I love the 90s. Well not really. I love the early 90s, specifically the period between 1991 and 1995. It was a time where Alternative and Hardcore metal, Industrial, Punk and Gangsta rap came to the forefront, and female artists were given a chance to express themselves. The quality of music that came out during this period was impeccable, and ground breaking. It was raw, but most importantly it was honest and straight from the heart. I guess this is why the effect of it can still be felt after a decade. But when did it all start?
Some say it started with REM's "Out Of Time" which was released early in 1991, some say it started with Jane's Addcition Lollapalooza. But truth of the fact it really started in the fall of 1991. If you go back in time you will see that some of the most important albums of the decade like Ten, Bloodsugarsexmagik, Badmotofinger, and Nevermind were released within weeks from each other. I guess all the stars were aligned for a revolution to take place.
It has been said a million times. Nirvana changed the music scene; they are the ones that caused a revolution. Which is true but they would not be able to have such a great impact as they did if it were not for some other bands. If Nirvana were the Beatles of our generation than Pearl Jam are the Stones, Soundgarden are the Who, and Alice in Chains are the Kinks. All these bands combined together to make a sound. A sound we came to know as Grunge/Alternative. But there would not have been any Grunge/Alternative if there was only Nirvana in the scene. Grunge/Alternative would have never exploded in the main stream if it were not for the other bands mentioned above. However, Nirvana is the straw that broke the camels back.
What is special about Nirvana is that they brought it all back to the basics. Where the emphasis was on what you said rather than how you looked. And it was this way of thinking that allowed the Female Artist to truly express themselves without any fear. They were not just restricted to a sex object in videos, but recognized as legit artist.
Artist like Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette, Hole, Sheryl Crow etc. would not have been able to have such a big impact if it were not for Nirvana.
Other Bands like Rage against the machine, Tool, Stone Temple Pilots, NIN, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins and Live who played a big part in defining the 90s also owe a lot of their success to Nirvana.
You see all the bands and artist that rose to fame between 1991 and 1995 were different in their own ways, but they all had one thing in common. Honesty passion and love of music. They were not about big cars and fast women. They were about expressing real and honest emotions, and this is why they had left a lasting impression.
Nowadays, we have one hundred if not thousands of bands that sound like Nirvana, but none of them can ever have the same impact as them. The simple reason for this is that they do not have the same esthetics as Nirvana.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the sound of Nirvana survived, but their values did not. And a new revolution in music will only happen when people go back to some core values that made Nirvana and the early 90s such a great period in music.
Writer: Adnan Farid