Grunge is a genre of music that emerged in the mid-1980s and closely identified with, but not unique to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. MoPOP began collecting grunge-related objects in the early 1990s, as the movement was omnipresent in popular culture, and now holds several thousand objects related to the genre.
Sometimes known as the “Seattle Sound,” grunge came into international prominence in the early 1990s with the critical and commercial success of bands such as Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney and others. While many of the musical groups described as grunge were sonically distinct, they did share some common qualities – 1970s punk and heavy metal influences, often featuring slow and heavy musical riffs and dark, introspective lyrics. Grunge faded in the public eye by the late 1990s, but the impact of the genre continues to inspire musicians and fans today, as well as helping to change the perception of the Pacific Northwest from a sleepy cultural backwater into a vibrant and fertile environment for music and the arts.