Actually grunge was mentioned already in the 1960s and 70s, though it wasn't a music genre yet, more an idea to describe a rough and dirty sound free from any artificial producing. Bands who liked to experiment in this direction were for example Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Stooges and Velvet Underground. Let's listen for a while...
Quite a difference, right? The real era of grunge started in the first half of the 1990s with the release of Nirvana's record "Nevermind" and Pearl Jam's "Ten". Suddenly everything was about grunge! But why did it become so famous? Because of the sludgy guitar sound and the fusion of hardcore punk and heavy metal?
I think the answer lies more in the lyrics and the attitude. Similar to punk, grunge shares a raw and rebellious sound combined with angst-filled lyrics which addressed the concerns of the generation: the fear of social alienation, apathy, confinement and also the desire for freedom. We basically found our friends...
"I'm so happy. Cause today I found my friends.
They're in my head. I'm so ugly. But that's ok.
'Cause so are you."
The grunge concerts were known for being straightforward, high-energy performances. Grunge bands rejected the complex and high budget presentations of many musical genres, the primary objective was not to entertain, but simply to "rock out". Do you feel the energy?
The clothing emphasized the attitude. The style did not evolve out of a conscious attempt to create a fashion style; it had to be cheap, durable, and kind of timeless. All in all a contrast to the flashy aesthetic of the 80s.