There’s no greater indicator of the state of a subculture at a particular place in time than the films of that era.
For disaffected post-World War II greasers, it was Rebel Without A Cause and The Wild One. The hippies made Easy Rider and Hair in efforts to speak to the confusion, horror, and misplaced hope of the Vietnam generation. The nihilistic sense of punk rebellion inspired Suburbia and Repo Man.
Nothing spoke to the apathy and ennui of Generation X quite like Cameron Crowe’s 1992 love letter to the nascent grunge movement, Singles.
Three years after his breakout hit Say Anything, former Rolling Stone writer Crowe (whose own juvenile exploits were chronicled in the film Almost Famous) endeavored to document the burgeoning rock club scene.
Shot in the local streets, venues, and coffee shops of Seattle, Singles is a romantic comedy fully entrenched in a specific moment. The film stars Bridget Fonda, a barista who has fallen in love with an absent-minded musician that plays in a band called Citizen Dick, played with reverse aplomb by a highly capable Matt Dillon.
Singles is particularly notable for its concert scenes, featuring grunge luminaries Alice In Chains and Soundgarden at the height of their abilities. Although these moments in the film are criminally brief, a restored blu-ray showcases the full performances in all of their glory.
Soundgarden played a new song for the film called “Birth Ritual,” while Alice In Chains rip through “It Ain’t Like That,” a song off of their 1990 breakthrough album Facelift.
The film is probably best remembered these days for its soundtrack, featuring rare and at the time exclusive tracks by scene figureheads Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, and Screaming Trees, as well as the aforementioned Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. The album also features classic songs from revered Seattle bands The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Lovemongers, as well as decidedly non-Seattle compatriots Smashing Pumpkins and Paul Westerberg, the latter of which also composed the score.
Go wrap yourself in a comfortable flannel, grab a good cup of coffee, and check out the Soundgarden and Alice In Chains performances below.