This is the best song of the 90’s, just so you know

Don’t worry, this is still a theology blog. I am working through Paul Molnar’s super-fantastic new book, for which I will post a review soon.


In the meantime, I would like to authoritatively declare this to be the best song of the 90’s:

“Hunger Strike,” Temple of the Dog

Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder are trading vocals, so how could this not be epic? For the uninformed, Temple of the Dog was a tribute band/album with members from Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Mother Love Bone, dedicated to the memory of Mother Love Bone’s lead singer, Andrew Wood, who died from a drug overdose in 1990.

To make matters confusing, Stone Gossard on rhythm guitar and Jeff Ament on bass guitar were members of Mother Love Bone and then became two of the founding members of Pearl Jam after Wood’s death. They are still members of Pearl Jam. The drummer is Matt Cameron, who was then the drummer for Soundgarden, but he is now the drummer for Pearl Jam (since 1998). Currently, he is also the drummer for the regrouped Soundgarden since 2010. These are all, of course, citizens of that sleepy, depressing township known as Seattle.

Temple of the Dog
Temple of the Dog

Now if you are ever on Jeopardy and select the “90’s grunge” category, you can thank me.

For the record, the greatest 90’s grunge album is not from either Pearl Jam or Soundgarden. It is Alice in Chain’s Jar of FliesNow you know.


  1. A good song, but I never really connected with the Seattle-centered “alternative” rock scene of the 90’s, though I listened to quite a bit of the stuff. I was too busy remembering the glory of the post-punk Minneapolis scene of the 80’s, which, among other great songs and groups, included this gut-wrenchingly ragged and beautiful song by the the “Greatest Band That Never Was”:

    • Yes, that’s a great Replacements’ song. On our local alt-rock station (which now styles itself as “90’s alternative and new rock,” because half of their playlist is from the 90’s), they have a Sunday morning show that features the origins of alt-rock in the 80’s. During this show, they play The Cure, Faith No More, The Replacements, etc. I’ll sometimes listen to it on my way to church.

      I was actually a bit too young for the early days of the Seattle explosion in ’91-92. When I was in middle school and started to seriously follow current music, it was the heyday of “post-grunge” — Collective Soul, Dave Matthews Band, Bush, Everclear. I loved all of those bands, most of whom I’ve seen in concert. (This is to say nothing of 90’s country, much of which I also loved.)

      Oddly enough, I was a classic rock devotee prior to that, when I was a fairly little kid. I knew far more about Creedence Clearwater Revival and Led Zeppelin than anything current. I was the only kid in 5th or 6th grade with a black light Led Zeppelin poster in my bedroom, adjacent to my Jimi Hendrix poster!

      • Have you ever heard this one, by the godfather of grunge?:

        (Yes, I know the lyrics are misguided, but they can’t undo the pathos or power of that guitar.)

      • Eddie Vedder would certainly agree that Young is “the godfather of grunge.” I may have heard this song before, but I’m not sure. I do like that guitar a lot.

  2. I distinctly recall being the only 6th grader who preferred Yes and Zeppelin to anything contemporary! Which became problematic later as an ingrained dividing wall of hostility, but that’s another matter. Love Chris Cornell’s banshee caterwauling on the chorus here!

    • “banshee caterwauling” — ha, yes, that’s a good way to put it. I love the vocal contrast in this song between Cornell and Vedder.

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