Unlike their contemporaries in Pearl Jam, Mudhoney were not as interested in commercial success. Mudhoney’s sound included a mix of distorted hard rock, garage rock riffing, heavy metal, punk and blues rock that soon became referred to as grunge. Their sound was influenced heavily by early garage and punk bands like The Stooges, The Damned, Bad Brains and Black Flag as well as blues rock bands like The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. Mudhoney’s harsh, in your face sound influenced a number of bands including their contemporaries, alternative rock band Sonic Youth, as well as grunge bands such as Nirvana, Screaming Trees and Hole. Mudhoney continues to record and tour as of 2019.
10. Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More
Released on Mudhoney’s second EP, 1989’s Boiled Beef & Rotting Teeth. “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” is a slow, heavily distorted grunge song. “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” is about an out of control teen girl who overdoses on pills and is found in the bathroom by her mother. “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” features Arm’s sneering vocals over howling, dissonant double guitars. The dark lyrical content and instrumentation of “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” was the prototypical grunge sound, influencing many future grunge musicians like Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, lead singer and guitarist for the grunge band Hole.
9. Beneath the Valley of the Underdog
The final track on Mudhoney’s 1998 release on Reprise records, Tomorrow Hit Today. “Beneath the Valley of the Underdog” is more on the metal side of Mudhoney’s work. “Beneath the Valley of the Underdog” features heavy guitars and Arm singing in a much lower voice than in most of their songs. As “Beneath the Valley of the Underdog” reaches its peak Arm reverts to his punk influenced howls. Arm’s heavy metal influenced vocals on “Beneath the Valley of the Underdog” are reminiscent of his work with Green River the previous decade.
8. Blinding Sun
Released on Mudhoney’s 1992 album Piece of Cake. “Blinding Sun” features a slower tempo than many of their other songs. “Blinding Sun” clearly shows Mudhoney’s metal and blues influences. Arm’s vocals are sung slower and lower in “Blinding Sun” than in other Mudhoney songs. The verses of “Blinding Sun” repeat in a call and response blues format.
7. The Lucky Ones
The title track to Mudhoney’s 2008 album The Lucky Ones. “The Lucky Ones” is a hard rocking, heavily distorted track. Arm’s vocals on “The Lucky Ones” are half sung, half screamed. “The Lucky Ones” is notable for the heavy drum solo by Dan Peters in the middle of the song. “The Lucky Ones” shows that Mudhoney could sound as energetic and powerful in 2008 as they did in 1988.
6. Here Comes Sickness
Released as the second single from Mudhoney’s debut album, 1989’s Mudhoney. “Here Comes Sickness” is a perfect example of how Mudhoney blended their influences to create their unique sound. The lyrics of “Here Comes Sickness” talk about a girl referred to as a sickness walking down the street. “Here Comes Sickness” has a mid tempo beat with call and response style vocals and bluesy guitar during the verses. In contrast the choruses of “Here Comes Sickness” heavy garage rock riffing and punk influenced drums along with Arm’s trademark snarling vocals.
Unusually for Mudhoney “Acetone” is an almost entirely acoustic song. “Acetone” was the final song on Mudhoney’s 1992 album Piece of Cake. “Acetone” puts a grungy spin on what is essentially country music. The lyrics of “Acetone” discuss a couple drinking acetone together. “Acetone” is believed to be written about a couple suffering from alcoholism. Though “Acetone” isn’t typical of Mudhoney’s sound they manage to sound exactly like themselves while still exploring new sonic territory.
4. Hate the Police
Originally recorded by punk rock band The Dicks. Mudhoney recorded their own version of “Hate the Police” for their second EP, 1989’s Boiled Beef & Rotting Teeth. Mudhoney’s version of “Hate the Police”was released as a single. Mudhoney’s “Hate the Police” became even more popular than the original. The lyrics of “Hate the Police” reference police brutality with the refrain of “You can’t find justice it’ll find you.”
3. Suck You Dry
The first single from Mudhoney’s 1992 release Piece of Cake. “Suck You Dry” features Arm’s sneering vocals over a slightly slowed punk rock tempo. “Suck You Dry” features Arm’s trademark snarling vocals. “Suck You Dry” is a sexual double entendre about a negative relationship with a woman that sucks out people’s energy. The fast tempo and harsh vocals on “Suck You Dry” showcases the band’s hardcore punk influences. “Suck You Dry” reached number sixty five in the UK Singles chart and number twenty-three on the U.S. Alternative charts.
2. If I Think
Released on Mudhoney’s debut EP Superfuzz Bigmuff in 1988. “If I Think” combines slow, almost tender acoustic verses with an explosive hard rock chorus. “If I Think” was one of the first grunge songs to utilize the quiet verse/loud chorus format that would become a trademark of the entire genre. The lyrics of “If I Think” sound almost like a love song but are tinted with Arm’s cynical outlook.
1. Touch Me I’m Sick
Released in 1989 on Mudhoney’s second EP Boiled Beef & Rotting Teeth, “Touch Me I’m Sick” is arguably one of the first grunge singles to be released. “Touch Me I’m Sick” was the first grunge song that received heavy attention from college radio. “Touch Me I’m Sick” introduced Mudhoney’s sound to the world. “Touch Me I’m Sick” was extremely influential. “Touch Me I’m Sick” earned Mudhoney the respect of alternative rock band Sonic Youth and the two bands released a double single together in 1988. “Touch Me I’m Sick” was a big influence on Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.
The two bands would eventually collaborate on several songs together. Courtney Love credited hearing “Touch Me I’m Sick” as inspiring her to quit stripping and pursue a musical career with Hole. “Touch Me I’m Sick” was the song that brought grunge to the world’s attention. Mudhoney’s use of heavy distortion, hard rock riffing, punk rock drumbeat and screaming vocals in “Touch Me I’m Sick” would all become staple elements of the nascent grunge scene.