Collective Soul

For every grand gesture, every history-changing moment, and every genre-defining band in the annals of music, there is a bandwagon. Mudhoney, Nirvana, the Melvins, and the rest of the Pacific Northwest grunge originators might have launched the most pervasive and profitable bandwagon of them all, laying the groundwork for the modern notion of "alternative rock." Bringing the basic premise of grunge — angst, distortion, and volume — to bear on a more universally palatable formula of radio-friendly heavy-rock was Georgia quintet Collective Soul. The group was one of the most successful of the postgrunge set, releasing multiplatinum-selling albums throughout the Nineties.

Purists argued over the appropriation of the grunge aesthetic by major labels, and critics complained of the watering-down of the grunge sound by the flannel-shirttail-riding second wave. But meanwhile, America's youth was gobbling up the band's songs, like the 1994 smash "Shine." In all truth, Collective Soul was never really a grunge band anyway. Its strident melodiousness owes at least as much of a sonic debt to the positivism of Seventies arena rockers like Journey as it does to the anti-rock-star shenanigans of the heavy guitars and attitude of the grunge progenitors. With the 2007 release Afterwords, the band has cut the next great Nineties radio record — just a decade too late.


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