Of all the subgenres that have come and gone in rock music, grunge seemed to be dying a pretty ugly death. With Kurt Cobain’s death hanging like a shroud over the rest of the stage, it was time for the genre to read its last rites and regroup into something else. That didn’t mean that this style suddenly disappeared overnight or anything.
In the wake of the Cobain era of rock, you had millions of beginning post-grunge outfits that took the staple of grunge and tried to take it a step further. For most purists, it was the biggest sale you could have asked for, with bands that sounded more like boy bands than real musicians with something to say. If you throw away everything that was labeled post-grunge, you still live a heap of classic material on the table.
In a post-1994 world, the sounds of grunge still dominated the airwaves, and these records were definitely a sign that the genre could thrive far beyond the shadow of what Seattle’s old guard had started. Even when the first wave died down, you also had the old school grunge frontmen throwing off their skins and doing something better than what had come before. Post grunge might have a bad rap these days, but there’s a whole lot more to dissecting than the Nickelbacks of the world.
As grunge fumbled into the next decade, the whole scene began to look very different. Along with the many different spin-off bands trying to sound like a second-rate Soundgarden, there was also the incoming realm of butt rock, having been started by the likes of Creed and rising to prominence with Puddle of Mudd. Just before things got too hectic, Shinedown’s first record sounded like grunge made for the arena.
Being a much more roots band than the early grunge bands of the time, Brent Smith had a lot more enthusiasm behind their delivery. While the likes of Kurt Cobain just pushed their vocals to the max every night, you could tell he was a guy trained from the waist down to the rafters, especially when it came to long, sustained notes on songs like 45.
Before we even get to the disaffected lyrics here, the music is also a bit left-handed than what we were used to at the time, like the ethereal melodies that appear on something like Lost in the Crowd and hints of this what was to come with their cover of Simple Man which was part of the bonus tracks. We were definitely a far cry from the Sound of Madness, but it’s a nice taste of what would happen if grunge music was given that kind of old school rock and roll swagger.