Growing up, all I listened to was the South Florida classic rock station 105.9 FM. Driving to and from school, my dad would always blast classic rock; so much so that I eventually knew all the different songs, bands, and lyrics. When friends asked me what my favorite genre of music was, I would always answer, “Classic Rock”. I once asked my dad why they called it Classic Rock, and why the “Classic Rock” station played songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s. His answer was that, “Once the rock band or song has had an impact on the genre for a long enough time, it is considered to be in the canon of Classic Rock.” However, there are many candidates from the 1990s that belong in the genre of classic rock. Overall, grunge songs deserve to be considered “classic rock” due to their massive importance to the evolution and progression of rock n’ roll.
Grunge music is known as the attempted rebirth of rock n’ roll in the early 1990s. Bands played more of a hard alternative rock that held controversial undertones. Additionally, a feeling of resentment towards “the system” and rebellion against authority was developed. While that rebellious feeling was seen since the beginning of rock n’ roll, the genre of grunge music attracted a different crowd. Grunge music was more popular with young Americans, and was mainly an underground music scene for the early years of the decade. Once some songs and bands become popularized and mainstream however, the genre took off and became wildly successful. Albums such as “Nevermind” by Nirvana, “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden and “Alive” by Pearl Jam revolutionized the music world and turned it upside down. The cultural impact of this music was seen when “Nevermind” was added to the Library of Congress National Registry. It changed rock n’ roll by legitimizing the underground grunge movement and setting off a comeback for rock music in the 90s.
The music genre of Grunge was much different in terms of instruments, sound and lyrics. The basic nature of pedals used by guitarists was an inherent change from the expensive, studio level drum units used in other rock genres. The music shares with punk rock, a raw sound and similar messages within the lyrics. Just like many famous rock n’ roll bands, grunge musicians also displayed an overall distaste with the state of society and felt angst towards the government.
While the popularity of grunge music declined as the decade went on, its value to the evolution of music should not be overlooked. Sure, maybe “Master of Puppets” by Metallica and “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel are songs from two different eras that sound completely different. But, when it comes to their impact on the music world, they are indistinguishable.