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6 Reasons Why 90s Was The Era of Alternative Music

From Nirvana to Radiohead, the 90s was an era of unrivaled creativity when it came to alternative music. Despite improvements in technology and engineering over the last few decades that have revolutionized studio production and wide-scale distribution processes, no other period has managed to capture quite as much attention from both mainstream and underground fans like those halcyon days of alternative rock. Find out what made the 90s so special for lovers of all things alt-rock in this blog post!

1. The advent of the ‘indie’ label

Long before major labels began to recognize and develop alternative acts, the 90s saw the emergence of several independent record labels. Bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, and Guided by Voices were able to release their albums without having to compromise on their sound or aesthetic thanks to the support of these smaller labels. The success of some of these indie bands eventually caught the attention of major labels, who then started to sign acts from the genre. This gave alternative music further exposure and helped it reach a wider audience.

2. Grunge explosion

The 90s saw an upsurge in grunge-rock bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam that swept across the US, UK, and Europe. It was a form of alternative music that brought with it a whole new sound and attitude that was not just in stark contrast to the pop-rock sounds of the 80s but also more accessible than traditional punk rock. Grunge achieved massive commercial success, creating an audience for alternative music on mainstream radio stations and MTV.


3. British Invasion

The 90s saw a massive influx of British alternative bands like Oasis, Radiohead, Blur, and Pulp that infiltrated the airwaves with their unique sound. These bands took the world by storm and defined an era in rock music with their experimentation with new sounds and concepts. They not only provided a platform for other British acts to gain recognition but also helped introduce alternative music to a wider audience.


4. DIY attitude

Bands like Fugazi, Husker Du, and Rancid embraced the DIY ethic during the 90s and wrote their own rules when it came to making music. They had an uncompromising stance on artistic control and refused to label themselves as part of a particular genre. Through their passion and relentless touring, they managed to spread the alternative rock movement beyond just major cities and across the globe.


5. Punk revival

The 90s saw a resurgence in punk music with bands like Green Day, Offspring, Bad Religion, and Blink-182 bringing back its raw energy and attitude to the mainstream. These bands were just as popular with the punk community as they were with a wider rock audience, giving alternative music a much-needed boost. The success of these bands helped bring punk back into the limelight, making it one of the defining genres of the decade.


6. Electronic infusion

The 90s saw the rise of electronic music, with bands like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and Daft Punk helping to incorporate elements of synthesizers and sampling into alternative rock. This helped to create an entirely new sound that was both danceable and accessible for those not used to heavier genres like punk and metal. It was a move that ended up pushing the boundaries of alternative music and exposing it to a much wider audience.

Wrapping Up

So, as you can see, the 90s was an important era for alternative music that set the stage for future movements in popular music. It changed the way we thought about rock and helped create a platform for other genres to break onto the mainstream. For fans of all things alt-rock, it will always remain an iconic period of time!  And with that, I rest my case.  What do you think – did the 90s deserve its title as the era of alternative music?


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