Style: grunge, hard rock
Home: Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago
Members: Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell & Soundgarden, The Lovemongers, Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Screaming Trees, Paul Westerberg & band, the Smashing Pumpkins ~ n/a
Grunge is one of the more mysterious musical movements, united by geography not sound. At least when one talks L.A. everyone thinks big hair & glam, while San Francisco brings up images of 60's flower power, New Jersey is synonymous with Springsteen, with New York conjuring up ... well, that's always been questionable outside of the Velvet Underground. When grunge first came to national attention it was via the breakthrough overnight success of Nirvana & Pearl Jam that sound nothing alike let alone other bands in the area. Let alone the Seattle music scene was doing quite well before grunge with the label actually being a mis-representation of the diversity of bands playing there, even the bands labeled as grunge. If anything is grunge it might be Mudhoney & the Screaming Trees with Mother Love Bone being the glam side, if one is limited to nationally known bands. But, what it is or is not put Seattle on the map forever. So, to then make a movie about life in the city, even though it's just another city but with a little more rain & some mountains & lots of coffee, is a bit of an odd thing. Okay, so many residents are known for being layed back poets & artists, but that's not enough to make a movie out of. Though, when it comes to music soundtracks based around a mysterious musical genre that for all intensive purposes was around before it became known & died when Nirvana did, this is one of the best rock/metal soundtracks one could ask for. Actually, if it wasn't for the soundtrack the weakness of the movie would be much more apparent. It's much like Eddie & The Cruisers in this respect. Further, this is probably one of the few compilations where every song is outstanding with no weak links. It has a stellar line-up & thus no excuses: Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Chris Chornell solo & with Soungarden, The Lovemongers featuring Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart, Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, Jimi Hendrix, Screaming Trees, Paul Westerberg of the Replacements & the Smashing Pumpkins, though the last two are from Minneapolis & Chicago respectively but work incredibly well in the mix let alone ending the album perfectly with the distorted "Drown" by the Pumpkins. With both well known songs & some more obscure ones this very well could be a photograph of 90's Seattle. All it's missing is Nirvana ... surprisingly ... and some lesser known bands. Though, except for Hendrix and Mother Love Bone all the bands were making music at the time Singles was released in theaters with a few bands actually finding a big career boost afterwards. The highlights are many, which is why the album is one of the best selling of soundtracks of the 90's, let alone helped solidify the grunge movement. Highlights include Chris Cornell's haunting acoustic ballad "Seasons" which shows what a great singer he is, the Lovemonger's acoustic take on Led Zeppelin's "Battle Of Evermore" that couldn't even be eclipsed by the future Page/Plant reunion, the under-rated Hendrix gem "May This Be Love" from Are You Experienced, along with songs that would become hits for Mother Love Bone ("Crown Of Thorns"), Pearl Jam ("Breathe", "State Of Love & Trust"), Screaming Trees ("Nearly Lost You") & Alice In Chains ("Would?"). Paul Westerberg's material ("Dyslexic Heart," "Waiting For Somebody") is probably the lightest stuff on the album, being his first solo material & still sounding very Replacements-esque, but it also lends a comic balance to the heavy handedness of Soundgarden ("Birth Ritual") & raw distortions of underdogs Mudhoney ("Overblown"). This is one of those rare compilations where the range of styles paints a complete picture not a broken one of mis-matched music. This will get repeated listenings where not a single track will want to be missed.