It's not surprising that the term "grunge" is not found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary (7th edition – printed in 1982), as it only gained popularity in the early-to-mid-eighties. However, the definition from dictionary.com is quite vague, describing it as "dirt." Wikipedia provides a slightly broader definition, referring to it as someone or something akin to alternative rock as a subculture. When translating this concept to music, it means creating music with a blend of dark irony and a sense of liberation, drawing the listener into a range of dynamic extremes. Detroit-based artist Austin Mulka accomplishes this brilliantly in his latest song, titled '6-MAM.'
'6-MAM' is written in the key of G minor and belongs to the grunge genre with elements of blues and classic/stadium rock. The song follows a 5-chord progression throughout, except for the bridge. It captures the essence of grunge with its energetic lyrics set against a mid-tempo arrangement that features dramatic highs fused with tension and melancholic, subdued lows. The lyrics explore how external forces shape one's perception, with a nod to two bands favored by Kurt Cobain – the Pixies and the Frogs. From the very beginning, the song sets a rebellious and yearning tone with lines like 'The bees aren’t free like the bears, whatever that means, I don’t care' and 'What do you see in blobs of ink, I make up things I didn’t see.' Mulka, armed with an English degree, excels in delivering these imaginative lyrics with conviction, reminiscent of Bryan Adams and Kurt Cobain. His vocals carry a wide range of dynamics and a breezy irony that enhances the song. The muted chords in the verses, followed by thunderous power chords in the chorus, provide excellent support to the lyrical variations. The catchy verses, complemented by electric guitars, dominate most of the song. The virtuosic elements, including electric riffs and instrumental interludes after the bridge, add an anthemic and euphoric dimension that suits the genre perfectly. The meticulous mixing of elements and the allocation of space to each instrument create a beautifully intense sonic experience, capturing the listener's attention.
At a duration of three minutes and twenty-seven seconds, '6-MAM' is an incredible addition to the grunge and contemporary/alternative rock genres. It exemplifies the art of blending purpose and raw beauty in sound, making it a rare gem that excels in all major aspects of a song – songwriting, performance, arrangement, and production.
About Austin Mulka Austin Mulka, hailing from Detroit, MI, is singer/songwriter, novelist, poet, and musician. With a keen sense of storytelling sharpened by an English degree from the University of Michigan, Austin seamlessly blends profound lyricism with rich melodies. His current album is grunge inspired from artists like Soundgarden and Nirvana. Some of his all-time inspirations are Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, The Beatles and Queen. Beyond music, Austin’s talents extend to written prose, further showcasing his dedication to artistry and expression.