…the list continues. Let’s get right to it. Oh yes, this is not a top ten, just 10 definitive grunge rock albums. And there have been notable omissions as well. Read the complete post to find out.
06 Temple Of The Dog – Temple Of The Dog
Now, what happens when you put two of the best grunge vocalists in one band? This is exactly why Temple of The Dog deserves a mention. Cornell And Vedder were the two frontliners for the band. Both vocalists are exquisite in their own way. Songs like Say Hello To Heaven and Hunger Strike, strike off as instant hits but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Other notable tracks like “Call me a dog”, “Times of trouble”, “Pushing forward back” and “all night thing” really have a lot to offer. Add in to the mix the guitar works of Stone Gossard and Mike McCready and you are in for a grunge treat.
07 Nirvana – In Utero
The third and final studio album of the classic grunge rockers really deserves a mention on this list. From the off beat “Dumb” to the more progressive and experimental “Milk It”, this album was unique in its own way. I feel this was the most progressive of all Nirvana albums.
On a personal level I would rate it higher than Nevermind but keeping in mind the title of this list, this entry comes at No. 7. In Utero showcased a very different Nirvana. It showed that the band can make up tempo and raw tracks as well as more refined and mellow tracks. Rape Me and Heart Shaped Box bear testament to the former and Dumb and All Apologies to the latter. Overall this album had pretty much everything one looks for in a grunge album. The only thing was that Cobain had mellowed down a bit and this change was welcomed.
08 Mad Season – Above
This is such an under-rated album. According to me Staley puts on one of his best vocal performances for Mad Season. Mad Season released their one and only album, Above, which notched an honest-to-God radio hit with “River of Deceit” – something that higher-profile side projects Brad and Temple of the Dog never managed.
Efforts to record a follow-up in 1997 went nowhere. River of Deceit is not the highlight of the album though. Other tracks feature a range of Staley which had never been seen when he fronted Alice in Chains, and with Mike McCready at the guitar there was always a nice smooth acoustic undertone prevalent in the album. This album might not be very definitive but it’s one of those grunge rock albums which you listen to when you have a bad day and all you want to do is open your finest bottle and relax.
09 Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff
When Seattle rock band Green River split in 1987, bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard went on to form Mother Love Bone, which evolved into Pearl Jam after the death of singer Andrew Wood. Green River frontman Mark Arm and guitarist Steve Turner went off in a different direction, forming Mudhoney.
While they never had anything close to the success of Pearl Jam, Mudhoney found a devoted audience from the start that has stayed with them to this day. Their debut EP, Superfuzz Bigmuff, is an absolute grunge classic, and evidence to many that the genre peaked in the Eighties – years before the media became obsessed with it. This grunge rock album was by far the first grunge album all the above artists were inspired from. They were not able to bring it into the mainstream as successfully as their counterparts but nevertheless possessed the natural and raw grunge sound. The first of it’s kind.
10 Alice in Chains – MTV Unplugged
The thing about Staley is that he has the most unique and reflective voice. He could make a jazz song sound like a grunge song. This grunge rock album portrayed a more mellow and melancholic version of already mellow and melancholic songs. From the opener “Nutshell” to “Killer is Me”, this album is just fantastic. The synchronizing harmonies between Layne and Jerry are almost very clearly heard in all the tracks.
Before writing this list I had decided that I would choose one unplugged album as all the artists have recorded one. I chose Alice in Chains because their sound becomes more enriched and enhanced when played acoustic. It probably has to do with the fact that their general outlook is melancholic in nature. But whatever it may be, they sound a notch higher then Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl jam played acoustic.
Notable Omissions: Stone Temple Pilots – Purple, Silverchair – Frogstomp and Live – Throwing Copper (not exactly grunge)