This article will discuss what happened to alternative music in the new millennium, and what it will take to save it from extinction.
Alternative rock is a genre of music that was invented in the late-1970s, evolving from the then-popular new wave music of the 1970s.
In the 1980s, a widespread revolution occurred, as alternative bands began to grow in popularity. The same is true for the 1990s, as artists such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam began to dominate the music industry.
Alternative rock soon became mainstream, forming the foundation for pop music.
Over the last 15 years, however, alternative music has begun to see significant decline in popularity.
These statistics illustrate the story of what has happened to alternative music in the new millennium:
The current top selling alternative bands of all time include Radiohead, Coldplay, and Soundgarden.
“Alternative” has also transformed into “pop.” From One Direction to Selena Gomez, most of the top pop musicians are heavily influenced by alternative music.
Artists such as Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande are renowned for their stripped-down, emotional lyrics, drawing much of their music from the greatest alternative rock bands of the ’90s.
The real question is not why “pop” music has come to dominate alternative music, but why that music is “pop.”
What’s wrong with the music that alternative bands create? It’s true that their lyrics have often been influenced by traditional pop music, but bands such as Radiohead and OK Go have always presented alternative music in a new light.
Perhaps the primary problem is that the genre’s popularity is nearly devoid of positivity. Unlike the musical style associated with mainstream music, which is unapologetically uplifting, alternative music is often burdened with angst and dark themes.
While plenty of rock and pop songs are concerned with social issues and political issues, very few (if any) of them are actively exploring the possibilities of creating a message of peace, joy, and positivity.
In fact, “rock and roll” in the old sense is rapidly disappearing. The music that most people associate with rock and roll is simply pop music in a different form.
There is a reason that the top-selling alternative band is Coldplay, and the top-selling rock band is Linkin Park.
“Alternative” is also dying for one reason: popularity. Alternative music was originally championed by a small group of artists, but the genre quickly spread far beyond the small community of artists who started it.
It was clear early on that alternative music could never get popular on its own, and that it required an alternate form of entertainment to attract people. That entertainment was, of course, pop music.
Before I ever read “You’re Not Alone,” I had become tired of listening to alternative music. I enjoyed it for its eclectic style, but when the same lyrics were sung by Pink, Avril Lavigne, or Britney Spears, I found the songs to be tiresome.
It didn’t matter if the lyrics were positive or negative; if the song made me feel unhappy, I simply switched the channel. “Alternative” artists have a strong sense of individuality, but they are not representative of anything special.
There was a time when I thought that the only reason the music I listened to would ever be popular was because it was about feelings that people want to feel.
I thought I was an individual, and I wanted to express my own feelings in an album. But the truth is that most of what I listened to was pop music, and I didn’t feel any better. I just wanted something different.
But today I have a completely different perspective. I didn’t just read “You’re Not Alone” because I wanted to see if something I had been doing all my life would work. It was the opposite.
I realized that I wanted my feelings to be felt as much as the authors of “You’re Not Alone” want theirs to be felt. I wanted to find an album that could open my heart to something beyond myself and a meaningless career.
And I did.
I’m not sure what caused the shift in my perspective, but it has a lot to do with being in the midst of a personal crisis. Losing my job and finding myself without direction has been a struggle for me, and that struggle has made me look at my music in a different light.
It has made me more aware of the music I am listening to and how it makes me feel. The phrase “music for the soul” took on a whole new meaning for me after I listened to “You’re Not Alone.”
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
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