The 1990s was a decade of musical experimentation and innovation. It was a time when alternative music emerged as a mainstream genre, and bands from all over the world gained popularity. From grunge to punk to Britpop, these groups helped shape the sound of alternative music and define the decade. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most influential 90s alternative bands that left an indelible mark on the music industry.The Rise of 90s Alternative Bands
Nirvana: The Pioneers of Grunge
It’s hard to talk about 90s alternative bands without mentioning Nirvana. The band, led by the late Kurt Cobain, was one of the pioneers of the grunge movement that emerged from Seattle in the early 90s. Their second album, “Nevermind,” released in 1991, became a cultural phenomenon and helped bring alternative music into the mainstream. Songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are” became anthems for a generation of disaffected youth.
Nirvana’s music was characterized by its raw, unpolished sound and Cobain’s introspective lyrics. The band’s success paved the way for other grunge bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains . Unfortunately, Cobain’s tragic death in 1994 brought an end to Nirvana’s short but influential career.The Rise of 90s Alternative Bands
R.E.M.: The Pioneers of Indie Rock
While Nirvana was making waves in the grunge scene, R.E.M. was already an established indie rock band. The band formed in Athens, Georgia, in the early 80s but gained mainstream success in the 90s with albums like “Out of Time” and “Automatic for the People.” R.E.M.’s music was characterized by its jangly guitars, catchy melodies, and Michael Stipe’s distinctive vocals.
R.E.M. paved the way for other indie rock bands like Pavement, Guided by Voices, and Yo La Tengo . The band’s influence can still be heard in the music of contemporary indie rock bands like Arcade Fire and The National.
Oasis: The Kings of Britpop
While American bands like Nirvana and R.E.M. were making waves in the US, British bands were making their mark on the alternative music scene. Oasis, led by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, was one of the most successful British bands of the 90s. The band’s second album, “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?,” released in 1995, became one of the best-selling albums in UK history.
Oasis’s music was characterized by its anthemic choruses, loud guitars, and Liam Gallagher’s distinctive vocals. The band’s success paved the way for other Britpop bands like Blur, Pulp, and Suede . Unfortunately, the Gallagher brothers’ infamous feuds led to the band’s breakup in 2009.
Radiohead: The Innovators of Alternative Rock
Radiohead was one of the most innovative bands of the 90s. The band formed in Oxford, England, in 1985 but gained mainstream success with their third album, “OK Computer,” released in 1997. The album was a critical and commercial success and is often cited as one of the best albums of all time.
Radiohead’s music was characterized by its experimental sound, complex arrangements, and Thom Yorke’s haunting vocals. The band’s success paved the way for other alternative rock bands like Coldplay, Muse, and Arcade Fire . Radiohead continues to push the boundaries of alternative music with their latest album, “A Moon Shaped Pool,” released in 2016.
The 90s was a decade of musical experimentation and innovation, and alternative music played a significant role in shaping the sound of the era. From Nirvana’s raw, unpolished sound to R.E.M.’s jangly guitars to Oasis’s anthemic choruses to Radiohead’s experimental sound, these bands left an indelible mark on the music industry. Their influence can still be heard in the music of contemporary alternative bands, and their legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians.