One of the great things about the alt-rock revolution of the 1990s was its seemingly endless diversity.
The sounds from this part of the rock universe had always been varied because the idea of “alternative music” was so amorphous. If it was (a) non-mainstream and ignored by most radio stations; (b) a little left of centre in terms of aesthetics; and (c) considered weird by the majority, then it qualified as “alternative” by default, simply because there was no other way to categorize it. And we humans love to put things into neat little piles, right?
Multiple genres thrived in the alt-rock universe. Plus there were all the sub-genres, sub-sub-genres and even sub-sub-sub-sub-genres. If you were into alternative music before the 1990s, you were spoiled for choice. There was something for everyone.
Then along came grunge, the biggest sound of the decade. It ripped a hole in the music space-time continuum, opening a hole into this parallel universe, allowing all these songs to invade the mainstream. And because these sounds and scenes had been evolving almost unseen for years, the people making this music knew what they were doing. The mainstream was flooded with material that was already extremely mature and well-developed. Or close to it.
Never before had so much solid music from so many seasoned performers been waiting in the wings ready to show their stuff. And when they got their chance–wow.
Ride, Leave Them All Behind
Cure, Friday I’m in Love
Pavement, Cut Your Hair
Weezer, My Name is Jonas
Live, All Over You
Nine Inch Nails, Wish
Fatboy Slim, Right Here Right Now
As usual, Eric Wilhite has produced this playlist for us.
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The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:
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