Controversial music takes (3 Viewers)

superchuck500

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Maybe get something off your chest? Maybe end up in a fight?

I'll start.

I like Jane's Addiction. A lot. I can still listen to their albums - they're killer. But "Jane Says" is a lame song. Don't ever need to hear it again.
 

bclemms

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I told my wife this last night, and I think it qualifies.

Foo Fighters these days are considered a Gen X alt rock legend. However, they mostly sort of defaulted into that slot due to everyone else breaking up and/or dying.

The original tier 1 of Alt Rock was Nirvana, PJ, Soundgarden, AIC, and STP. Back when alt rock was actually happening, Foo Fighters were a very clear tier 2 band, and were never considered to be peers to that upper tier that I just mentioned.

It just happens that they eventually earned it via attrition, as it's only them and Pearl Jam (top 1 [tm]) still around.

PS - I love Foo Fighters, so this isn't meant as a shot at them. Just an observation.
Smashing Pumpkins should not be left off the tier 1 group.

Foo Fighters were really almost like tier 3 but like you said, survival and turtle winning the race sort of thing.
 

Sun Wukong

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Smashing Pumpkins should not be left off the tier 1 group.

Foo Fighters were really almost like tier 3 but like you said, survival and turtle winning the race sort of thing.
This all seems kind of arbitrary.

First, we must admit to ourselves that "grunge" wasn't ever really a thing outside of fashion/aesthetics. The four bands that that supposedly embody it actually have shockingly little stylistic overlap: Pearl Jam was a slightly harder college rock band, Alice in Chains had a great deal of blues and metal influence, Stone Temple Pilots were a fairly typical alt-rock band, and Nirvana was, by Cobian's own admission, ripping off The Pixies.

Their greatest commonality was in flannel and Doc Martens and the area of the country in which they originated, not the types of music they were playing.

Foo Fighters was born out of the collapse of that era (which only really lasted a few short years as a national thing. As a cultural moment it was already starting to fray by 1994 and was essentially dead by '95.), but their sound has always hedged much closer to mainstream alt-rock (and sometimes even just plain old stadium rock) than anything. I get that people are going to make those comparisons because of Dave Grohl's position in Nirvana, but it's a bit like saying that Wings was just a weaker version of The Beatles. It's not particularly accurate.
 

bclemms

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This all seems kind of arbitrary.

First, we must admit to ourselves that "grunge" wasn't ever really a thing outside of fashion/aesthetics. The four bands that that supposedly embody it actually have shockingly little stylistic overlap: Pearl Jam was a slightly harder college rock band, Alice in Chains had a great deal of blues and metal influence, Stone Temple Pilots were a fairly typical alt-rock band, and Nirvanna was, by Cobian's own admission, ripping off The Pixies.

Their greatest commonality was in flannel and Doc Martens and the area of the country in which they originated, not the types of music they were playing.

Foo Fighters was born out of the collapse of that era (which only really lasted a few short years as a national thing. As a cultural moment it was already starting to fray by 1994 and was essentially dead by '95.), but their sound has always hedged much closer to mainstream alt-rock (and sometimes even just plain old stadium rock) than anything.
All of it is arbitrary then. Every musician has had some sort of influence from those that came before them.
 
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superchuck500

superchuck500

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This all seems kind of arbitrary.

First, we must admit to ourselves that "grunge" wasn't ever really a thing outside of fashion/aesthetics. The four bands that that supposedly embody it actually It’s have shockingly little stylistic overlap: Pearl Jam was a slightly harder college rock band, Alice in Chains had a great deal of blues and metal influence, Stone Temple Pilots were a fairly typical alt-rock band, and Nirvanna was, by Cobian's own admission, ripping off The Pixies.

Their greatest commonality was in flannel and Doc Martens and the area of the country in which they originated, not the types of music they were playing.

