Thursday, 28 January 2010

Come as They Were

It is often said that history repeats itself and the history of modern music is no exception. The 21st century has so far seen revivals of the classic rock of the 60's and 70's, jazz, blues, soul, folk and punk to name but a few.

Recently there has been a resurrected interest in the metal scene of around 20 years ago. Bands like The Darkness and Steel Panther with their screaming lead guitars and wailing falsetto voices singing of conquests and debauchery, regaling the audience with stories of lives dreamed of by many but lived by few.

At the end of the 80's the disenfranchised youths of Seattle developed into a somewhat inbred subculture and, armed with little more than budget guitars and bucket-loads of angst, began to wage war on popular music. With Sub-Pop records being their base of operations bands such as Mudhoney, Soundgarden and, of course, Nirvana soon began to gain popularity (thanks, I might add, to the support of the British musical press) and the characteristic 'seattle sound' began to spread like the plague.

It wasn't long before the kids of the world turned to this new phenomena and Grunge was accepted into the global scene. Here was music they could play themselves, artists who perfectly expressed how they were feeling and in a way they could relate to. The Grunge movement was born and it wasn't long before seemingly everyone had that naked baby in their music collection.

In the years since it's conception grunge has continued to be a marked influence on alternative music in one way or another. Be it explicitly in the sounds created or less obviously in the processes, fashions or attitudes of artists. It is difficult to imagine what the musical landscape would have been like without grunge (and of course it's similarly anti-conventional predecessors).

It seems that a Grunge revival is almost inevitable in the current climate. Music has once again become a relatively exclusive club, young people are as angry as ever, fashion and celebrity have continued to homogenise our society and of course, the older generations would hate it.

Over recent years we have seen reunions from some of Grunge's titans. Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and Smashing Pumpkins have all either produced new albums or are working on new material while Soundgarden have announced they will be reforming. Some bands, such as Mudhoney and Pearl Jam never really went away in the first place.

Perhaps this renewed dominance of the archetypal Seattle bands will be the spark that is needed, or maybe the apathy of the young will be all that is required, whichever route we take I believe we haven't heard the last of the big G....

.....and I, for one, am glad.

No comments:

Post a Comment