by Sofia Rossi, Switzerland
The alternative rock is a genre of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s in United States and in United Kingdom. It’s also called “alternative music”, “alt-rock” or simply “alternative.” The alternative term consisting of music types that differ in terms of sound and social context. Despite being a genre that belongs to rock music alternative rock has many influences from other genres like folk, raggae, electronic and jazz. Today it’s more difficult to describe what alternative music is. Alternative can be described as music that challenges the status quo and that is anti-commercial, and anti-mainstream. However, alternative rock has paradoxically become just as commercial and marketable as rock.
Alternative music didn’t become popular immediately. In fact, it became popular in the early 90s. In the 1980s, it was defined by it’s rejection of the commercialism of mainstream culture. Despite this there were a lot of famous bands like R.E.M, The Dream Syndicate, The Feelies and Violent Femmes. These bands were influenced by folk music.
In the 1990s alternative rock started to become very popular. The music industry was enticed by alternative rock’s commercial possibilities. The most popular bands were Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dinosaur Jr. and Firehose. Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind, became a real commercial success and it marked the start of the grunge music phenomenon.
Today alternative rock is very popular. After almost a decade of domination by rap-rock and new-metal bands, alternative rock is finally innovative again. Most references to modern alternative rock music in the United States are to the Indie Rock genre. There are a lot of bands who play alternative rock and some of them are Coldplay, U2, Green Day and Bastille.
Alternative music is a varied genre. Over the years the music has changed and it’s constantly progressing. It’s an important genre for the story of the music.