• Tori Forsyth

How Grunge Saved My Life

In late 2018 I became infatuated with the Seattle Grunge Scene. I was laid up after a surgery and fell into a Nirvana rabbit hole, leading me to all the incredible bands the grunge scene had to offer. Grunge was the evolution of the 1980’s punk scene. Kurt Cobain will be rolling in his grave with me saying this, but it in my opinion, Grunge is rhythmic, melodic pop combined with the punk ethos and rage. It had me sucked in. Of course I had been aware of Nirvana, I listened to Nevermind on repeat via lime wire download through High School (Yeah I know, bad Tori - BUY YA DAMN MUSIC) but because of my limited awareness and uneducated brain, I never dived deeper. If you ask the bands from that time where Grunge began, most will hate you for using the term, or from what I've read they’ll tell you it’s a tie between Mud Honey and The Melvins. Yeah I know, I thought Nirvana had that in the bag but Mud Honey and The Melvins began the revolution that became the Seattle Grunge scene, playing the outskirts of Washington in small, thrown together house parties. There’s a lot to this statement so if you’re curious, I suggest you look further into it because I must stress, this isn't even the icing on the cake, hell it isn't even the flour... There's a lot to look at, please go forth if you to are interested in letting it take over your life.

I often envy these times of people gathering and needing and living within these scenes. We now have a tidy list of great bands that formed around the same time, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and Hole, to name some of the most well known and successful.

My obsession with Grunge isn’t quite the point of this but it is an important aspect to note because it essentially started what I've come to love about music. In coming across this music I felt reborn into a new way of consuming, playing and loving music. It’s refuelled a fire in me to want and create and become this music I love so much. I’ve never felt this passionate about music before and I’d already had two record releases under my belt so I guess you could say it was life changing. I became curious with the science behind loving ‘heavier’ music. I knew how it made me feel and I began to think that’s why these bands were so popular because they invoked a particular feeling. When doing a little research, most studies aluded to the research behind 'Heavy Metal' and whilst I'm well aware Grunge isn't Heavy Metal, I think it's safe to say it stirs the same feeling inside.

An article on Science focus states that ‘A 2015 study of fans of extreme music from the University of Queensland made their participants angry, allowed them to listen to the music of their own choice, and then assessed how their emotional state had changed. The researchers found that, instead of making them angrier, listening to extreme music improved their emotional state, and could help with processing anger.’ ‘In a 2018 study at Macquarie University, fans of death metal reported using the music’s emotional charge to motivate them or to work through feelings of anger.' ‘This effect appears to extend to vulnerable listeners, and in particular adolescents. A 2001 study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that, when taking outside factors into account, heavy metal did not influence suicide risk among adolescents. Further to this, teenage girls who used the music as an emotional release were actually at lesser risk.’ Although these studies are purely on Heavy metal, I think we can take away the sentiment that heavier music has proven to help with anger and working through emotions which is why I think is why I was so taken with it. I’ve always found music as a form of therapy but I was seeing a new side of it that made me feel good on a new level. This is turn had lead me to heavier music and finding it to be a particularly successful release when it comes to emotional build up.

I felt like this was an important thing to share in this time. I, much like you, have been inundated with content and ways to feel and fix and be proactive in the time of this pandemic. Experts saying it’s okay to do nothing, it’s good to have routine, it’s a good time to kick those goals you’ve always wanted. Whilst all of this is great and I’ve taken it on board myself, might I suggest another thing to add to your list. Listen to music the invokes all these stagnant or angry or sad emotions you have building up. FEELING is worth it. Allow the space for them and feel them through music! Music is a healing tool, it’s a therapeutic tool. It’s an emotional remedy. Whilst your on your run or walk, cooking dinner or just staring at the ceiling from your bed trying to remember the last time you washed your hair, I invite you to try listening to these records as a way to move through emotions, it helps me on the daily and is one of the greatest things to have come out of 2018. Stay safe, stay sane, stay clean, get angry to some Grunge.

Top 5 Suggestions: Badmotorfinger - Soundgarden In Utero - Nirvana Live Through This - Hole Ten - Pearl Jam (For those who know, I’m not even going to try and be cool here) Pretty On The Inside - Hole

Spotify Playlist: The Music You Needed & No One Told You Until Now


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