You often hear of early 90's Seattle music as having "Th Seattle Sound". What, exactly, are they talking about? Seattle has birthed Heart, Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana and Queensryche, among others. None o fthem really sounds very similar to me, even if you're just looking at PJ/Soundgarden/Nirvana/Mother Love Bone.

So, what is the "sound" they're talking about?

  • 5
    I'm a big fan of all of those bands and a musican and I still can't define it.
    – Dom
    Feb 24, 2015 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


I have listened to a lot of music from the list you named and if I am not mistaken this is what it means:

From Wikipedia:

Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle sound) is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged during the mid-1980s in the American state of Washington, particularly in Seattle.

From Wikipedia Grunge is generally characterized by:

  • Heavily distorted electric guitars, contrasting song dynamics

  • "Growling" vocals and apathetic or angst-filled lyrics.

  • Many grunge musicians were noted for their unkempt appearances and rejection of theatrics.

  • Sludgy guitar sound that uses a high level of distortion, fuzz, and feedback effects

  • Grunge fuses elements of hardcore punk and heavy metal

  • Lyrics are typically angst-filled, often addressing themes such as social alienation, apathy, confinement, and a desire for freedom.

And while it may seem as if none of the musicians you named have anything in common, they do appear to share many of the characteristics listed above.

  • I'd argue that Mother Love Bone really does not have any of those features and is still one of the cornerstone grunge bands.
    – Dom
    Mar 8, 2015 at 14:04
  • They are not a cornerstone grunge band; they were the band that influenced several bands to make grunge music. Dec 2, 2020 at 19:36

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