with all this 90s nostalgia going on, especially with 20th anniversary of the release of nirvana’s nevermind and pearl jam’s ten, i felt the need to post something about grunge.
of all the youth movements that have gone before us, “grunge” was the cultural touchstone that dominated the psyche and zeitgeist of my generation. there was something about the melancholic mood of the US pacific northwest, the grit of gnawing guitars and the sound of depressive rock stars that just melded well with what we were going through in 1991-1994 – we were all on the verge of adolescence filled with confusion, rage and hormones. and with nirvana’s seminal hit “smells like teen spirit”, the title alone made every 12-13-14 year old kid in 1991 feel like this song was for ME!
i was enamored by the whole scene and most especially loved the movie singles, it was a tragically hip movie of the time, a story of 20-somethings living the life in seattle. and it also came with the most amazing soundtrack ever. this cult classic dictated the music, lifestyle and fashion of the early 90s. i remember having to pause the laser disc every so often to take note of bridget fonda’s clothes.
i had also begged my mother to buy me doc marten’s boots and flannel on melrose ave. i also bought several bootcut ripped jeans and granny/kinderwhore dresses from contempo casuals. just like angela chase and rayanne graf of my so-called life.
if you’re a girl my age and had a rebellious streak, you were bound to be a grunge girl – opinionated, independent, strong, adventurous and a little ahead of your time. this was because of all the cool 90s chicks who were so popular back then. and here are some of my own favorites-
glam rock had all the groupies that came hand-in-hand with the music, 90s grunge had these chicks. kim gordon, shirley manson, PJ harvey, liz phair, darcy, tori amos, melissa auf der maur, hope sandoval – all these women were just so amazing. i remember being 14 or 15 and watching MTV and seeing how badass they were. they all spoke their minds and rocked as hard as their male contemporaries.
when i look at pop/rock stars of this generation, i feel they lack the chutzpah and depth of the women we looked up to in the 90s. they’re all so boring and cookie-cutter and i also think kids today don’t have shared cultural high points anymore. maybe it’s technology’s fault – they can access videos and music at their own convenience via the internet.
modern pleasures are not entirely a bad thing but this also lends to a generation consisting of little islands of people. my peers? we had come of age in an era where everything stopped when the new soundgarden video came out or the first time a new rage against the machine song played on NU. we also had the collective shock of hearing one of the heroes of our generation committing suicide. everybody remembers where they were when they heard the news that kurt cobain shot himself.
so it makes me smile to hear that a few young ones discover grunge and that whole early 90s scene and they start worshipping the same artists we loved growing up. and why not? i think my peers and i turned out quite well.
that said, i feel a little old yet nostalgic whenever i read or hear things about the music that dominated my youth. as they say, the music you were listening to when you were 14 stays with you forever and i couldn’t agree more. when i get sick of hearing all these hipster-y stuff, i click to my “grunge” playlist and i instantly feel like i’m a kid again.
despite all the trappings and luxuries of modern adulthood, i still feel like that grunge girl back in the 90s – i like to rock out in my flannels, ripped jeans and doc marten’s when the occasion calls for it. and i’m still a little bit fascinated by a rock scene of the past and re-living the good old days.
and seriously – those were REALLY good times. like this :
and i was there!