Oh, to be in Seattle in the early '90s. It was the dream of many disaffected youth who watched MTV transform from a place where C+C Music Factory could safely "go hmmmm" to a mainstream hub for the Great American Grunge Conquest. Oversized flannel replaced Hammer pants as the national uniform, and Kurt Cobain was suddenly (and unwittingly) an icon, a hero, a spokesperson for Generation X.
If you attended high school during these years, you may have witnessed girls shopping in the men's department, boys growing out their hair (and not washing it), and spontaneous mosh pits erupting during school assemblies. You may have religiously watched Cameron Crowe's Singles upon its 1992 release, and wore out the soundtrack on your new CD player. You may have even been inspired to pick up a guitar, some drumsticks or a bass to expel your own stories of teenage torment.
While Nirvana were arguably the center of all the attention with the release of Nevermind in September 1991 and the domination of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on radio and MTV they were only a small part of Seattle's roaring music scene. Pearl Jam, a group partly made up of Mother Love Bone's Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard alongside little-known vocalist Eddie Vedder, released one of the best debut albums of the decade, Ten, just weeks before Nevermind. Then there were Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, brooding bands more bred on heavy metal than rock, but both encapsulating that gray, morose, aggro-slacker masculinity that came to be dubbed "grunge." And we mustn't forget "supergroup" Temple of the Dog, or Mark Lanegan's fantastic Screaming Trees, or Green River offshoot Mudhoney, or major Cobain influence The Melvins, or even badass female party-crashers like 7 Year Bitch.
Grunge may have eventually fizzled out, but Seattle's influence marked a major change in music, and in the lives of the kids of the '90s and beyond. So throw on a flannel, start a nostalgic mosh pit and relive it all with our playlist.