The term "alternative" kinda got co-opted in the 90s. Yeah, companies started slapping that label on all kinds of different stuffs. That's really what killed good music in the 90s. That and really shitty bands. Turns out, it never really mattered in the first place. It was all just words, like the ones below. From RW#9, 1997:
JAYNE WAYNE, Reglar Wiglar Staff Writer
CLEVELAND—A nation of young, hip and disillusioned rock music fans grieved openly today upon hearing the news of the tragic death of Alternative Music. Thousands of Generation Xers and hip Baby Boomers struggled to come to grips with the loss of their chart-topping friend. At 12:01PM, Tuesday, August 26, Alternative Rock Music died due to complications from massive hemorrhaging leaving the nation that gave birth to rock and roll, numb and confused.
The direct cause of death of Alternative Music, or Adult Contemporary as it was known to some, has been attributed to over-saturation of the market, and has been linked more specifically to one particular Alternative band and the release of their debut album.
At 12:01PM, August, 26th, the Cleveland based Alternative Rock group, Nerd Pipe, released their major label debut, ironically titled Whatever. The Alternative Market reacted violently to the album's release and its immune system immediately rejected it. Nerd Pipe and their record was the last drop in an already full bucket resulting in the death of the genre. "The strain was too great," said one record company executive who wished to remain anonymous to Wiglar reporters. "We knew it was only a matter of time before it blew up, but we figured we could try to break on or two more new artists before it all came crashing down on top of us." That was not the case.
The Alternative genre was born in 1991 with the release of Nevermind, an album by Seattle Grunge Rock outfit Nirvana. This one record with its grungy guitars, sandpaper vocals and disenfranchised lead singer, screaming lyrics laden with angst and alienation in a society becoming more and more isolated as we reach the end of the millennium, struck a power chord with the dissatisfied Generation X demographic, resulting in phenomenal album sales and seemingly overnight success for the band. Subsequently, Alternative Rock Music flourished. The Alternative or Adult Contemporary Market, lived a full and fruitful life, dominating the Billboard music charts for much of its six year history. Car, clothes and credit card companies were all able to cash in on the alternative craze by using this newly invented youth culture to appeal to the fierce individuality of the tattooed and pierced masses that patronized them in their uniform of combat boots, goatees and interesting hair cuts.
FANS PAY TRIBUTE TO DECEASED GENRE
B.S. BROWN, Special to the Reglar Wiglar
TINLEY PARK—Thousands of fans draped in flannel gathered today at the New World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Illinois, site of a 1992 Blind Melon concert, to mourn the death of an old friend. The grieving fans paraded past the sight where Dexter Holland of the punk rock/alternative crossover band The Offspring once publicly urinated, throwing their multiple ear and nose rings into a great pile in homage to the once great unit shifter. The jewelry pile will be melted down and molded into one gigantic nose ring for the Teddy Roosevelt bust on Mount Rushmore as a lasting tribute to the Alternative Rock Era.
There were mixed feelings among the throngs of sobbing mourners. Twenty-six year old, Tony Lincoln, who drove in from Grand Rapids, Michigan to pay respects, remembered the positive things about alternative music. "Just think of all the good things that came out of Alt. Rock," Lincoln said through hopeful tears. "Stone Temple Pilots, Sponge, Silverchair... we have the Verve Pipe now and nobody can ever take that away from us... ever."
Some fans were not so optimistic, "It's not fair," complained seventeen year old Shawna Stadden of Schaumburg, Illinois. "I never got to see a Lollapalooza."
Some young people were not afraid to look to the future. Confused, yet hopeful, Brian Parker of South Bend, Indiana saw promise in the road that lies ahead, "I've heard ska is cool," Brian told this magazine. Yes, Brian, ska is very cool.
What lies ahead for corporate music is unclear. With techno and dance trends, electronica and ska, and everything retro still up for grabs, one thing remains certain, there are many markets to be exploited, but no matter what the future brings for the millions who made alternative music the power market that it was, we will never forget the one band that started it all, the name of which escapes me right now.