Skip to main content

Is grunge poised for a comeback?

Soundgarden back in the glory days of grunge
Soundgarden back in the glory days of grunge

Tonight I wanna party like its 1993.  This desire could soon come to fruition if the signs on the wall for Grunge rock's successful comeback continue.  2009 alone saw strong new releases from grunge flag-bearers Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.  Neil Young, widely credited as the "Godfather of Grunge" also released "Fork In The Road" which was heavily accented with a muscular, gritty guitar sound that may have been another hint at the past-genre's stirring winds.   To further add fuel to the flame, Chris Cornell announced on New Year's Day that Soundgarden was officially reuniting after a 12 year break to hit the road for a tour. 

With all the signs in place, Grunge rock could be poised for a return to form especially considering the angst-y times that are still in place.  While this may be wishful thinking to a degree, the indellible work by the aforementioned bands carries plenty of merit in its own right.  Pearl Jam's albums have been decent over the years but never quite packed the wallop that we'd come to expect based on previous classics like "Ten" and "Vs."  The newest addition to their catalog "Backspacer" showed PJ rocking out with an enthusiasm and self-assurance that we haven't heard in years. 

Alice In Chains' LP-de-force "Black Gives Way To Blue" is an emphatic return to the dark, crunchy, harmony-laden hard rock of their past.  That the band was able to produce such a sludgy, swirling album with the absence of late-singer Layne Staley (new addition William DuVall does an extremely admirable job at carrying the torch) is impressive in its own right.  "Black Gives Way To Blue" is a tight collection of chugging rock slash power balladry that recreates some of the band's best moments from seminal grunge albums "Dirt" and "Jar of Flies."

Other indications include the recent Nirvana release "Live At Reading," a capsule of their 1992 performance from the English music festival.  Smashing Pumpkins with figurehead Billy Corgan are rumored to be working on a massive album project to boot.  All of this news hopefully points to some cosmic inevitable return to that music from the early 90s that was hard-charged, intelligent, and most importantly, LOUD.