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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

What does the Alternative in Alternative Rock mean?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (21416points) 1 month ago

Just wondering.

Humor welcome, but I eventually want a serious answer:

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6 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Alt Rock is a broad category of popular rock music typically regarded as somewhat out of the mainstream and variously including elements of punk rock, heavy metal, folk music, etc. Think of bands like Airborne Toxic Event, Guster, The Oh Hellos, The Fray, The Lumineers, and The Decembrists.

Good solid rock music that is a bit eclectic. You don’t find them on stations that play Beyonce or Adele, or Taylor Swift, but definitely on college rock stations.

In the old days we used to call it “album rock” because DJ would play a whole side of an album.

SnipSnip's avatar

The word has the same meaning as it always does. It’s rock that provides an alternative listening experience compared to classic or hard or southern etc..

eyesoreu's avatar

It means it’s not so much rock, more of a pebble.

Entropy's avatar

It was alternative because initially, it was music that wasn’t getting airplay or support from major record labels. it was music coming out of clubs and smaller venues and smaller bands. Of course, then the sound got popular and alt-rock became as mainstream as mainstream rock in the 1990s.

I lack the musical vocabulary to describe the sound, and it’s kind of an umbrella term for a wide range of sounds and styles. It generally eschews the sappy love songs in favor of songs about drug use, depression, politics and what not. It has more in common with the folk-rock of the 60s in that regard. But that characteristic didn’t stand the test of time either. In the 90s, there was a particular ‘college band’ sound to it that was very characteristic.

Anyway, that’s what it’s about…it was about being an alternative to mainstream rock. Which kind of makes it a ‘miscellaneous’ category of anything that doesn’t fit neatly in some other rock subcategory.

Zaku's avatar

It means not utterly corporate.

Forever_Free's avatar

It is alternative to commercial rock. It blends other genres like punk, hip-hop and folk into the rock genre. It still has a strong bass line and rhythm that is amplified and fronted by electric guitar and bass.

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