Welcome to my A2 Media Studies Blog. The brief is: to produce a music video, a digipak cover, and magazine advert for the digipak. Throughout the course we will be learning about conventions (general and genre specific) used for each of these products.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

RM - Research Into Alternative Rock Genre

Alternative rock is a genre of rock music that emerged in the 1980s and became popular in the 1990s.

Alternative Rock in the 80s

Throughout the decade this genre remained mainly unheard of, with the odd song becoming a hit and received reviews from mainstream publications such as Rolling Stones. Despite this during the later stages of the decades there were a number of popular bands this included New Order, Public Image Limitedand The Sugarcubes. As well as Joy Division whom were around in the early 80s but became New Order after Ian Curtis, the lead singer, died. Despite this genre not producing spectacular album sales they provided influence to modern bands.

During the 1980s one of the first popular bands in this genre and also most successful band was R.E.M., whom broken up in early September 2011. R.E.M.'s success came from their debut album "Murmur". R.E.M. managed to build up its reputation over the next few years through subsequent releases, constant touring, and the support of college radio. In 1987 R.E.M. achieved their first mainstream hit with the single "This One I Love". A year later the band were signed up to Warner Bros. Records. Despite this their two most commercial albums came out in the early 90s their first one was called Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992) as well as this later alternative rock bands, such as Nirvana, claimed the band were a pioneer of the genre.

The Smiths
Another key band to emerge during the 1980s was The Smiths, despite at the time the band had little chart success, believe it or not the band haven't had a top ten single, and a short career the band have had an influence over the British indie scene throughout the decades. One example of a band that has been influenced by The Smiths is Oasis as well as other Brit-pop bands such as Suede and Blur.

Alternative Rock in the 90s


Grunge is a subgenre of alternative rock which is inspired by hardcore punk, heavy metal and indie rock. It is generally characterized by heavily electric guitars. Grunge became commercially successful in the early 90s. This was mainly down to two bands, Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

In the 1991 Nirvana released an album Nevermind which had the massive hit single "Smells Like Team Spirit". Nevermind celebrates its 20th anniversary last month, however Nirvana only released two albums, one of these was before "Nevermind", Bleach (1989) and (In Utero (1993) due to Kurt Cobain's death in 1994. After Cobain's death Dave Grohl decided to create a solo project called "Foo Fighters". In 1995 Grohl was reunited with Pat Smear, Nirvana's touring member, as well as bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith, whom were both formerly with Sunny Day Real Estate. Although Smear left in 1997 but rejoined the band in 2006. In 2011 Foo Fighters released their seventh album entitled "Wasting Light". The other band albums are called: Foo Fighters (1995)*, The Colour and the Shape (1997), There is Nothing Left to Lose (1999), One by One (2002), In Your Honour (2005) and Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007).

Foo Fighters
*Foo Fighters debut album "Foo Fighters" only featured Dave Grohl as at the time he was the only official member of the band.

Following the success of this album it opened the door for other bands. An example of this is Pearl Jam's album "Ten", this was released a month before "Nevermind", but sales for "Ten" only started to pick up after the release of "Nevermind". "Nevermind" was responsible for bringing alternative rock to a large mainstream audience, and critics subsequently regard it as one of the best rock albums of all time.


Britpop was mainly influenced by music from the 1960s and 70s. The genre emerged in the early 90s with Blur and Suede launching the genre. Other bands such as Oasis, Supergrass and Pulp were quick to join the music revolution. However the two main bands in this genre were Oasis and Blur who brought it to the public’s attention in the mid 90s. Ultimately Oasis won the battle as they had more commercial success as they sold more records.

Throughout the mid 90s to late 90s Britpop became popular with Oasis and Blur being the genre leaders. Throughout this period of time the UK charts were dominated by these two bands. Ultimately Oasis won this battle

However it the late 90s the popularity of this genre declined. Despite this Oasis we still popular and acclaimed one of the best bands in the world until they split up in 2009. Later that year the band reformed and called themselves Beady Eye, without Noel Gallagher.


This decline in popularity for the genre opened the door for Radiohead as well as post-Britpop bands such Coldplay. Since these two genres (Britpop and Grunge) the Alternative genre has had widespread success.

Alternative Rock in the 21st Century

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, several alternative rock bands emerged, including The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, and The Rapture that drew primary inspiration from post-punk and New Wave. The post-punk genre laid the groundwork for the alternative rock genre and found success in the 80s whereas the initial puck rock explosion of in the mid 70s.

The New Wave genre is a subgenre of rock music hat emerged in the mid 70s alongside the punk rock genre. The New wave genre incorporates electronic and experimental music. Both of these genres have influenced bands today. An example of a band that is inspired by the punk-rock genre is Green Day, who is often compared to the likes of The Clash, Sex Pistols and The Jam. An example of a band that is inspired by the New Wave genre is The Killers.

Green Day
Despite Green Day being formed in 1987 their first major success was "Dookie" which was released in 1994, seven years after the band had formed and four years after the band’s debut album. Despite the mass popularity the band received after "Dookie" the band's popularity decreased until 2004 when the band released "American Idiot".  This album reignited the band's popularity with a younger generation.

As well as this 21st Century has had a number of bands that have come into the music headlights a few example of these are Muse, Interpol and The Strokes.

Although in the late 00s alternative rock has become more mainstream. Two prime examples of this are Muse's album "The Resistance" and The Killers' album "Day and Age". This has also happened to other successful bands that become popular in the 90s such as Radiohead with their album "The Kings of Limbs".

Partially sourced from Wikipedia.

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