Foo Fighters was born out of the collapse of that era (which only really lasted a few short years as a national thing. As a cultural moment it was already starting to fray by 1994 and was essentially dead by '95.), but their sound has always hedged much closer to mainstream alt-rock (and sometimes even just plain old stadium rock) than anything.
Agree. Alternative challenged mainstream or otherwise established sonic landscapes. Most grunge was a certain veneer on what was otherwise mainstream rock or hard rock. “Alt-rock” was an ascendant marketing label that network radio and MTV commandeered to sell things to young, mostly white audiences fed up with top 40 and looking for a classic rock of their own.

Mass-consumption “alt” acts like Radiohead, Beck, and RHCP were probably more alt than Pearl Jam, STP, Alice, and Soundgarden. Their records were more divergent, more “alternative” to mainstream/established songs/sounds. Nirvana being the exception of course - they’re unique IMO.

That’s not to say that Pearl Jam, STP, Alice, and Soundgarden didn’t have their moments - they made some great albums. Some really quality rock stuff. I’m talking more about the idea that they somehow embody “alt-rock” - they don’t. I’m with you on that.
 
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Dago

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Agree. Alternative challenged mainstream or otherwise established sonic landscapes. Most grunge was a certain veneer on what was otherwise mainstream rock or hard rock. “Alt-rock” was an ascendant marketing label that network radio and MTV commandeered to sell things to young, mostly white audiences fed up with top 40 and looking for a classic rock of their own.

Mass-consumption “alt” acts like Radiohead, Beck, and RHCP were probably more alt than Pearl Jam, STP, Alice, and Soundgarden. Their records were more divergent, more “alternative” to mainstream/established songs/sounds. Nirvana being the exception of course - they’re unique IMO.

That’s not to say that Pearl Jam, STP, Alice, and Soundgarden didn’t have their moments - they made some great albums. Some really quality rock stuff. I’m talking more about the idea that they somehow embody “alt-rock” - they don’t. I’m with you on that.
For the most part I will take Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and STP over Nirvana any day of the week.
I dont think anybody could objectively argue that, of those 4 bands, Nirvana with Kurt Cobain had the least talent as far as vocal quality
 

Maxp

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I could never rate Pearl Jam over Nirvana. Nirvana unplugged>rest. Maybe AIC is close. I love Bob Dylan, but can't stand the song Hurricane. Finally, Muse crushes Radiohead.
 

Dago

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I could never rate Pearl Jam over Nirvana. Nirvana unplugged>rest. Maybe AIC is close. I love Bob Dylan, but can't stand the song Hurricane. Finally, Muse crushes Radiohead.
I really like Nirvana but IMO there is no comparison purely on vocal quality. Vedder, Cornell, and Weiland all had better quality voices
 

sfidc3

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Stone Temple Pilots were a fairly typical alt-rock band
I respectfully disagree, there was nothing typical about STP. I'm probably in the minority here but i think they were by far the best band to come out of the grunge era.

I can tell you if you are a musician than you know their songs, the way the instruments were arranged was way more complex/advanced then those other bands.

They also had the distinction of changing their sound multiple times. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, as soon as you heard them you knew it was them. STP? Not always.....

STP was a great, great band.....
 

Loose Cannon

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Agree. Alternative challenged mainstream or otherwise established sonic landscapes. Most grunge was a certain veneer on what was otherwise mainstream rock or hard rock. “Alt-rock” was an ascendant marketing label that network radio and MTV commandeered to sell things to young, mostly white audiences fed up with top 40 and looking for a classic rock of their own.

Mass-consumption “alt” acts like Radiohead, Beck, and RHCP were probably more alt than Pearl Jam, STP, Alice, and Soundgarden. Their records were more divergent, more “alternative” to mainstream/established songs/sounds. Nirvana being the exception of course - they’re unique IMO.

