Bands like Jane’s Addiction germinated Alternative Music in the fertile soil of indy and underground during the 1980s. It exploded into the mainstream in the 1990s, calling into question the very label “alternative.”
A New Hope
How can a music genre be the alternative when it’s so popular? Alternative Music walks a tightrope between rejecting the mainstream and enjoying huge popularity. Alternative Music defines so many aspects of popular culture, yet represents a rejection of the status quo. While Classic Rock was the soundtrack for the counterculture, Alternative was the soundtrack for Generation X. Gen X’ers have an entrepreneurial spirit and constantly question the status quo. The hacker ethic of Gen X bread a new kind of hope. A hope WEcould change things. And the late 1990s and first decades of the 21st century are defined by constant change.
Alternative Music – A Genre with Attitude
So, what is Alternative, anyway? In our book, it’s anything that challenges the establishment. It’s what Larry Starr and Christopher Waterman called“fiercely iconoclastic, anti-commercial, and anti-mainstream.” It may have started as a rejection of the mainstream choices we had available, but this music has come to embody an ethos. A maverick style that constantly challenges the norms and status quo. An ever-shifting sound that defies our attempts to define it.
A Counterpoint to Pop
While it may be very popular, and there may be some crossover hits, Alternative Music is the cultural counterpoint to Pop Music.