Alternative rock music is a genre of popular music that emerged in the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. It is characterized by a distinctive style and sound that is different from traditional rock music. The term "alternative" was originally used to describe music that was not part of the mainstream, but has since come to encompass a wide range of styles and sub-genres.
One defining characteristic of alternative rock is its use of unconventional or non-traditional instrumentation and production techniques. This often includes the use of synthesizers, samples, and electronic elements, as well as a focus on experimentation and exploration in sound. Alternative rock also often features more introspective and introverted lyrics, which frequently address issues such as mental health, relationships, and social and political topics.
Another defining characteristic of alternative rock is its strong association with the punk and indie rock scenes. Many alternative rock artists and bands have roots in these genres and have adopted elements such as a DIY ethos, anti-establishment attitudes, and a focus on musical and cultural independence. This has led to a close relationship between alternative rock and underground or alternative cultural movements, such as the alternative music and art scenes.
Alternative rock is also defined by its eclectic and diverse range of influences, which can include punk, post-punk, new wave, shoegaze, grunge, and many others. This eclecticism has allowed alternative rock to continually evolve and adapt, resulting in a genre that is highly dynamic and constantly changing.
One source that provides further insight into the characteristics of alternative rock is the book "Alternative Rock" by Chris Walsh. This book explores the history and evolution of alternative rock, including its cultural and musical roots and its impact on the larger music industry. The book provides in-depth analysis of key artists, albums, and movements within the genre, and offers a comprehensive overview of the defining characteristics of alternative rock.
In conclusion, alternative rock is defined by its use of unconventional instrumentation and production techniques, its association with punk and indie rock, its introspective and introverted lyrics, its eclectic range of influences, and its focus on experimentation and cultural independence. These characteristics have helped to shape alternative rock into one of the most influential and dynamic genres of popular music.