Death And Taxes has an interesting write up on the proliferation of dead trees in many of the most iconic ‘90s music videos. Some idiosyncrasies of grunge era MTV call attention to themselves, like an enigmatic (and often superficial) menagerie of masked characters lurking amid ominous, string-lit tents. The ubiquitous grunge tree, on the other hand, barely calls attention to itself.
As the piece says, the role of grunge forests can be seen as a severing of ties with ‘80s hair metal and arena rock. While the earlier aesthetic lionized rockers within a context of booze, babes, and fans, the grunge forest setting conveys zero interest in the trappings of fame. In other instances, trees stand sentry over darkened, anxiety-inducing fairy tales, taking cues from the Black Lodge entrance in Twin Peaks.