The term post-grunge was coined for the generation of bands that followed the emergence into the mainstream, and subsequent hiatus, of the Seattle grunge bands. Post-grunge bands emulated their attitudes and music, but with a more radio-friendly commercially oriented sound.Often they worked through the major labels and came to incorporate diverse influences from jangle pop, punk-pop, alternative metal or hard rock. The term post-grunge was meant to be pejorative, suggesting that they were simply musically derivative, or a cynical response to an "authentic" rock movement. From 1994, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl's new band, the Foo Fighters, helped popularize the genre and define its parameters.

Some post-grunge bands, like Candlebox, were from Seattle, but the sub-genre was marked by a broadening of the geographical base of grunge, with bands like Los Angeles' Audioslave, and Georgia's Collective Soul and beyond the US to Australia's Silverchair and Britain's Bush, who all cemented post-grunge as one of the most commercially viable sub-genres of the late 1990s. Although male bands predominated, female solo artist Alanis Morissette's 1995 album Jagged Little Pill, labelled as post-grunge, also became a multi-platinum hit. Bands like Creed and Nickelback took post-grunge into the 21st century with considerable commercial success, abandoning most of the angst and anger of the original movement for more conventional anthems, narratives and romantic songs, and were followed in this vein by new acts including Shinedown, Seether and3 Doors Down.

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