The most important rock bands of the 1990s

If 80s hair metal was a giant decade-long party, then early 90s grunge rock was the hangover. Tired of all the spandex, Aquanet and Cherry Pie, audiences turned to the angsty lumberjacks of Seattle singing about the dark side of rock n’ roll. But that got old too, and by the middle of the decade the hangover had run its course. After throwing for the last time, the audience was more than ready to have fun again.

Fortunately, punk rock was on the rebound, led by SoCal bands like Green Day. Vocalist-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool combined authentic rebellious punk angst with something few of their peers had: world-class songwriting talent that transcended the stage. You can hear it in spades on “Basket Case”, “Longview”, “When I Come Around” and all the other tracks from the 1994 hit “Dookie”, which Fork gave a rave review and described as a new explosion of timeless, hook-filled punk classics.

The group were now superstars. They lost some of their edge by the end of the decade, but resurfaced for a new generation with 2004’s era-defining “American Idiot,” one of the best modern rock albums ever made ( by rolling stone). national news claims that their mainstream success earned them many haters within the scene, who claimed they sold out. Fortunately, they cursed those torpedoes and went on to deliver some of the best pop punk anthems ever written, eventually establishing themselves as beloved statesmen of rock.

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