Best Grunge Music of 2017

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


It’s been a great year for Grunge Music. Here are some of the best songs of 2017 that you may have missed.

Soundgarden- “Rusty Cage”

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

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1992. The music video, directed by Mark Pellington and filmed in Los Angeles, features the band performing in an abandoned warehouse.

Alice in Chains- “Would?”

Alice in Chains is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley. The initial lineup was rounded out by singer Mike Starr and drummer Sean Kinney. Although widely associated with grunge music, the band’s sound incorporates heavy metal elements. Since its formation, Alice in Chains has released six studio albums, three EPs, two live albums, 32 singles, and 16 music videos. The band is known for its distinctive vocal style, which often included the harmonized vocals of Staley and Cantrell.

“Would?” is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains. It was released as a single from the band’s second studio album, Dirt (1992). The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1993. The music video for “Would?” was filmed in December 1992 and features footage of the band performing live.

The song has been included on several of the band’s greatest hits compilations, including Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), Music Bank (1999), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006).

Nirvana- “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Nirvana was one of the leading bands of the grunge movement of the early 1990s. Hailing from Aberdeen, Washington, Nirvana was founded by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. The duo recruited drummer Dave Grohl in 1990, and the trio released its debut album, Bleach, on the independent label Sub Pop in 1989. After signing to DGC Records in 1991, Nirvana released its second album, Nevermind, which became a breakout success due to the popularity of its lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The follow-up to Nevermind, In Utero (1993), featured more abrasive tracks and charted at number one. Cobain committed suicide in 1994 at age 27; Nirvana disbanded soon afterward. Following a decade-long hiatus and various posthumous releases, Grohlfounded Foo Fighters as his new musical project in 1995.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song by American rock band Nirvana. It is the opening track and lead single from the band’s second album, Nevermind (1991), released on DGC Records. The sudden success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” led to accusations that it had been manufactured by DGC Records to sell records and put alternative music into heavy rotation on radio and music television.[3][4] In retrospect however, critics have noted that the song APPEARS to celebrate teenage rebellion while cleverly hiding darker themes just below its surface.[5][6]

Nirvana recorded “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in May 1991 at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys California with producer Butch Vig.[7][8] Vig suggested some arrangement changes prior to recording; for example, moving a guitar riff from after the chorus back to before it.[9] Cobain made several changes to Vig’s suggestions—including moving a guitar solo closer to the end of the song,[10]and layering his vocals.[11]

The song was first performed live on April 5th 1991 when Nirvana served as an opening act for Sonic Youth at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas Texas.[12]Since then it has been performed live more than any other song by Nirvana.[13]”Smells Like Teen Spirit” reached number six on Billboard magazine’s Alternative Songs chart[14]and marked a major shift from underground music to mainstream popularity for alternative rock music.[15][16][17][18?]

Pearl Jam- “Alive”

Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. The band’s lineup consists of founder Eddie Vedder (lead vocals, guitar), Mike McCready (lead guitar), Jeff Ament (bass) and Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar). Since its inception, Pearl Jam has been cited as a key member of the Seattle grunge scene, having influenced many other punk rock and alternative rock bands.

“Alive” is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. It is the opening track on the band’s debut album, Ten (1991), and also appears on the live album Live on Two Legs (1998). The song peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song entered Pearl Jam’s setlists regularly throughout their career until frontman Eddie Vedder started showing signs of vocal strain in 2006. It was then revived in 2010 and has been performed regularly since then.

Stone Temple Pilots- “Sex Type Thing”

Stone Temple Pilots released their debut album, Core, in 1992. The album went on to sell over eight million copies and catapulted the band to stardom. “Sex Type Thing” is one of the most iconic tracks off of the album, and it remains a fan favorite to this day.

The song is a searing indictment of rape culture and the objectification of women. It was controversial when it was first released, but it has only become more relevant in the years since. If you’re looking for a powerful, cathartic song to help you vent your frustrations, “Sex Type Thing” is essential listening.

Mudhoney- “Touch Me I’m Sick”

One of the biggest anthems of the 90s grunge movement was Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick”. The song was released in 1988, but it took a few years for the general public to catch on to the Seattle sound. When Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” exploded in 1991, “Touch Me I’m Sick” was there to represent the old guard.

The song is a perfect encapsulation of the grunge aesthetic. The opening riff is catchy and distorted, the verse is delivered with apathy and contempt, and the chorus is an anthem for outcasts everywhere. It’s a perfect representation of the anger and frustration that many teenagers felt in the early 90s.

If you’re looking for a quintessential grunge song, look no further than “Touch Me I’m Sick”.

Screaming Trees- “Nearly Lost You”

While there are a ton of great Screaming Trees songs, “Nearly Lost You” is definitely one of the best. The song is just over three minutes long, but it packs a huge punch. The opening guitar riff is catchy and immediately grabs your attention, and the vocals are absolutely incredible. The lyrics are dark and mysterious, and they perfectly capture the feeling of being lost in love.

L7- “Pretend We’re Dead”

L7 is an American grunge band from Los Angeles, California, United States. They were active from 1985 to 2001, and reunited in 2014. Due to their heavy touring schedule and DIY attitude, they have been sometimes referred to as “The Spice Girls of Grunge”.

The band was formed by Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner in 1985. They were joined by Jennifer Finch on bass and Roy Koutsky on drums. Ellen Willis of The Village Voice called L7 “the most hard-rocking women this side of Helen Reddy”, while their music has also been compared to that of Nirvana and the Pixies.

Hole- “Celebrity Skin”

Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” is one of the best grunge songs of 2017. The song is about the dark side of celebrity culture and the pressure to be perfect. The lyrics are dark and biting, and the music is heavy and driving. This is a great song for fans of grunge music.

Bush- “Glycerine”

“Glycerine” is a song by English alternative rock band Bush. It was released in November 1995 as the fourth single from their debut album, Sixteen Stone. The song is in the key of F major. The main guitar riff was written by Gavin Rossdale.

In October 2011, NME placed it at number 17 on its list “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years”. In December 2011, after frontman Gavin Rossdale’s ranking of his top 10 favorite songs he has written, Billboard listed “Glycerine” at number 4 on their own list of Bush’s top 10 greatest tracks.

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