Rate the "Big 4" Grunge bands

Which band has been most impactful for you?


  • Total voters
    539

Jarick

Silver Supporting Member
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10,111
Plebs. Kidding aside though, it's interesting to hear what a lot of people thought of as grunge. Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam were really thought to be outliers from the spectrum of psych/garage/punk/metal/new wave that most bands from around here seemed to encompass from one extent to another, and Candlebox touted themselves as a hard rock band.

Honestly, I think Candlebox has been a consistently good band over the years. They have several songs I enjoy off each of their albums, all the way through to the latest in 2016. Yeah the first is a bit paint by numbers but it's fun.

I also like the new AIC stuff quite a bit and think William DuVall is excellent. He's not Layne, but nobody is, and honestly there's not much hard rock to listen to anyways so take what you can get.

Not that they count, but people keep mentioning them: I liked STP a lot when they came out. Now the first album sounds like butt rock in flannel to me. I still think their third album is a masterpiece. I always thought they excelled more in that 1960s style of lounge, pop, and R&B music.

Tiny Music is absolutely brilliant, just so diverse from start to finish. Dean DeLeo's use of chords and melody is incredible, and Scott Weiland was at his absolute peak, honest, vulnerable, biting. Purple is also incredible and I enjoyed their later stuff too. The new singer doesn't bring a lot to the band unfortunately BUT he's outstanding live and it's great to see the rest of the guys able to finally enjoy touring again.
 

gaelicsolus

Silver Supporting Member
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614
I agree with this 100%. The first STP record always felt to me like a band trying hard to fit into a scene that was happening somewhere else. For the record, I love Purple and Tiny Music. I feel like that's when they were really able to flex their muscles and be the band they wanted to be.

But yeah, not a grunge band by the strictest definition.
Totally. Check out this more recent clinic with Robert DeLeo, where he goes into a bunch of their influences growing up.


I just meant that STP doesn't count because they weren't in the poll. I don't really worry about what a given genre means to someone, it's just a way for us to talk music.
 

MadFrank

Silver Supporting Member
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5,259
Looking back now, it's funny that I have the highest regard for all four bands still. Time hasn't diminished my esteem for them, rather increased it. I think I undervalued them at the time even. Nirvana were the most important to me though, and when I hear a track of theirs now I catch myself thinking that they were really great, despite the enormity of it all at the time.
 

tea312

Member
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741
Pearl Jam as a whole and for their sustainability- lead singer being alive, their still together and large body of work. However, there was this really dynamic dark thing going on between Staley’s vocals/lyrics and Jerry Cantrell’s dark guitar riff/vocal blends that made me really gravitate to A.I.C. Then, there is also this amazing vocal power and lyrical poetry that was special about Chris Cornell and Soundgarden- his stint with Audio Slave made me appreciate him more because of the way he engulfs you into the song in a story telling way, whether it was melancholy way or with a mode of outburst. Hard for me to vote on because each of the lead singer really brought something important that made the band relevant in their respectable “movement” including Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. Those 4 bands with 3 of the lead singers resting in peace really helped define the Grunge era movement. Let’s not forget while it was short lived, Temple of the Dog, it was a well formed super group in 1991.

Oh and STP is within those ranks and cannot be forgotten as they were part of that cultural movement, even if they weren’t from Seattle. Then you can’t exclude “Smashing Pumpkins” from these other bands because they also made an impact, even if they are an off shoot from the movement.
 
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JukeBoxRat

Silver Supporting Member
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1,335
Of these 4, I feel like Soundgarden was the best band with the best singer. Badmotorfinger to Down on the Upside is a pretty great 3 album run. DOTU is my favorite of their albums, which probably puts me in the minority. Don't get me wrong, Superunknown is probably their masterpiece, but DOTU just hit me at the right time and it's more of a personal thing.

That said, I voted Alice in Chains, because they're my favorite of these 4 bands and Jerry Cantrell has been a bigger influence on my playing and songwriting. Nothing I've ever done sounds remotely like AIC to me and I've never played that heavy, but their song construction and lyrics made a big impact on me as a younger person just starting to write songs in the late 90s. I also remember reading Cantrell interviews in guitar mags during that time and he comes off as a funny genuine guy. I also think the three newer albums are killer. Cantrell is still a great songwriter and I hope they keep going as long as they can. They're very much still relevant to me.

As for Nirvana and Pearl Jam, I think they're both good bands, if a touch overrrated. There's no denying the impact Nirvana made, but in all honesty, the Foo Fighters are more in my wheelhouse. Sadly, I think Cobain's death overshadows a lot of the music they made and that moment was a 'where were you when JFK was assassinated' moment for a lot of people my age. I was a senior in high school when it happened and even though I wasn't really a Nirvana fan, I can remember how stunned people were and the Unplugged show on repeat. As someone who struggles with depression, that was a bombshell moment for me, as was Cornell's more recent death.

And I keep trying to like Pearl Jam. They're my younger brother's favorite band, Eddie's a Cubs fan like everyone in my family, and I like a lot of the lyrics. That said, I just can't seem to get into them. I like a few songs here and there, but I have difficulty listening to a full album at a time. I don't think they suck or anything, though.

My 2 cents, for what it's worth.
 
