[In the hugely entertaining documentary series Metal Evolution, there’s a special branch reserved on the metal family tree for “Post-Grunge,” that nebulous brand of hard rock that emerged almost immediately after Nevermind hit #1—and hasn’t disappeared from the charts since. “Post-grunge” (also known as “grunge lite,” “fake grunge,” or simply “crap”) borrows liberally from the sound of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and/or Alice In Chains to create a sound that feels like the real thing, despite not having a shred of originality anywhere in its DNA. Unsurprisingly, radio programmers ate this recycled mess up for decades.
Can I defend any of these acts? Not really—at least not in their original “post-grunge” guises. But do some still possess a certain nostalgic charm? Of course, especially when you compare the goofy earnestness of a one-hit wonder like Sponge with the grim, by-the-numbers plodding of today’s rock radio landscape. Hell, I even get nostalgic for Bush every once in a while. How screwed up is that?
So below, please enjoy a roughly chronological rundown of the era’s “greatest” post-grunge acts. Bad as they were back then, even the biggest offenders now seem less repulsive in hindsight.
Except for Nickelback. Those guys are still f—n’ terrible.]
Canadians need to stick together—especially if those Canadians are hell-bent on taking down American rock music from the inside. Which explains why Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger’s grubby little hands are all over the first (and only) song people remember from Default. (And saying “Wasting My Time” is the best thing Kroeger’s ever been involved with? Truthful, but not really a compliment.)
Fun Fact: Default won the 2002 Juno Award for “Best New Group,” thereby placing them in an elite category that also includes Billy Talent, The Philosopher Kings, Glass Tiger, and… Nickelback.
A band composed of lead singer Jason Wade and whomever he hasn’t fired yet, Lifehouse is notable for proving that contemporary Christian bands can rip off Pearl Jam just as easily as all those heathen acts. Of course, as with every trend the Christian music genre latches onto, they showed up to the party about eight years late.
Fun Fact: Two different songs by Lifehouse—“Hanging By A Moment” and “You And Me”—have each spent more than a year on the Billboard Hot 100, which perfectly illustrates why no one listens to pop radio anymore.
Seriously, who else did you expect? The consolidation of post-grunge in its purest form, Nickelback have spent the last decade selling more than 50 million albums worldwide, making them the second biggest foreign act in
Fun Fact #1: For starters,
Fun Fact #2: Along with Tim Olson.
Fun Fact #3: Plus everyone on Facebook.
Fun Fact #4: Even the band itself is baffled.
Fun Fact #5: Maybe the best solution is to simply install NickelBlocker on your computer. Except then, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. And wouldn’t that be a shame?