www.whyville.net Sep 12, 2007 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

The History Of Alternative Music

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Author's Note: I did not write this alone. My friend Taylor helped me. He called me just as I was writing this. Thanks a lot Taylor!

I listen to many different types of music, and I'll listen to at least three songs before I deem an artist not my style. I'll have to admit that rap is my least favorite but I do listen to a few select artists, such as Hurricane Chris and Shop Boys.

But today I have decided to write about the music I see as the most genuine and truthful: alternative music. Alternative music, also known as alternative rock and alternative, started in the 1980's and became widely popular in the 1990's. The term alternative was used to describe pop punk bands on independent labels and didn't fit into the genre of their time. Alternative rock consists of many sub-genres that have emerged since it's beginning such as, grunge, Britpop, Goth rock, and indie pop.

Though the genre is considered to be rock some of its influences have been folk music, reggae, electronic, and jazz, among others. Alternative music is an umbrella term for underground music that emerged in the punk rock movement during the mid 1980's. Throughout most of its history it's been defined by the rejection of commercialization of mainstream music.

The bands involved in this genre often played in small clubs, had indie labels, and spread popularity by word-of-mouth. The sounds of alternative range from the dirty guitars of grunge, to the gloomy sound of Goth, to the guitar pop revivalism of Britpop and the shambling innocence of twee pop, to name just a few examples. Lyrics in alternative rock tend to be about topics of social concern, like drug abuse, depression, and environmentalism.

On MTV they would occasionally show alternative videos late at night during the 1980's. In 1986 on MTV in the United States began airing a late night television program with alternative music videos called 120 minutes. The explosion of alternative rock was aided by MTV and festivals, such as Lollapalooza.

Although alternative artists of the 1980's never achieved spectacular record success, they laid the groundwork for musicians who grew up in the 80's. The popular and commercial success of Nirvana's, Nevermind, took alternative music into the mainstream. As a result, alternative rock became the most popular rock form of the decade.

Many alternative bands garnered commercial and critical success. Although, most of the bands rejected the fame because of the mentality of the genres beginning. As many of the key bands broke up or retreated from the limelight, alternative rock declined from the mainstream prominence.

Alternative rock's popularity declined due to many accuracies, such as Nirvana's Kurt Cobain's death in 1994. And Pearl Jam's lawsuit against the concert venue promoter, Ticketmaster, due to the fact that they had barred Pearl Jam from many of the major venues around the country. A signifier of the genres decline was Lollapalooza's unsuccessful attempt to find a headliner in 1998.

By the start of the 21st century many major alternative bands, including Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, and Hole had broken up or were on hiatus. Meanwhile, indie rock diversified; along with the more conventional indie sounds of Modest Mouse, Bright Eyes, and Death Cab For Cutie.

Various strains of indie rock also achieved mainstream success, such as the garage rock revival of The White Stripes and The Strokes, as well as the neo-post punk sounds of The Killers and Interpool. Due to the success of these bands, Entertainment Weekly declared in 2004, "After almost a decade of domination by rap-rock and nu-metal bands, mainstream alt-rock is finally good again."

Some good alternative bands of our age, in my opinion, are Acceptance, Arcade Fire, blessthefall, Boy Kill Boy, Boysetsfire, Candlebox, Dirty Pretty Things, From First To Last, just to name a few. Of course all the genres are negotiable according to what definition you think a genre is.

Music is often associated with how someone dresses and acts, i.e. people who listen to rock do drugs. Which most of the time is completely untrue. Don't judge a person by their looks! It's very rude and inconsiderate, but we as people tend to have mastered this skill.

Today I would like to leave you with a movie to watch. The movie is called Almost Famous with Kate Hudson and it is about the music of the 1970's, and a kid who gets swallowed by it. It is a true story and it the most amazing movie. The history of music entwined with a love story with a dash of comedy.

Goodnight and don't let the bed bugs bite.
Kindell, and my dear friend Taylor


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