Grunge is a musical genre derived from rock and an underground culture, which appeared in the early 1990s mainly around Seattle in Washington state.
Before being a musical and clothing style, grunge is first of all a philosophy.
Grunge is often identified as the musical genre characteristic of Generation X, a generation of fairly pessimistic people who have experienced a decline in professional life, finding it difficult to find stable and well-paid jobs. The new forms of generational precariousness are specific to it.
Simon Reynolds said in 1992: “There is a feeling of exhaustion in culture at large.
Children are depressed about the future15. "The grunge expresses a refusal of consumerism, to take its place in today's society, to become an adult, to assume responsibility, moral, rules, engendered by disappointment, disillusionment and frustration, pushing to “Think for yourself” individualism. So we can conclude that the grunge philosophy is close to that of punk rock.
It was considered to be the most popular form of alternative rock worldwide in the 1990s, thanks in particular to the groups Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains which sold millions of albums worldwide.
It is characterized by highly saturated guitars, variable time signatures and words that are apathetic or that deal with anxiety.
The grunge aesthetic is sleek compared to other forms of rock music, and many grunge musicians have been noted for their dirty looks and rejection of theatricality.
The grunge movement emerged around the independent label Sub Pop in the late 1980s.
Grunge became a commercial success in the first half of the 1990s, mainly thanks to the two albums released in 1991: Nevermind by Nirvana and Ten by Pearl Jam.
The success of these groups amplified the popularity of alternative rock and made grunge the most popular form of hard rock at the time. Although most grunge bands disappeared in the late 1990s, their influence still continues to affect today's rock music.
Musician Mark Arm, singer of Green River and later Mudhoney, was the first to use the word "grunge" to describe the "sound of Seattle".
He first used the word in 1981 in a letter to the fanzine Desperate Times which contained a review of his music group Mr. Epp and the Calculations
Musician Mark Arm says the word "grunge" was used in Australia in the mid-1980s to describe the groups King Snake Roost, The Scientists, Salamander Jim, and Beasts of Bourbon. According to Catherine Strong, the "dirty" sound of "grunge" music, the lack of professionalism and low budgets during sound recordings in the late 1980s could be behind the word.
Several factors have contributed to the decline of grunge.