Grunge: The Big 4 Ranked

Chris Palone

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The Seattle-grunge big four: Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. These four bands, local to Seattle, Washington, are all pioneering bands in the grunge genre and music in general. This is how the four would be ranked based on personal preference from worst (#4) to best (#1).

#4 – Nirvana: For most people this band is the first. Without a doubt the most successful out of the four, they’re most known for the chart-topping-monstrous-selling “Nevermind”. However, “In Utero” is arguably their best album. The problem with this band is not the band themselves, but the quality of the music overtime. All three studio albums from this band are great in their own ways. None of them ever stood the test of time though. It might be because they became overplayed or a bad memory is associated with them, but Nirvana’s music just doesn’t feel the same the older I get. Again, they’re still a great band but just don’t compare to the other three.

#3 – Pearl Jam: The hate this band gets is unnecessary. Being the most mellow of the grunge big four means most of your fans consist of an older audience. Anyone who dares to rank this band last should have their opinion disregarded. “Ten” and “Vs” are two of the best albums from their time with such smooth drumming and guitar riffs all across the board. Eddie Vedder is a very underrated vocalist and Pearl Jam is the only band in this list who still a living original vocalist. Unlike Nirvana, Pearl Jam’s music only gets better with time and even better when you take the time you read the lyrics.

#2 – Soundgarden: For a brief moment there was a time where Soundgarden would be #1 on this list. While not on regular rotation like they used to be, this band is still incredible. “4th of July” is the best grunge song to ever be made and that’s just a fact! Chris Cornell is the best vocalist to ever come out of the genre and one of the best of all time in any genre. A very tragic death in music he had.

#1 – Alice in Chains: What a shocker! Just kidding. Alice in Chains is absolutely unbeatable when it comes to grunge, big four or not. “Dirt” is the best grunge album there is and that will never be changed. It’s an even better album when you blast it on your record player to where you can’t even hear yourself talk. Layne Staley was an incredible vocalist and Jerry Cantrell was one heck of a songwriter. They had such strong chemistry along with Mike Starr and Sean Kinney. Even “Facelift”, “Jar of Flies”, and “Alice in Chains” are all three very strong projects. The grunge-metal sound of Alice in Chains with the psychedelic feel is what made this band so special and different from the rest. The band’s newer vocalist, William DuVall, does such a great job at fronting the band and Staley would love him just like everyone else.

And that’s it. All four of these bands are great in their own way. Ranking Nirvana at the bottom might be a bit controversial but that’s okay! It doesn’t mean they’re bad at all, just not comparable to the rest. How would you rank these bands and why?