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Post-grunge

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Post-grunge

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Post-grunge (referred to as nu-grunge in Britain) is a subgenre of American alternative rock that emerged in the mid-1990s as an offshoot of the Seattle grunge movement.

It is characterized by its radio-friendly style, distorted but often simple guitar riffs, and "soft verse, loud chorus" song patterning. In its broadest sense, post-grunge refers to any band influenced by the original grunge sound. As such it encompases a wide variety of styles and can be used to describe bands ranging from Sugar Ray and Cake to Godsmack and Filter.

However, the term is now most often used in reference to the ubiquitous pop rock music of the late nineties produced by bands such as Third Eye Blind and matchbox twenty. At the turn of the millennium post-grunge began to experience a stronger resurgence as bands like Puddle of Mudd and Nickelback began to gain popularity. Some of these newer bands alienated fans of the original grunge and early post-grunge sound, and are often referred to simply as either alternative rock or "modern rock" rather than post-grunge.

Many grunge and early post-grunge songs can still be heard on commercial radio.

Contents

History

Post-grunge developed from the grunge music scene of the early 1990s. The breakout success of bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam led to record labels becoming intensely interested not only in grunge, but also in alternative rock in general. By 1993 some of the first post-grunge bands, notably Collective Soul and Live, had been signed to major labels and were beginning to garner mainstream attention.

It is interesting to note, however, that most of these bands were not labeled "grunge" at the time (Bush being an exception); rather, they were lumped into the more general category of alternative rock with bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and R.E.M., whom radio stations found unclassifiable at the time. In fact, some early post-grunge bands appear to owe more to traditional 1970s album rock than the underground punk and metal that inspired Seattle grunge bands.

In 1995 Foo Fighters released their self-titled debut album. There was much hype surrounding the album, since two of the band's members - Dave Grohl and Pat Smear - had been involved with Nirvana, one of the key bands of the early 1990s grunge movement. The album was well-received and the term "post-grunge" was coined to describe this new, radio-friendly, "life after Nirvana" sound. Following the Foo Fighters' success, several of the aforementioned bands (who were roughly similar in style) began to be labeled as post-grunge as well and the genre began to come into its own.

During the next few years the key early post-grunge bands continued to meet with critical and commercial success, as did newcomers such as Better Than Ezra and Sponge. Although these bands and several others helped to spread the genre's popularity, their successes were eclipsed by the explosion of popularity that resulted from Australian band Silverchair's debut album, Frogstomp, in late 1995. The album became a multi-platinum international hit and made the young band one of the highest grossing acts in the world. Frogstomp's release also helped divide post-grunge bands into two categories: those who came before Frogstomp, and those who came after, much as Nirvana's Nevermind album had helped do with grunge a half-decade earlier.

During the rest of the decade, post-grunge continued to gain mainstream popularity and by 1998 it and pop punk (the two genres themselves having somewhat meshed together by this point) were arguably the two most popular genres of American alternative rock. Newer bands such as Third Eye Blind and Matchbox Twenty produced some of the biggest hit singles of the latter 1990s.

Despite the increased number of post-grunge artists, no city or region ever emerged as a clear focal point for the genre. This was in stark contrast to original grunge, which was centered around Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps the closest analog for post-grunge was the central Florida area, where an exceptional number of post-grunge bands emerged in the late 1990s, the most important of which being Creed and Matchbox Twenty. Silverchair's time in the limelight had begun to fade by the time that Creed's second album, Human Clay, was released in 1999. That album went on to surpass even Frogstomp in terms of sales and airplay, selling over eleven million copies and becoming the biggest commercial hit since Nevermind.

Although by 2000 post-grunge was still going strong, several other musical styles were gaining increased radio play, especially hip hop and boy bands, and alternative rock began to lose the strong grip it had held on pop music in the US throughout most of the 1990s. It should also be noted that at this point the genres within alternative rock had become so intertwined (most, although not all, of the newer post-grunge bands also incorporated equal parts of pop punk or nu metal into their music) that the term "post-grunge" fell out of favour and "modern rock" or "nu-rock" began to replace it as a catch-all term. This trend continues as of 2005 and, although it is rarely referred to as "post-grunge" anymore, the genre continues to be a serious influence in modern rock with bands such as Nickelback, Puddle of Mudd, Staind, 3 Doors Down and Audioslave enjoying immense success.

Comparison to grunge

Post-grunge is often characterized as being less "dirty" and having a more mainstream sound than other grunge subgenres. Some believe that the entire subgenre was actually created by music label executives as a way to repackage grunge as pop music and market it to mainstream audiences. This directly contrasts with the original "anti-corporate rock" ethic that had spawned grunge music during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thus, many grunge fans revile post-grunge and denounce these bands as sellouts.

Traditional rock fans may criticize post-grunge as being derivative music that merely copies the influences of older bands rather than creating new ideas. The band Creed, for example, is often derided as a "knockoff" of Pearl Jam. Other newer music subgenres such as nu metal (to metal) and pop punk (to punk) are also criticized for similar reasons. Detractors occasionally use the umbrella term "nu rock" to describe all of these genres. However, the term has recently fallen out of favor, as there is now a considerable blurring of the line between genres; instead, most people once again use alternative rock as a catch-all term.

Early post-grunge

(approximately 1993-1996)

Better Than Ezra
Bush
Candlebox
Cake
Collective Soul
Dishwalla
Dog's Eye View
Everclear
Foo Fighters
Goo Goo Dolls
Life of Agony
Live
Seven Mary Three
Silverchair
Sponge
Third Eye Blind
Toadies
The Wallflowers

'Second wave' post-grunge

(approximately 1996-2000)

Athenaeum
Chris Cornell's solo effort(s)
Creed
Collapsis
Days of the New
The Eels
Eve 6
Fastball
Filter
The Flys
Fuel
Godsmack
Harvey Danger
Jerry Cantrell
Lit
Local H
Marcy Playground
Marvelous 3
Matchbox Twenty
Nickelback
The Nixons
Oleander
Our Lady Peace
Semisonic
Sugar Ray
Tonic
The Verve
The Verve Pipe

Modern post-grunge

(approximately 2000-present)

3 Doors Down
A Perfect Circle
Alter Bridge
Audioslave
Breaking Benjamin
Breaking Point
The Calling
Chevelle
Cold
Course of Nature
Crossfade
The Damning Well
Default
Dropbox
Dust for Life
Eleven To One
The Exies
Finger Eleven
Forty Foot Echo
Future Leaders of the World
Injected
Institute
Lifehouse
The Livewire
Our Lady Peace
Manmade God
No Address
Puddle of Mudd
Ra
Saliva
Scott Stapp
Seether
Shinedown
Socialburn
Smile Empty Soul
Staind
Tantric
Theory of a Deadman
Thornley
Velvet Revolver

See also

External links


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