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  • Alternative Rock

    Alternative rock music emerged as a new genre in the 1980’s, and by the 90’s it was a hugely popular form of music. The actual term alternative came about in the 80’s, and it was used to try and categorise those bands who were inspired by punk rock but did not fit into the main genres at the time, and were under independent record labels. As a whole, the alternative rock scene actually consists of many different subgenres that have appeared in the independent music scene, such as gothic rock music, and grunge. Though the genre itself is widely considered by most to simply be nothing more than rock music, it is also influenced greatly by other genres such as jazz, folk music and reggae, among a few others.

    The term alternative rock has also been widely used to classify all forms of music that descended from punk rock, and rock music from underground bands and artists from the 80’s. It has even been used for all rock music in general from the 90’s into the 21st century. Though many artists on the alternative rock scene recorded under independent labels, a few artists did find fame in the mainstream, such as The Cure and R.E.M. to name a few. Although it was actually the success and popularity of Nirvana that shot alternative rock into the mainstream light, with their release of the album Nevermind in 1991. This resulted in alternative rock actually becoming the most popular rock music genre of that decade, and many alternative bands rode the wave of success that Nirvana brought crashing into the alternative rock world.

    But, unfortunately for many fans this was in many performers eyes completely conflicted with the rebellious attitude that the genre had grown prior to becoming such a mainstream success. As many of the alternative rock bands that were highly popular either disbanded or simply backed out of the light of mainstream commercial music, the genre itself slowly began to lose its hold on the mainstream music scene. During the beginning of the 21st century many popular rock acts moved away from the alternative rock genres roots, and began to make their own way. Linkin Park for instance, incorporated not only grunge but also a metal style, and with their electronic beats and production styles, they have been labeled as a nu metal act, rather than alternative, regardless of the draw they have taken from the alternative rock genre.

    There are many different styles to be found in the alternative rock scene, and these can vary in not only the attitude of the lyrics and performers, but the entire sound and production of the type of music. The genre pulls from many different styles of music, such as Alternative Dance, Alternative Metal, College Rock, Dream pop, Geek rock, Gothabilly and Gothic Rock, Indie pop, Indie rock, Industrial rock, Noise pop and Noise rock, Post-grunge, Post-rock, Psychobilly, and so much more. Many countries have taken on their own for of the genre, Australia for instance has produced many popular alternative rock bands, including Dead Can Dance, Silverchair, The Vines, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

    The mainstream alternative scene in Canada has produced many popular bands as well, such as Barenaked Ladies, Nickelback, and Our Lady Peace, to name a few. All three of them have found an abundance of popularity and fame in Canada, and in America as well. Great Britain has taken its own view on the alternative rock scene, and differentiates itself from the United States alternative rock scene with a much more pop music focus and also by incorporating more elements of the clubbing and dance cultures into the music. Also, of course, the lyrical content emphasizes on more British concerned subjects. This unfortunately has resulted in a low success rate for British Alternative bands here in the United States. Interestingly enough, Gothic Rock actually came out of the late 70’s British post-punk scene. The first bands to adopt this genre were labeled as gothic rock and post punk, and include bands such as The Cure, Bauhaus, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. This genre quickly gathered fans, and was given a reputation as being the gloomiest and one of the darkest forms of the underground rock scene.

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