Various Artists

Sleepless in Seattle: The Birth of Grunge

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Seattle's grunge scene got rolling in the late '80s, cresting into the early '90s when bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden took the music's hybrid mix of metal, punk, and skewed pop into the stratosphere. Smarter than metal, more personal and purposely surreal than punk, and full of truckloads of despair, frustration, and anger that drew a strange kind of populist strength from being largely unfocused (thereby making it universally applicable), grunge gave rock a last great Golden Era as the 20th century drew to a close. This 20-track collection focuses on Seattle bands that didn't manage to break through to big audiences, although most of the groups featured here certainly deserved them. Key tracks include Green River's "Come on Down" from 1985 (arguably the first real grunge release), Screaming Trees' "Orange Airplane," Treepeople's "Guilt Regret Embarrassment" (Treepeople's frontman Doug Martsch went on to form Built to Spill), and two cuts that should have been huge hits but mysteriously weren't, Gruntruck's crunching "Tribe" and the Gits' (featuring the late Mia Zapata) "Second Skin." A nice set from a fascinating era.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:52
2 2:54
3 2:10
4 3:21
5 2:07
6 3:52
7 3:01
8 5:29
9 2:57
11 4:31
12 2:29
13 3:08
14 4:18
15 2:53
16 3:07
17 3:31
18 2:45
19 1:59
20 2:24
blue highlight denotes track pick