At the start of the '90s, it felt like the entire vibe of the '80s had overstayed its welcome. The age of the pin up stars of MTV was getting a lot staler, and it was time to bring some authenticity back into rock and roll. It wouldn't be found in LA though. For the next few years, rock's central hub was actually going to come a few miles up north.
Shifting focus to the rainy city of Seattle, bands were rising to the forefront with songs that were a lot more rough around the edges. While it may have been a bit of an adjustment, the hooks behind these songs were too infectious to ignore, culminating in the rise of the alternative movement in what would become known as the defining sound of grunge rock. When you change the game that much overnight though, there needs to be a road map for where you can go.
Across any of these records, you can find a different aspect of what made grunge so appealing in the beginning, from the pop rock masterpieces to albums that were a little bit more tortured than their counterparts. One thing to remember though: this was not meant to be for the masses. The age of the anti rock star was upon us, and things were about to get a whole lot more real.
10. Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge - Mudhoney
The core ethos of grunge always seemed to be more of a punk rock attitude than anything else. Even though bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam sounded like your typical rock bands from around that time, their approach to the spotlight was modeled off of the more off the wall bands like Fugazi or the Dead Kennedys. Not many of them had that as part of their sound though, until Mudhoney really started to get the ball rolling.
Looking to break out of the usual rock and roll sounds that he was making in Green River, Mark Arm is going for a much more abrasive sound across every one of these songs, almost giving us a '90s update of a frontman like Iggy Pop. Compared to the more scattered side of acts like Nirvana, this is probably the truest punk style album that the Seattle scene put out in its heyday, with guitars that are white hot in the mix and songs that sound like they are about to descend into chaos yet always manage to get back on track for most of the song.
Even with all of the noise though, you never forget that you're listening to a grunge album here. The minute that you put this on, you can practically feel the abysmal weather of Seattle, as these guys have nothing better to do than avoid the rain by playing loud in their basement. It might not be the most pleasant thing to listen to some of the time, but this is what probably the closest to what Seattle really sounded like in the early days.