The Best of 90s Music: Grunge

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the best grunge albums of the 1990s. From Nirvana to Soundgarden, these are the bands that defined the genre.

Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is one of the most iconic songs of the 90s, and for good reason. The song perfectly encapsulates the feeling of teenage angst and rebellion, two things that were central to the grunge movement. The song’s heavy guitar riff and angsty lyrics made it an instant hit with teenagers all over the world, and it remains one of Nirvana’s most popular songs to this day.

Pearl Jam- Even Flow

Formed in Seattle in 1990, Pearl Jam is one of the most influential and successful American rock bands of all time. With a sound that combined elements of classic rock, punk, and grunge, the band rose to prominence with their 1991 debut album Ten. The album featured the hit singles “Even Flow,” “Alive,” and “Jeremy,” all of which reached the Top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Over the course of their career, Pearl Jam has released eleven studio albums and has sold over thirty million records worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

Alice in Chains- Man in the Box

From the very beginning of their career, Alice in Chains established themselves as one of the heaviest and most menacing groups in rock music. Their debut album, Facelift, contained some of their best-known songs like “We Die Young” and “Man in the Box.” The latter song, in particular, showcases the band’s dark sense of humor, as well as their ability to write catchy hooks. It’s also one of the most iconic grunge songs of all time.

Soundgarden- Black Hole Sun

Grunge legends Soundgarden released their fifth studio album, Superunknown, in March of 1994. The album was an instant success, and contained the band’s most well-known and iconic song, “Black Hole Sun”. The song topped charts all over the world, and is still considered to be one of the greatest songs of the 90s.

Stone Temple Pilots- Interstate Love Song

Stone Temple Pilots were one of the most successful bands of the early 1990s, winning a Grammy for their 1994 album, Purple. They were also one of the few grunge bands to achieve mainstream success with their debut album, Core. “Interstate Love Song” was the second single from their second album, and it became one of their most iconic songs.

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