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Jarick

Silver Supporting Member
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10,111
So many STP responses. My wife were at a fancy restaurant a few years back and there was this super drunk British couple and when they were sober they loved everything but the more drunk the got the more surly they got. At one point their after dessert coffee they said "this is coffee for people that hate coffee"....well that reminds me of STP. They were the Nirvana clone for people that hate Nirvana. It was clear that they were the much less cool band to me and people I knew, they seemed like opportunists jumping on a trend. The Smashing Pumpkins were great for their first two records but Mellon Collie...just seemed like a pop, made for MTV record and have only gotten worse since then.

You need to dig a little deeper. Listen to "Tiny Music" from STP.

Funny thing, when they were signed (before Nirvana broke out), they were kind of a funk rock band with some Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction in their sound. Before that, the DeLeo brothers worshipped bands like Yes, Rush, and Led Zeppelin. Scott Weiland always wanted to be David Bowie. So yes, the first album ended up being mixed to sound like a heavy grunge record (Brendan O'Brien's first big project), but the rest of them displayed a whole range of influences that are far deeper.

 
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Whittlez

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3,326
You need to dig a little deeper. Listen to "Tiny Music" from STP.

Funny thing, when they were signed (before Nirvana broke out), they were kind of a funk rock band with some Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction in their sound. Before that, the DeLeo brothers worshipped bands like Yes, Rush, and Led Zeppelin. Scott Weiland always wanted to be David Bowie. So yes, the first album ended up being mixed to sound like a heavy grunge record (Brendan O'Brien's first big project), but the rest of them displayed a whole range of influences that are far deeper.


um, i didn't say what you quoted me as saying ... it was somebody else
 

dhouse335

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
221
Pearl Jam - the peak for me is Vitalogy/No Code/Yield arc... Vs and Ten are great, but the other 3 are the top of me... I was a teenager and just a soundtrack to so much formative stuff. I am sure most of us can relate to specific music sitting in that spot
STP - the swagger and the groove are so good. The guitars on Purple and Tiny Music just have a totally different approach than the bands on this list. They are orchestral in their approach vs aggressive/hard edged (generalizing). Purple is definitely a top 5 90s album for me.

OTHERS
I can get down with some Soundgarden, especially SuperUnknown. Nirvana and AIC were never my thing.
 

Deluzion

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1,724
I love em all but in the end its Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains they are all so close though and all top favorites of mine.
 

Britishampfan

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3,034
I remember grunge being Nirvana, Pearl Jam and STP back in the day as the big three and constantly on rock radio for years and being "grunge", AIC was more on the metal charts with Soundgarden which was if I remember correctly classified as stoner along with Queens of the Stone Age or at least that's how it was sold around here.

If you remember, Nirvana was accredited for killing off hair metal, which was getting tired and stale on the air waves, but then they played the aforementioned bands to death as well.

So Nirvana and Pearl Jam getting the most plays and STP not quite as much except they got a lot of press because of Weiland`s drug escapades.

Anyway that's my take, what I remember for around these parts.
 

npappas

Member
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1,252
1. Soundgarden
2. Pearl Jam (very close, but Soundgarden interests me a little more)
--HUGE GAP--
3. Nirvana
4. STP
5. Alice In Chains
 

rock4ever

Member
Messages
79
AIC

Although I confess I hate grunge. It absolutely ruined music for me. I'd just recently discovered the big 4 of Thrash...and stuff like Iron Maiden by FotD. Then this **** comes along and turns everything upside down. MTV starts broadcasting non music related trash.

Between the bands in the polls and STP, Eddie Vedder is the only singer still alive today.
 

JeffK

Gold Supporting Member
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3,312
I dig STP more than the rest of those also, but STP was not "Grunge". The confusion comes from their timing and people not listening to anything past their first album.

Out of the poll choices, I listened to all back then, but Soundgarden is the only one that I still listen to regularly, and have all along. They had the most going on musically, that spoke to me. Cornell's death hit me kinda hard.

PJ: I liked the first two discs, and some of Vitology, but I never followed them past that point.
AIC: I listened to Facelift and Dirt a ton, but nothing past that. I've heard whatever has hit the radio since, and I take nothing away from them as a band. I just don't feel like listening to that stuff anymore.
Nirvana: I liked them well enough at the time, but they were not the most "influential" to me personally. Plus, they were so hyper-exposed back then that I just couldn't listen to them intentionally for like a decade.

Since..'95ish(?)...I've probably listened to Mother Love Bone and Temple Of The Dog more than Nirvana, AIC and Pearl Jam, put together.
 
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JukeBoxRat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,335
I don't think this had anything to do with grunge.

Yeah, it's not grunge's fault MTV decided they'd rather fart around with The Real World and that Road Rules crapola. Lame then and lame now, but I guess it paid more than music. And someone must've been watching it.
 

A-Bone

Montonero, MOY, Multitudes
Platinum Supporting Member
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108,488
Yeah, it's not grunge's fault MTV decided they'd rather fart around with The Real World and that Road Rules crapola. Lame then and lame now, but I guess it paid more than music. And someone must've been watching it.

Easier to land advertisers for structured and consistent entertainment programming than for music videos, so once the former gained a foothold on MTV, the days of video programming were numbered.
 

Hammers and chords

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
356
Soundgarden for me. Cornell was just great all-around.

Never a huge AIC guy... loved Pearl Jam and they are still making music.

STP is fine... never was a Nirvana guy (although I do love Foo Fighters!)
 




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