Can we finally do away with the term 'alternative rock'?

As human beings, our minds are wired to categorize everything in the world around us. It's a natural and important aspect of being able to make sense of the seemingly infinite data points we encounter each day. However, categorization is not always a perfect science, and this is especially true in the world of modern music. 

Alternative rock was a concept born out of the 1980's, and was an umbrella term that the record industry developed to describe a group of bands and artists who were making music outside of the norm of mainstream rock-n-roll. Mainstream rock at the time was dudes with long hair playing music that was rooted in the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and others (crunchy overdriven guitars, wailing voices, in-your-face guitar licks etc). A band like The Cure comes along, with some punk influences, and suddenly it represents an "alternative" form of rock, or so the theory goes.

Thus the industry takes the term alternative and runs with it. The label is later applied to the Seattle grunge movement (and all the derivative music that flowed from that, or is associated with it), so you now have a tag stuck to bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, in addition to the likes of The Cure, REM etc. Even Creed and Nickelback (gasp!) are linked to this alleged genre, as well as numerous other bands that have little to do with one another aesthetically.

The plain truth is that there is no alternative genre musically speaking. At least not in the way that heavy metal is a genre, or EDM, or jazz, blues etc. There is no common musical language or values shared amongst all bands that carry the alternative label. It's become a completely meaningless term, yet the industry persists with it. 

What's more, so called alternative is now the mainstream. Metal and hard rock, while still having a niche audience and new music being made, is mostly dead from a commercial point of view. The Sirius satellite radio channel Alt Nation, which I listen to from time to time, represents an "alternative" to nothing. It represents the mainstream. I cringe when their promos say things like "All the alt-rock you can handle" or some such (I'm paraphrasing, but it's irksome...the mere name of their channel irks me).

Do I have a better term? Probably not. Modern rock? Contemporary rock? Pop rock? I don't know. It's not my place to decide that, but I do feel strongly that alternative rock is a term that has run its course and needs to be discarded. 

 

 

7 comments

  • Camille  W. Morgan
    Camille W. Morgan
    The website rebuilt UX team was fast-moving,[url=http://designbeep.com/2018/05/24/5-tips-to-designing-a-website-that-stands-out/]best ad agency showreels[/url] communicative, and creative throughout the projects

    The website rebuilt UX team was fast-moving,best ad agency showreels communicative, and creative throughout the projects

  • Jack
    Jack United States
    Hi Dear, have you been certainly visiting this site daily, if that's the case you then will certainly get good knowledge. http://www.zonaherbal.net/types-of-rehabilitation-facilities-outpatient-georgia/

    Hi Dear, have you been certainly visiting this site daily, if that's the case you then will certainly get good knowledge. http://www.zonaherbal.net/types-of-rehabilitation-facilities-outpatient-georgia/

  • James
    James ontorio
    The client admires their desire to tackle complex projects and will continue to use them. https://www.oxfordhomesinc.com

    The client admires their desire to tackle complex projects and will continue to use them. https://www.oxfordhomesinc.com

  • Wils
    Wils ontorio
    The team was organized and extremely skilled, providing a clear project outline and schedule. [url=https://minutehack.com/guides/what-is-ux-design-and-how-can-it-benefit-your-small-business]UX design company[/url]

    The team was organized and extremely skilled, providing a clear project outline and schedule. UX design company

  • john
    john paris
    The most extremely good term i have ever had! And their service is extremely good![url=https://www.faltouagua.com/]faltouagua[/url]

    The most extremely good term i have ever had! And their service is extremely good!faltouagua

  • robbin
    robbin UK
    Great and really accommodating for all the people available and I ought to additionally propose them because it has helped me masses and I am sure that it'll do the same for you! [url=https://www.adtechps.com/]best feature of new iphone[/url]

    Great and really accommodating for all the people available and I ought to additionally propose them because it has helped me masses and I am sure that it'll do the same for you!
    best feature of new iphone

  • Graham Joe
    Graham Joe Atlanta
    They’ve delivered quality [url=https://www.tipsformobile.com/how-to-validate-the-ux-ui-of-your-mobile-app/]agencies in SF[/url] firm products on time and within budget.

    They’ve delivered quality agencies in SF firm products on time and within budget.

Add comment