April 23, 2010

What is the Alternative — Really?

Buona sera. No, I'm not going to be serious on you. Just a bit of pondering that was too long for yesterday's grouping.

I like many kinds of music. My main choice is rock. There are so many sub-categories and styles, sometimes I wish people would take Billy Joel's remark to heart and say, "It's still rock and roll to me". Even so, I suppose some of the categories are useful. When I want to listen to Christian rock, I don't want to find my way through raunchy stuff until I get there.

One category that kind of grinds my gears is "alternative". Alternative to what? It's still rock, isn't it? Sure, there's a style difference from "mainstream" rock. But then, rock itself is supposed to be non-traditional and rebellious. Also, "alternative" is what the 1970s and 80s punk and New Wave evolved into. (Yes, I said "evolved". In this case, the term is valid.) But I have some news for you, Buttercup. The "classic rock" group The Beatles were doing "alternative" music before the term was even considered!

An even bigger gear-grinder for me is the synonym for "alternative", and that is "new music". Yeah. This genre, through its various incarnations, is thirty years old. It's not "new music" anymore. Stations like WRRV say that they are the "new rock alternative". Well...I hate to break it to you, but there are a heck of a lot of groups that have the same sound.

I put it to you that "alternative" is just another mainstream, and "new rock" is not new.

Not that any of this matters, I just wanted to spout off about it. Anybody else want to join in? While I'm waiting, I'm going to look for some music by Switchfoot.

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