In this blog post, we’ll be counting down the 10 best Grunge music videos from the 90s. If you’re a fan of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or any other Grunge band, then this list is for you!
Smells Like Teen Spirit- Nirvana
Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was one of the most important songs of the 1990s. It single-handedly brought grunge music into the mainstream and changed the course of popular music. The song’s music video was just as iconic as the song itself, and it perfectly captured the raw energy and chaotic spirit of Nirvana. The video features Nirvana playing in a high school gymnasium, intercut with shots of wild adolescents moshing and thrashing around. It’s a perfect example of the power of grunge music, and it remains one of the most iconic music videos of all time.
Come As You Are- Nirvana
Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” video was released in early 1992 and was the second single off of their album Nevermind. The video was directed by Kevin Kerslake and features the band performing in a dimly lit room. The video was shot in one takes and is simple, but effective. The video became one of Nirvana’s most iconic visual representations and helped to propel them into the mainstream.
Heart-Shaped Box- Nirvana
Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” was one of the most iconic music videos of the 1990s. The video, which was directed by Anton Corbijn, featured a shirtless Kurt Cobain in a hospital bed surrounded by baby dolls. The video was banned by MTV for its disturbing images, but that only made it more popular with Nirvana’s fans.
“Lithium” is a song by American rock band Nirvana. It was released as the third single from their second album, Nevermind, in 1992. The song’s lyrics are about a person who is in love with someone who does not reciprocate these feelings. Despite never being released as a single in the United States, the song became one of Nirvana’s most popular songs and is considered to be one of the quintessential grunge tracks.
The music video for “Lithium” was directed by Interloper Films’ Sven Kirchherr and while it did not receive much airplay on MTV, it did receive some rotation on alternative music video channels such as MTV2. The video features live footage of Nirvana performing the song intercut with shots of a man (played by actor Doug Hutchison) walking through a desert.
In Bloom- Nirvana
dir. Kevin Kerslake
lead singer Kurt Cobain, who was struggling with chronic health problems and drug addiction, is seen trashing a suburban home before joining the band in a bleak, industrial setting where they perform the song.
Jeremy- Pearl Jam
“Jeremy” is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam, with lyrics written by vocalist Eddie Vedder and music written by bassist Jeff Ament. “Jeremy” was released in 1992 as the fourth single from Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten. The song was one of Pearl Jam’s biggest hits, reaching number five on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. The song gained considerable popularity following its release, with many teenagers relating to the angst expressed in the song’s lyrics. The video was directed by Mark Pellington and donated to Pearl Jam after the band saw MTV’s demo reel. The video is particularly notable for showing school shootings and was controversial upon its release.
Even Flow- Pearl Jam
“Even Flow” is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. Featuring lyrics written by vocalist Eddie Vedder and music written by guitarist Stone Gossard, “Even Flow” was released in 1992 as the second single from the band’s debut album, Ten. The song peaked at number 16 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. The song was included on Pearl Jam’s 2004 greatest hits album, rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003).
The song proved to be a source of some controversy for the band early in their career. In 2006, Vedder stated that “Even Flow” was “a rip-off… We knew it was a rip-off when we wrote it.” However, Gossard disputed this claim, saying: “It clearly wasn’t a case of us stealing somebody else’s idea and going, ‘Oh crap!’ I think what might have happened is that we wrote something close to what somebody else had written… But I don’t think it was an accident.”
In an interview for Rolling Stone in 1993, Vedder revealed that the lyrics for “Even Flow” were based on his own experiences with homelessness. Vedder stated: “I lived in Chicago in an old building with a lot of homeless people … You’d see them sleeping on heating grates and stuff … That kept coming back to me when we were making the record.”
Alive- Pearl Jam
Alive is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam, released as the second single from their debut album, Ten. Alive peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The music video features concert footage of Pearl Jam performing “Alive” at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado on June 5, 1992.
Black- Pearl Jam
“Black” is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam, recorded in 1991 and released as the fifth single from the band’s debut album, Ten. Despite not being a commercial success, the song is considered one of Pearl Jam’s signature songs.
The lyrics to “Black” were written by Eddie Vedder on a beach in Kahuku, Hawaii. The music was co-written by Vedder and guitarist Stone Gossard. The song was produced by Rick Parashar. “Black” is an alternative rock song with elements of punk rock.
The video for “Black” was directed by Kevin Kerslake and filmed in Seattle, Washington in September 1991. The video features footage of the band performing the song intercut with shots of a young couple (played by Vedder and his then-girlfriend Beth Liebling) experiencing emotional difficulties in their relationship.
Better Man- Pearl Jam
From the album, Vitalogy, released in 1994. The song was written by Eddie Vedder. “Better Man” is a song about a man who is in an abusive relationship with a woman. The song is told from the man’s point of view and details his attempt to save the relationship.
The music video was directed by Josh Taft and was shot in black and white. It features footage of Pearl Jam performing the song intercut with footage of people in abusive relationships. The video ends with a message from Vedder that reads, “If you know someone in an abusive relationship, have the courage to reach out and help them.”
Keyword: The 10 Best 90s Grunge Music Videos