Alternative music (also called alternative rock) is a genre of music that emerged out of the independent music and underground scene of the 1980s, and quickly became very widely popular as the 1990s unfolded. Alternative music has remained popular in the turn of the century. It has evolved through the decades and still has an avid and active fan base now.
Although the term "alternative" is usually associated with the music made in its most commercially successful period (during the late 80's and 1990's), it also refers to a generation of musicians that had in common both the musical style of alternative and the attitude expressed within the music.
There was a spirited, rebellious "DIY" ethos in punk rock in the late 1970s laid, and this undoubtedly laid the groundwork for the attitude and swagger found in alternative music. At times, the "alternative" moniker has been used as a catch-all, an all-purpose description for music from "underground" bands and rock artists that have received some mainstream recognition. It can also refer to any music, whether rock or pop, that is considered to have descended from punk rock. This can include punk itself, as well as New Wave and also what's been called "post punk."
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Alternative music is a broad, all encompassing term describing music consisting of a loud, sometimes distorted and often "jangly" guitar sound, plus smart and sometimes angst-filled lyrics. Bands such as C86, Madchester, Hüsker Dü and R.E.M. fall into this category and embody this ethos.
Some factions of the alternative music movement are political in their message, and aim toward inspiring more conscious awareness within society, as well as positive social change in the world. Alternative music had widespread appeal to members of "Generation X," who resonated with its messages and energy. Alternative music has provided a welcome change and diversion from more mainstream music genres like pop and rock.
Alternative music strives to be different, and fans and listeners appreciate the creativity and innovation inherent in the alternative spirit. Not satisfied with the status quo, alternative musicians strive to push the envelope and break out of the box of the typical, polished pop song or the basic three-chord rock song.
Alternative music has brought new energy and diversity to the music world, breaking the mold of what a band could or should be. Fans have responded, and an audience for alternative music remains strong, with new appreciators of this genre finding their way to its music and the wide variety of excellent bands that continue to produce it.
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