While talking to a friend yesterday, he brought up the topic of Alternative Rock music from the 1990’s. I doubt that he realized how much of a fan I also was of that genre before bringing up this topic though (he certainly does now). Alternative Rock was what I predominantly listened to in my teenage years, which was the time in my life where I listened to the radio more than any other period before or since. I still listen to many of these songs in my own playlists and on Pandora.
I would say that songs in the 90’s Alternative Rock genre, though not necessarily radically different from other rock songs, allowed for an interesting fusion of elements not commonly found in the standard Rock genre. Also, the time period was unique because so many different songs in that genre were coming out all at once. Granted, the term ‘Alternative Rock’ always seemed to be defined pretty loosely, so maybe it was more diverse just because it allowed for so many different types of music to be incorporated in to it. Does all music stink now? No. Does nostalgia play a large part in me still liking this music? Most likely. Does Alternative Rock still exist? Most certainly.
So, this finally brings us to my motivation for creating this post. My friend asked me to try to remember some of the great songs from the 90’s Alternative Rock movement. So, with that in mind I wanted to start a list of some of what I consider to be the most outstanding and memorable songs from that genre.
My First Choice: Tonight, Tonight by the Smashing Pumpkins
I think the Smashing Pumpkins defined the Alternative genre in many ways. Not only were they one of the most successful and prolific bands of that genre, but they also embraced the idea of merging elements from many different styles of music and bringing a unique sound to the landscape (though much of the music was still firmly rooted in a typical ‘pop rock’ sound). Tonight, Tonight is a great example of these qualities, and also their ability to create rich, densely layered music. The video was also a fun tribute to the silent film A Trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès.