On one side you have the likes of Tenacious D singing the best song in the world, seriously this is a tribute best song in the world and on the other you have to walk the Moon telling you to shut up and dance. The truth is telling the difference between rock and alternative rock is kind of tricky.
You see the thing is, the term alternative is used today to describe songs that are not mainstream, mainstream rock refers to those songs that you hear on the radio over and over until you are left with no option but to grab your axe and go to work on your radio, or turn it off because that’s less expensive, hey whatever floats your boat.
Alternative rock in itself is a subset of rock music, all that aside the truth is it’s all about marketing. Marketing created the alternative genre of music and it also created rock music.
You can thank nirvana for turning alternative rock mainstream, kind of confusing right? When something goes the mainstream it simply means that it is gaining popularity with mainstream audiences, thus it is accepted by the majority of listeners.
Alternative rock has many subcategories some examples are:
- Hard Rock
- Experimental Rock
- Gothic Rock Punk Rock
- New Wave Punk Rock
Alternative rock earned its name because in the past it didn’t fit in any genre, if you know the history of punk rock you know that it all started with ‘garage bands’, keeping that in mind, you can say that alternative rock is a descendant of punk rock because of the audiences back then who were mostly college students and people who enjoyed underground music.
Alternative rock gained popularity in Britain first before it crossed the large shark-filled pond and made it to the Americas. Marketers saw an opportunity; they knew that if you make something exclusive more people will want it. This was based largely on the achievements made by bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and sound garden.
In my opinion, the most notable alternative rock band in the UK is or rather was Coldplay, hold up did they break up? Anyways, look at a song like violet hill, it sounds and looks like rock but it isn’t, why? Because, it’s kind of different, compare that to Viva la Vida and it gets of confusing.
Viva la Vida sounds pop but on some charts, it’s ranked as a rock, the point is it the lines between punk rock/rock in general and alternative rock are blurred. It can get difficult to tell which is which.
The best alternative rock bands:
- Radio head
- Red hot chili peppers
- Green day
- Foo fighters
- Linkin park
- Cold play
- The cranberries
- Cage the elephant
In the end, you are at liberty to listen to whatever you want, so forget about the genres and subgenres rock out.