Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez via Unsplash

Grunge has never been my preferred style, but at the beginning of the 90s it was huge and I was definitely put under heavy influence by it. The genre emerged like a tsunami and quickly became the trendiest thing putting aside heavy metal music. Under the grunge genre, some of the most important albums in music history were released. 

Once again I'm going to make a note that during the grunge times I was listening to the heaviest styles/bands available. The metalheads didn't like the grunge much, because it was a kind of lighter, not aggressive at all, and didn't actually represent the values of the heavy music. Although grunge was attitude too, a different kind of rebellion, but more "peaceful" in comparison to what heavy metal music stands for. I won't lie if I say that back then, many more girls around were listening to the grunge. We, the boys, were into heavier stuff, lmao! And still, 30 years later I don't listen to grunge a lot. Another memory I have is that I got to know about "grunge" for the first time probably from an announcement/review of "The Singles" movie OST?

Below I tried to outline and list my top 25 grunge albums of all time. Albums that left a significant mark on me. Yeah, so many memories, parties, friends, moments... Some of these albums I still listen to a lot. Others, well they are more like a point of time left behind me. The list could be longer of course, but I tried to really narrow down my favorites and put them in some kind of order of preference. The below 25 albums are really my favorite ones within the grunge genre. Not many surprises I guess. The readers might notice that some big names are missing here. Yes, music is a personal experience...or it could have been a Top 50 list.

While preparing this list, I once again tried to keep strictly into the grunge genre limits. In that period of time, a lot of boundaries have been crossed giving the birth of alternative metal, alternative rock, post-grunge etc. Because of the above rule, I did not include tremendous artists like Garbage or Alanis Morisette, and I'm all over their 90s works. Even No Doubt was also a choice with their Tragic Kingdom bestseller...

Another important thing. I witnessed them almost all when they were released. I was into music collection and into music hunting. Why I say this? Many times one who has lived the release of an album, or the times around, may appreciate more the music. From the distance of the time, judgment is much more subjective.

NIRVANA - Nevermind 1991
Definitely the most important grunge album for me. The first I heard of many more after it. So many memories, parties, friends, teen spirits, moments in time are connected with this album. Overplayed till death at times, this is an absolute klassik!
PEARL JAM - Ten 1991
I must admit that I needed a bit of time to connect to this album, probably a year after my first listen of it. Since then I consider it essential.

This is the band that I listen to the most these days now from the grunge movement. Years after its release, Dirt is the heaviest of all grunge albums, and not really grunge. Would? was my first favorite grunge track since I heard it in the Singles OST. Alice in Chains is a cult!

ALICE IN CHAINS - Jar of Flies 1994
I often wonder if I like more Jar of Flies than Dirt. This EP has such a unique dark atmosphere, digging deep into the inner depths of one's lost soul. Jar of Flies is iconic and it's been on a constant rotation with me since it's release...

NIRVANA - In Utero 1993
In 1993 I really expected eagerly this album after the mindblowing Nevermind. At first, it was kind of different, seemed that it doesn't carry the potential of Nevermind. Slowly it discovered itself. Still, it is a fantastic album!

PEARL JAM - Vs 1993
Same story with Vs as with In Utero. Vs contains absolute banger tracks though, and that's why it is so high in this list. Rearview Mirror is my fav track...

HOLE - Live Through This 1994
We all know the story behind the band and this album. The truth is that I really love the hidden aggression Courtney put into the composition, the punk spirit.

ELASTICA - Elastica 1995
I can't praise enough this album. In 1995 it was the fastest-selling album in UK history. It is alternative, post-punk, grunge in the British way. Still wondering if this album should be in the list... 
Mind you that Justine was a founding member of Suede in 1988. 
SOUNDGARDEN - Superunknown 1994
My favorite Soundgarden album. The music proves it. I was listening to it quite a lot (the most of their discography) over the year. Soundgarden has always been a bit of "the different" gringe band to me. This album represents their best "different"?
NIRVANA - Bleach 1988
Naturally, Bleach is on the list due to my Nirvana sentiment. Some of their most rebel songs are here.

BUSH - Sixteen Stone 1994
The British answer to Nirvana or the US grunge? I love the early Bush and their first two albums. Sixteen Stone contains some of the catchiest tracks in the genre from this era.
What a monstrous album! Again, due to being into different genres, I discovered the album in full a couple of years later, although I had listened to their most popular tracks on MTV. My first contact was the video of Sex Type Thing. Got me instantly! The punky atmosphere...And all the rest of the tracks are simply superb
SOUNDGARDEN - Badmotorfinger 1991
The heavy Soundgarden. Differently heavy than in metal. A klassik, influenced so many bands around this period. Rusty Cage, Room a Thousand Years Wide, and Jesus Christ Pose are absolute fire, as I have always been searching more for the punk side in grunge, rather than the sad and weird one...
TEMPLE OF THE DOG - Temple of the Dog 1991
The names behind the band speak millions. One of the most important albums for the grunge culture. Hunger Strikes is the total hit here, but the rest is too good too.

ALICE IN CHAINS - Facelift 1990
An essential album, not my favorite by the band though. With time I began to like it more, and here I'm buying it on vinyl...

BUSH - Razorblade Suitcase 1996
It represents a moment in time for me. Memories. And the anticipation around this release too. It is a very good album! Fav track Insect Kin.

MOTHER LOVE BONE - Mother Love Bone 1992
Probably is "Apple" album is of the biggest importance for grunge music, coming out in 1990! I picked this 1992 compilation containing their Shine 1989 EP and Apple in one, cause I have always listened to it. Crown of Thorns and This is Shangrila are immortal. 

UGLY KID JOE - America's Least Wanted 1992
Another album-gem from almost 30 years ago. Many will consider the band only with this album, and partly rightfully because it delivered some of the greatest grunge tracks back then. 

ALICE IN CHAINS - Alice in Chains 1995
Darker, heavy, even sludgier, more personal than ever, this S/T got easily in my deck in 1995/96 period, when I was so much into other dark genres. 

SOUNDGARDEN - Louder Than Love
I was digging Louder Thank Love and Ultramega OK around my addiction for Superunknown. These two albums just prove that Soundgarden always dug their own hole, walked their own path. 
UGLY KID JOE - Menace to Sobriety 1995
I listened to this album a lot in the spring of 1996.  A friend gave me the tape and I was digging Menace a lot. Even I liked it so much more than America's Least Wanted. This album didn't receive the attention it deserved imo. 
SOUNDGARDEN - Down on the Upside 1996
Soundgarden doing their own thing again, even though the scene was already transforming in 1996. It reminds me about a certain period of my life when I bought it in the summer of 1996. 
Favorite track Ty Cobb!

MOIST - Silver 1995
I discovered Moist via Headbanger's ball in 1995. Bought the tape. It is an unpopular record, but very good. Silver and Push are the real shit here!

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS - Tiny Music Songs From the Vatican Giftshop 1996
The same friend from Ugly Kid Joe's Menace story. He handed me together with UKJ cassette this STP album too... I still wonder if I like this album more than Purple, I guess I do.
You read the comment on Louder Than Love above. This debut is essential for the whole grunge further development. Many will say Melvins are the godfathers, or Mudhoney has a huge influence, but Ultramega OK is the best for the raise of the genre. Even Bleach wasn't that important until Nevermind came out...


  1. That was a fun read! I've heard most of these but will share on Twitter if I check anything new out. Thanks for sharing!


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