That’s not to say that Pearl Jam, STP, Alice, and Soundgarden didn’t have their moments - they made some great albums. Some really quality rock stuff. I’m talking more about the idea that they somehow embody “alt-rock” - they don’t. I’m with you on that.
Alt rock at the time was simply rock that was divergent from the hair metal that was popular then. It's not really much more complicated than that. A few of the alt-rock bands (early AIC and Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog a little bit) even have some remnants of that style that you can hear in their work. Soundgarden's "Searching With my Good Eyes Closed" edges right up to the line of hair metal, "Say Hello To Heaven" by Temple of the Dog, a lot of AIC songs do as well. So some bands sort of grew into alt-rock out of the more hair-metal stuff, and some like PJ and Nirvana started out already divergent.

Grunge isn't arbitrary. It's one of the more easily defined genres in the last 50 years. If you ask 20 people who lived through it to name the five most iconic grunge bands, you're going to get the same 5 almost every time (PJ, Nirvana, Soundgarden, AIC, STP).

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg sound nothing alike. That doesn't mean Compton gangster rap wasn't a very easily definable and recognizable sound.

You make an interesting and good point about the sort of "off to the side" alt bands being less mainstream. Tool would be another one to throw into your group. Nine Inch Nails. Lots of different, distinct sounds in that sort of "not grunge but in the orbit of it" group.
 

gboudx

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A few of the alt-rock bands (early AIC and Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog a little bit) even have some remnants of that style that you can hear in their work. Soundgarden's "Searching With my Good Eyes Closed" edges right up to the line of hair metal, "Say Hello To Heaven" by Temple of the Dog, a lot of AIC songs do as well.
Temple of the Dog was basically a supergroup collaboration of members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Just in case you weren't aware of this, and probably why some of the sound is comparable. I mean, "Hunger Strike" was a duet between Cornell and Vedder. It doesn't get more awesome than that.
 

Loose Cannon

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Temple of the Dog was basically a supergroup collaboration of members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Just in case you weren't aware of this, and probably why some of the sound is comparable. I mean, "Hunger Strike" was a duet between Cornell and Vedder. It doesn't get more awesome than that.
Yeah - Cornell and Staley both had some vocals that blurred the line between alt and hair metal.

Both Temple of the Dog and Mad Season were awesome one-album super groups.
 
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superchuck500

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Alt rock at the time was simply rock that was divergent from the hair metal that was popular then. It's not really much more complicated than that. A few of the alt-rock bands (early AIC and Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog a little bit) even have some remnants of that style that you can hear in their work. Soundgarden's "Searching With my Good Eyes Closed" edges right up to the line of hair metal, "Say Hello To Heaven" by Temple of the Dog, a lot of AIC songs do as well. So some bands sort of grew into alt-rock out of the more hair-metal stuff, and some like PJ and Nirvana started out already divergent.
I don't disagree with your observations about how it was labeled at that time but you're illustrating my point. Through mid-1991, "alternative" referred a wide range of music that was technically best described as rock, but nothing like mainstream rock on radio and MTV (which, with a few exceptions, was mainly hair bands). It included sub-genres of 'college radio' and even some remnants of punk in the US, some more ethereal/emo/goth stuff mainly coming from the UK, and a whole sub-genre of electronic-based rock.

Pixies, Sonic Youth, Jane's Addiction, Stone Roses . . . those were the sort of standard-bearers of "alternative rock" before the grunge/Seattle thing started hitting in late '91. And some the 90s most noteworthy bands were genuinely alt-rock but aren't grunge by any means (Radiohead, Pavement, Ween, etc.).

I think if you look at lists by competent publications (Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Consequence of Sound) of the best albums of the 90s, or even the best alternative albums of the 90s, Nevermind is the only Seattle/grunge album in the top 10. I'm not saying that's gospel or that it must be accepted - those lists are obviously highly subjective. I'm only saying that I take issue with people using "alt-rock" and grunge co-extensively without acknowledging that alt-rock is a much wider net than that, and most of the really noteworthy alt-rock wasn't made by Seattle/grunge bands.
 

gboudx

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Throwing in this PSA. If you have SiriusXM, Tom Morello's show had a Chris Cornell tribute show last week. It's definitely worth the ~1.5 hour listen. You can find it on the app.
 

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