Listen to Grunge!

Exploring a Musical Genre

by Anthony J. Bushard


What is it about grunge, its practitioners, and their discomfort with fame that made the genre both so successful and so fraught with problems off the stage?

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Cover image for Listen to Grunge!

February 2021


Pages 240
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Music and Performing Arts
  The Arts/General
  • Forthcoming!




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Listen to Grunge! Exploring a Musical Genre provides an overview of this stripped-down and guitar-driven musical genre for scholars of grunge and curious novices alike, with a focus on 50 must-hear bands, albums, singers, and songs.

Listen to Grunge! Exploring a Musical Genre begins with contextual background—increasing dissatisfaction with metal and glam, burgeoning hip hop, further development of punk, and a resurgence of 1970s rock and metal—before examining the bands, albums, singers, songs, and festivals that best represent grunge music and culture. This volume is an ideal starting point for Gen Xers and millennials alike to understand the social, political, and musical circumstances that spawned the genre and provides a comprehensive list of its main practitioners and their work.

The book opens with a background and history of grunge, which contextualizes the examples covered in the must-hear music section. Listen to Grunge also examines grunge's impact on popular culture through its mainstream appeal on radio and in fashion, as well as its continuing legacy following the decline of grunge in the late 1990s. The book ends with a bibliography guiding readers toward additional resources on the topic.


  • Gives readers a thorough overview of artists and albums whose works came to define grunge music
  • Provides the reader with an understanding of how grunge came to be, who its main artists were, and why they are important to the genre
  • Considers grunge as both a musical and cultural phenomenon
  • Contextualizes the music in American history
Series Description

Exploring Musical Genres

Each book in this genre- and performance group-based collection provides the reader with background information on a specific musical genre, critical analyses of significant examples from the genre, and a discography and analysis of must-hear examples. Although written by scholars, the series is for the lay reader and general music fan.

Author Info

Anthony J. Bushard, PhD, is associate professor of music history in the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL), where he teaches courses in jazz history, film music, world music, and American music. Bushard was awarded the Junior Faculty Achievement Award in Research and Creative Activity as well as the Leadership Award in Curriculum or Programmatic Development from the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at UNL. He authored articles on Pearl Jam and The Doors for The 100 Greatest Bands of All Time: A Guide to the Legends Who Rocked the World (ABC-CLIO, 2016).

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