With Gen Z’s enthusiasm for the trends of the 1990s showing no sign of slowing down, they've also discovered and wholeheartedly embraced the grunge sound that emerged from Seattle in the late 1980s.
After being heavily featured both in the trailer for and in The Batman movie starring Robert Pattinson, the Nirvana track Something in the Way has re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart more than three decades after it appeared on the band's bestselling album, Nevermind.
The Nirvana resurgence
Something in the Way’s appearance in the Billboard Hot 100 marks only the fifth time the band achieved the accolade.
Since the release of The Batman in March 2022, the song, which was never released as a single, has charted on several Billboard charts. It reached number two in the Rock Streaming Songs and Rock Digital Song Sales chart; it hit the fourth spot in the Alternative Digital Song Sales and Alternative Streaming Songs chart; reached number 20 on the Digital Song Sales chart, and number 27 in the Streaming Songs chart.
Spotify reported a 1,200 per cent increase in streams of the song on the platform.
The song also began popping up all over TikTok, featuring on videos that have been viewed in their millions.
How Kurt Cobain inspired 'The Batman'
The decision to include the track in the film was taken by The Batman director Matt Reeves, who has been outspoken about the extent to which Cobain, who died in 1994 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, inspired Pattinson’s take on the comic book character.
“[It was] part of the voice of that [Batman’s] character”, Reeves told Esquire about the themes the Nirvana song tackles. “When I considered, ‘How do you do Bruce Wayne in a way that hasn’t been seen before?’ I started thinking, ‘What if some tragedy happened and this guy becomes so reclusive, we don’t know what he’s doing? Is this guy some kind of wayward, reckless, drug addict?’
“And the truth is that he is a kind of drug addict. His drug is his addiction to this drive for revenge. He’s like a Batman Kurt Cobain.”
Grunge makes a comeback
Alongside Nirvana, the song Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls, which came out in 1998, is another late-grunge-era track currently enjoying a resurgence, most notably on TikTok.
This month, it reappeared in the Billboard Hot 100 chart alongside Nirvana.
New and emerging artists have also been showing their grunge inspiration, with tracks such as Olivia Rodrigo’s Brutal and Willow featuring Siiickbrain's Purge both featuring a notably '90s slant.