The Best 80s Grunge Music You Need to Hear

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of 80s grunge music, then you need to check out this blog post. It features a list of the best 80s grunge music you need to hear.


Grunge music first hit the mainstream in the early 1990s, and quickly became one of the most popular genres of music. While the genre has its roots in punk rock and alternative rock, it is also heavily influenced by heavy metal. Grunge music is characterized by its raw, distorted sound and its dark, often depressive lyrics.

While grunge music was mainstream for only a few years, it left a lasting impact on both the music industry and popular culture. Many of the biggest names in grunge are still active today, and the genre continues to influence new artists. If you’re a fan of grunge music, or if you’re just curious about what all the fuss was about, check out our list of the best 80s grunge songs below.

The Best 80s Grunge Music

Grunge music first became popular in the late 1980s, with bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. The music is characterized by its distorted guitars, angry lyrics, and dark subject matter. If you’re a fan of grunge music, or if you’re just curious about what it sounds like, then check out this list of the best 80s grunge music.

Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is one of the most iconic grunge songs of all time. The song was released in 1991 as the lead single from Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became a huge success, propelling Nirvana to superstardom. The song popularized the grunge sound and established Nirvana as one of the most important bands of the 1990s.

Alice in Chains- Man in the Box

If you’re looking for the best 80s grunge music, look no further than Alice in Chains and their song “Man in the Box.” This song defined the genre with its heavy guitars and anguished vocals, and is still considered one of the best grunge songs of all time.

Soundgarden- Rusty Cage

“Rusty Cage” is a song by American rock band Soundgarden. Written by frontman Chris Cornell, “Rusty Cage” was released in 1992 as the fifth single from the band’s third studio album, Badmotorfinger (1991). The song was included on Soundgarden’s 1997 greatest hits album, A-Sides.

The song’s title comes from a line in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate. Director John Frankenheimer showed Cornell the film shortly before the song was written. In an interview, Cornell explained that he “was just always kind of fascinated by that movie and that scene in particular”. He further commented, “It just seemed like such an odd thing for somebody to be saying.”

Pearl Jam- Alive

Alive is a song by American rock band Pearl Jam. It is the first single from the band’s debut album, Ten. Released in 1991, the song peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The music video features concert footage of the band performing at Seattle’s Pink Taco. Alive was included on Pearl Jam’s 2004 greatest hits album, rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003).

Mudhoney- Touch Me I’m Sick

Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick” was released in 1988 as the lead single from the group’s debut album, Superfuzz Bigmuff. The song helped to establish Mudhoney as one of the leading bands of the Seattle grunge scene, and its video was commonly played on MTV’s alternative music show, 120 Minutes.


When it comes to 80s grunge music, there are a lot of different directions you can go in. However, if you want to hear the best of what the genre has to offer, then you need to check out the music of these five artists. Each one brought something unique and important to the table, and their contributions helped shaped grunge into the genre we know and love today.

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