Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Grunge factor.....



Nope, I'm not gonna rant about Nirvana here, nor any of those history lessons where the origins/roots of grunge music in Seattle is explained in detail. Those you can read here....or here, just to name a few. What I'll scribble next (or rather type) is in reference to what makes my musical inclination ticks....yeah, it may sound cliche but I personally feel the 90s gave birth to an important; if not THE most important music genre since the Beatles re-defined the 60s with their dynamic/progressive style of music. Grunge!
Ok, just to satisfy the masses (grumble, grumble, grumble...) we can't possibly ramble on about grunge without mentioning Nirvana. Though I strongly disagree with a lot of people when they insistingly maintain that Nirvana single-handedly created the grunge frenzy which resulted in a whole new generation of rock music up till today. As a matter of preference, I listen to a lot of other grunge bands (tho' at those particular point of time, 'grunge' wasn't even an official terminology for the genre!)....and I feel that THESE bands had directly influenced Nirvana. But one can't deny the importance of the band itself. Who can say that they weren't flabbergasted upon hearing that 4-chord chugging intro riff to 'Teen Spirit back then?!

Soundgarden, on the other hand, infused punk, metal and hardcore into their style of music....and resulted in a whole different kind of grunge music! It was too bad that their best album, Badmotorfinger, was overshadowed by Nirvana's Nevermind in 1991. And hearing Chris Cornell chugging chords on his Les Paul, Ben Shepherd thumping his basslines, Matt Cameron pounding the skins, while Kim Thayil mesmerizing us all with his meditative guitar licks on his SG; makes you wonder whether is this the perfect definition of 'heavy-grunge'. Absolutely brilliant.....I still have Badmotorfinger and Down on the Upside in my car nowadays, listening to them every now and then.
Next, I don't think grunge's humble beginning is complete without mentioning Mudhoney. With their raw sound and their vocalist, Mark Arm's unique (well, not as unique as Joey Ramone's sour vocal style!) scream-like vocals, Mudhoney made some good music to help define grunge form the 80s right into the 90s. My personal favourites are Touch Me I'm Sick!...Ghost and Suck You Dry (talk about song titles!). Listening to this band play makes most of us wonder whether garage music started from these guys! Heh...

Okay, one of 'THE' influence on Kurt Cobain and most of the aspiring grungers of the 90s is a singer/guitarist aptly named J Mascis from the band Dinosaur Jr.....also one of the bands whose music CDs are most spunned in my car CD player. I absolutely love Mascis' spidery guitar solos...makes me dizzy sometimes...hahahah! But its pure power defines Dinosaur Jr's music....and not to mention their excellent drumming style; which frequently feature Mascis on the skins every now and then! Wow, before Dave Grohl did it for the Foo Fighters (refer at the end of this article), J Mascis had done it before for Dinosaur Jr! Too many good songs from this band to recommend...but if I'm forced to name a few, I'd say Feel The Pain, Out There, In A Jar and I Don't Think So. Absolute bliss....sheer indie-rock!

Hmmm...yet another band which Nirvana named as their main influence; Sonic Youth. I initially wasn't really into these guys, but I was checking out current space-rock bands like Mogwai and Explosions in The Sky, and made me realise that there is an earlier band who did it all even back then in the 80s! Sometimes their song run into 7-8 minutes....a bit tad too long to my liking, but those good ones are really good to say the least. I'm not too keen with their experimental albums though.....

The Stone Temple Pilots...or STP for short, produced some very very good memorable songs.....either through the melodic singing by versatile frontman Scott Weiland or through some hard-to-forget guitar riffs. Darn, I'm already humming to songs like Plush, Interstate Love Song, Art School Girlfriend, Lady Picture Show.....the list goes on! Some critics had openly said that STP does not fit the grunge mould, simply because they are more 'poppy' than the rest of the grunge bands mentioned earlier. But what the heck, they rock anyway......and their emergence amidst the grunge frenzy period admits them into the grunge hall of fame!

Last but definitely not least, the Foo Fighters. Most of us are aware that these guys (mostly Dave Grohl)were wrongly accused of riding on the grunge popularity started by Nirvana. Who can blame them when Grohl started the band almost immediately after Cobain's demise. Grohl's expertise as a drummer were heavilty utilised during the inception of their debut album....marking him as one of the most versatile rock musician out there! Musically, these guys effectively combine melodic style of singing, very Beatle-esque; and coupled it with very tightly played rock music. To all you newbies to the band, get ALL of their albums! That's all I can say....

Okay, the Foos weren't my last rant on grunge music. It's only fair to admit Butterfingers, a well-known Malaysian band into the list. Though I hardly doubt it when people say that this band is still into grunge-infused music at present. Earlier albums saw them capitalising the grunge phenomena with great success. So great that some hardcore fans refused to budge and still demanded the band to maintain their grungy influences for their future release. As progressive as they are, they marched on, bringing in new songs and styles as their albums continue to grow. Their latest offering, Kembali sees them dwelling into the realm of infusing traditional Malay folk tunes with modern rock sound.....and the results are brilliant! This guy here knows what he's talking about.
Ok, I'm done...

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