Why alternative music is the best music, objectively



Recording artist Jonda Madison from Mink performs at a USO concert.

Starting in the 1960s, alternative music has filled the headphones of people around the world for 60 years now. This genre of music was coined the term “alternative” after breaking the trends of mainstream music. Over time, alternative has evolved into multiple different genres, and it nestles its way into the many music streaming platforms.

Alternative music is an umbrella term for multiple types of music that has made top charts for 60 years now. They have constantly evolved with society and adapted to the people who listen to them. This genre holds some of the most iconic bands and songs, and will continue to create memorable music due to its ability to adapt for the people. 

Although the birth of alternative music started in the 1960s, it wasn’t until the ’80s when British pop made its way onto radios everywhere. Some of the most notable bands during this time were The Smiths and Depeche Mode. More and more started to join in the alternative music crowd, enjoying the synth piano and use of electronic distortions. 

Alternative influence spread across the world, creating one of the most famous alternative bands, Green Day. Green Day was able to take the alternative genre and give it a new meaning. Along with bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, Green Day created the sub-categories of punk and grunge rock. These sub-genres were extremely popular during the ’90s and ended up dominating the music industry for the next ten years.

Green Day lead singer and guitarist, Billie Joe Armstrong, performs at 2013 concert. (Wikimedia Commons)

As the 2000s rolled in, punk rock and “emo music” filled radio stations primarily in the United States. From My Chemical Romance to LINKIN PARK, these bands played music that conveyed conflicting emotions and used artistic imagery in their videos and concert performances. During this time, alternative music created a new category of music called post-rock. Some of the most notable bands are Coldplay and The Fray. Although punk has died out over the last decade, post-rock still stayed strong and even nurtured a new subgenre during its musical journey.

The versatility of alternative music is one of the main reasons why it is supreme. It is well known in the music industry that in order to become a successful artist you need to have an array of genres that you are comfortable in. This goes for any musician, alt or not. This, in turn, means that since alternative music is inherently versatile it almost sets itself up for success. 

When people hear the words “alternative music” they think of the most recent alternative bands from the last ten years. Arctic Monkeys, Lana Del Rey, and Marina and the Diamonds all contributed to what people think alternative music is today. These songs are usually slower with heavy bases and plenty of piano, classical and electronic. These bands later melded with the newest form of alternative music like Cage the Elephant and Tame Impala. This category uses voice distortion and electronic instruments, bringing back that classic brit-pop sound again.

Alternative music is the most versatile music out there, therefore making it the best genre of music due to its ability to please massive audiences. Even if people listen to predominantly rap music, people will still have some kind of form of alternative music hidden within their library. Its versatility will keep this genre of music alive for another sixty years.