeners with its heavy, yet energetic sound, and angsty lyrics. Before hit records, such as Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten, blasted from the CD players and stereos of young people all across America, grunge started with small but loyal following in the heart of Washington.

Grunge gained popularity through Seattle’s underground music scene in the late 80s and early 90s. Seattle’s independent record label, Sub Pop Records, became known for signing bands such as Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden, which helped place grunge in the spotlight. Since grunge has influences from punk and metal, the genre became accepted by listeners quickly and soon the genre became the soundtrack to Seattle. Eventually, grunge bands from all over the United States began making names for themselves, such as Stone Temple Pilots from San Diego and Smashing Pumpkins from Chicago.

Grunge lyrics stand out amongst other rock subgenres. On the surface, grunge lyrics can be interpreted as angsty, nihilistic, or dark; however, many lyrics are written about issues dealing with life, the world, and the mind. These lyrics are the reflections of the songwriter put into writing and can be felt by listeners.

By the late 1990s and early 2000s, many grunge bands were no longer together, however, the genre remained popular. Along with the music came an entire subculture still popular to this day. Loose fitting plaid flannels, Doc Marten combat boots, and chokers are 90s grunge trends worn and sold today. Grunge music continues to have loyal listeners who will never grow tired of rocking out to their favorite songs. Grunge will always give fans that sense of teen spirit.


Playlist Highlights (click here to listen)

  1. “Today” (Siamese Dream) by The Smashing Pumpkins.
  2. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nevermind) by Nirvana.
  3. “Would?” (Dirt) by Alice in Chains. 1992.
  4. “Seether” (American Thighs) by Veruca Salt.
  5. “Alive” (Ten) by Pearl Jam.
  6. “Nearly Lost You” (Sweet Oblivion) by Screaming Trees.
  7. “Doll Parts” (Live Through This) by Hole. 1994.
  8. “Vasoline” (Purple) by Stone Temple Pilots.
  9. “Black Hole Sun” (Superunknown) by Soundgarden.
  10. “Far Behind” (Candlebox) by Candlebox. 1993.
  11. “Hunger Strike” (Temple of The Dog) by Temple of The Dog.
  12. “Good Enough” (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge) by Mudhoney.