Three ’90s Grunge Women That Paved the Way for Others

Whether channeling emotions stemming from inner chaos or aggressively expressing personal beliefs, crestfallen female alternative rockers undoubtedly formed a firm foundation in the 90’s music scene and filled the airwaves with howling, cracked vocals that replaced any ounce of plausible class with expressive sass. From belting dark lyrical themes to groups of mud-soaked bohemians to inspiring the mid-drift baring baby tee underneath polyester leather jackets, the aggressive ladies of 90’s alternative rock were far from bubblegum princesses with doll parts. Let’s take a look back at the catty, strong-minded, forward-thinking female pioneers of 90’s alternative rock who broke the misogynistic nature of leaving dauntless woman in the cold.

Photo by Joseph Cultice

 

Shirley Manson

As the impassioned vocalist and frontwoman of the prodigious alternative industrial rock group, Garbage, Shirley Manson serves as a primary direct result of a brazen woman, with blazing red locks making a major impact in a male-dominated industry. The outspoken and intelligent Scottish woman’s strong, emotionally feminine pitch is the real deal. Manson’s signature refreshingly candid style carries a rebellious elegance and sexual appeal that infiltrates and sucks listeners into a whirlwind of raw vocals and savvy lasciviousness. The incredibly powerful and quick on the trigger release of Garbage’s 1995 self-titled debut dominated the rock scene with great strength. The straight-laced, no nonsense energy coruscating through the veins of the supervixen with lush lips who is unquestionably the key component of Garbage’s success is rooted in the guts of legendary industrial rock eternally. The aesthetic value of Shirley’s audaciously artistic and iconic stage presence is incalculable. Shirley Manson and Garbage made a whole new musical religion ranging from industrial rock to trip-hop. 

Photo by Kevin Westenberg

PJ Harvey

The British guitar legend, PJ Harvey, set herself free of her burdens through surreal storytelling and an edgy mood that redefined social order through the candid display of the utter pain. Simultaneously confident and tragic, PJ’s admirably mysterious echoes send a sense of awe through the hysterical minds of fans who have followed the sinister vocalist’s career through 8 studio albums. Albums that have dabbled in piano chords, tenderly haunting melodies, ghostly synths, saxophone, rumbling screams, autoharp and deranged thunder over pure lyrical brilliance. The sweet-spoken lass is full of fascinating creative theories which have led to multiple transformations of her artistic persona. With fingernails scraping a chalkboard intensity, the full-bodied potency that PJ’s musical pieces possess display the unrefined and chronic pain of longing and devotion. If you have yet to listen to PJ’s striking LP, ‘Rid of Me’, do yourself a favor and dive into the invigorating and passionately sexual work of art before you die.

Photo by Jesse Dittma

Courtney Love

Whether Courtney was rockin’ sold-out Hole shows or waking up in her makeup after obliterating everything she kissed, Courtney Love is an iconic and highly controversial rock and roll superstar. The helter-skelter image that Love earned had troubled teens bleaching their hair and smoking cigarettes behind the school dumpster. As the head-turning frontrunner of the under-appreciated and praise-worthy grunge rock band, Hole, Love’s inconsistencies, smeared lipstick and dramatic breakdowns served as the fuel behind Hole’s deeply personal melancholy and the her edgy vocals. There is an art to Love’s unapologetically flawed life. The woman has been dogged her entire career.Yes, she has publicly struggled with drug addiction and so on, but imagine if your life wasn’t lived behind closed doors and you went through half of what she has walked through? Praise the madwoman for consistently reviving her rock and roll spirit and moving forward no matter what personal tragedy she has lived through.

 

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I am raw in my truth. I am always learning, changing, evolving and experiencing life on a whole new level. I have an insatiable curiosity for the world. I find pieces of myself and broaden my perception of others through getting lost in different cities and compelling environments. I write about the thoughts and experiences that shape my life.
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