Alternative Music and What Comes Under It?April 24, 2022
Alternative music is a broad term for the music that isn’t played on mainstream radio, isn’t consumed by mainstream audiences, and doesn’t fit into any other genre. Alternative rock is a rock ‘n’ roll subgenre that emerged in the 1990s and has remained popular today. Alternative rock music did not fit in well with the biggest rock bands of the time, such as U2, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, and Guns N’ Roses, when it first emerged. Instead, it continued the 1980s college-rock scene, where bands like R.E.M. and the Pixies thrived away from the limelight. Despite its alternative moniker, alt-rock received a lot of airplay on the radio. Alternative bands such as Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Beck, and Nine Inch Nails have all charted on the pop charts at some point in their careers. Some were signed to major record labels, making alternative rock more mainstream than indie rock bands signed to independent labels. Alternative music has gotten less media attention and radio airplay over time, but alt-rock (also known as a modern rock) is still a big part of the pop music scene.
What comes under it?
- Local scenes dominated early alt-rock. The Pixies, The Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr., Buffalo Tom, Blake Babies, and Belly were all part of the alternative rock scene in Greater Boston. The Replacements and HüskerDü were born in Minneapolis; The Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair were born in Chicago, and Pavement and Sonic Youth were born in New York City. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Aimee Mann, and Weezer were all based in Los Angeles, while Fugazi and Shudder To Think were based in Washington, DC.
- Nirvana became the most well-known band in Seattle. Nirvana was perhaps the most critically acclaimed of the Seattle bands. The grunge legends released their first album in 1988, and their major-label debut, Nevermind, in 1991 had a huge impact. The band disbanded after frontman Kurt Cobain died in 1994, and the alternative rock spotlight shifted elsewhere.
- Strong 1970s and 1980s influence: 1970s rockers like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath influenced many early alt-rock bands. Others were inspired by 1980s icons such as The Smiths and Minor Threat. For example, R.E.M., Bob Mould, and Sonic Youth had successful careers in the 1980s college-rock era and continued to do so well into the 1990s and beyond.
Alternative music has gotten less media attention and radio airplay over time, but alt-rock (also known as a modern rock) is still a big part of the pop music scene.