Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues

Album: Songs For The Daily Planet (1994)
  • songfacts ®
  • In this song, the Oregon singer Todd Snider tells the story of a fictional band that rises to stardom by not playing music. The song lays bare the absurdity of the Alternative music scene, which had just passed its apex of popularity.

    In the early '90s, many very popular rock bands from Seattle were labeled "Alternative," which perverted the very definition of the word. Many of these acts had an angst-ridden, slacker image that came off as rebellious, so Snider imagined a band that had so little use for convention that they refused to play a note of music. In Snider's tale, record companies and MTV swoon for this band, making them wildly successful until the trend passes and the group is left with just their drug habits.
  • This was released a few months after Kurt Cobain died, and there is a reference to Nirvana's most popular song in Snider's lyric, "I feel stupid and contagious." In his book I Never Met A Story I Didn't Like, Snider explained: "People thought I may have been making fun of Kurt. I wasn't. In my mind, I was crowning him as the guy that all the douchebags from my generation were going to copy, and I was determined not to be one of those guys. When I heard his music, I knew it was great, and I knew I'd never measure up to him by attempting to do what he was doing."
  • Songs For The Daily Planet was Snider's first album, and this song was included as a hidden track, poking fun of the trend of including an extra song after an extended period of silence on a CD. Nirvana had a hidden track called "Endless, Nameless" on their Nevermind CD.
  • The title is a reference to the Bob Dylan song "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues." Snider also uses elements of the Neil Young song "My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)" and The Beverly Hillbillies theme song on this track.
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