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Development and Demise of the "Seattle Sound"
The “Seattle sound”, a phrase coined for music created by Alternative-style rock bands based in Seattle, is said to contain three (3) basic elements: it is loud, it is honest, and it is borne of musicians that have experienced a degree of difficulty in achieving recognition. The “Seattle sound”, often times referred to as “grunge”, is notorious for being performed at exceedingly high volume. It has been defined as honest music because it is performed in a raw and unrefined manner, without the aid of electronic polishing. Additionally, a common thread of grunge bands is said to be that they suffer from an uncommonly low rate of recognition
The affects of Seattle’s geographical location appears to be an ingredient of the music created by these grunge bands, whether expressed blatantly or subliminally. Seattle exists in a corner of our nation and a great distance from more prominent cities, therefore, a sense of isolationism amongst its citizens is to be expected. Seattle is also subject to an unusually high level of precipitation, most notably rain, one (1) of the few things that the city may be regarded as famous for. An abundance of gloomy days certainly plays upon the psyche of the human attitude. Musicians of grunge bands appear to express this geographical condition in the manner in which they choose their topics for lyrics and deliver their music. Isolation may be cited as an influence in their music with the respect to the style in which they deliver their product, well practiced, yet unrefined because of their lack of hope for recognition. Unrelentingly dreary weather may be responsible for depression among band members that may well be reflected in their music, possibly accounting for their extreme volume (frustration and yearning to be heard) and crude lyrics (unpolished because they expect to remain obscure).
As with any trend, grunge began to lose its followers within a relatively short period of time, or perhaps it simply became excepted to the extent that its label changed from “fad” to “mainstream“. Grunge, much like most trends or fashions, relied upon commercialization to exist as such. When newness fades, replacements are sought and new titles created that are designed to draw popularity to address the apparent human need to represent uniqueness, but at the same time fulfill a desire to be accepted by others with similar likes and dislikes. If one (1) views history with regard to fads, it may be observed that fads do not exist unless there is mass-marketing of a concept or series of events to attain the popular interest of people. Fads or trends are such because they eventually fade. The terms “Seattle sound” and “grunge” may well have been invented by those seeking to gain from all that accompanies the creation of a new fad, but ultimate demise lies within creating something that is known to be terminal from the onset. The fad of grunge music has reached such a demise, its discharge from current raving trends are apparent in the movement of popularity to newly developed themes.