Abstract

In this review article, I focus my attention on the so-called grunge subculture, originally derived from the musical style of the Seattle scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and in particular on the rock band Pearl Jam, sometimes emphatically defined as the “grunge survivors” and as the only major Seattle band to survive the ’90s intact. Pearl Jam—inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, and committed in 2021 to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Ten, their legendary debut album, and also the twenty-fifth anniversary of No Code, their fourth, most experimental, and perhaps most “philosophical” work so far—have undoubtedly established themselves as one of the best rock bands of all times. Starting from a general analysis of the music of Pearl Jam, in my review article I subsequently take into examination some aspects of the band's artistic work that allow to connect in an original way popular music and social criticism, including some questions concerning political commitment, the critical relation with the culture industry, and also feminism.

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