The New Alternative

I got a homework assingment from Lee Foster over on 96X: listen to this song and tell him what I think.

96X is the local alternative rock station.  I like that song.  Its very good, but does it belong on an alternative station?  96X is very much the radion station for me as right when I was coming on age this station challenged my ideas of rock and roll.  Seattlle had just exploded and you had Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam blasting like anthems for us Gen-Xers.  There were other bands like Hole and Sponge that caught my attention.  The station changed as the genre changed.  Ska came into vogue.  Weezer kicked off a whole new wave of nerd rock.

Alternative music has changed a lot over the years, but now we're looking at something that doesn't quite fit the mold.  Alternative Country music.  They played a track today on there "4:20 Buzz" that's along the same line.

Alternative rock came about when we looked at what was being sold to us as "our music" that was supposed to be youthful and fun and said "bullshit, this isn't us."  It was pop garbage, and carefully constructed images and dudes in spandex wearing girly make-up with bug teased hair which was supposed to be what drove girls wild.  We didn't care.  We didn't want that.  We tuned into the radio because that's where the weird, interesting music was.  Music that was different than the recycled crap that was played over and over agian n the rock stations.  We wanted different and alternative music gave it to us.

Now we're a couple decades down the road and another genre has turned to pop garbage: country music.  Let me get this straight, we went from Hank Williams and Lorreta Lynn, to Travis Tritt and Reba McEntire, to Scotty McCreery and Tayler Swift?  How the hell did that happen?

So we have an uptick in what is known as Americana.  Bands like the Avett Brothers, and Old Crow Medicine Show which utterly forsake the pop route in favor of soulful, poerful music that resonates.  Lee told me yesterday, "There are people who love the Avett Brothers and people who just like the Avett Brothers, but nobody hates them."  People are resonding to this music just like the Gen-Xers responded to the Seattle sound.  They don't like what they are being told is country music so they're going with the alternative.

This brings us back to our main thought, if Americana is alternative country music, shouldn't it be played on an "alternative" station even if that station made its bones in alternative rock?  96X seems to be a station in flux.  Has been ever since they cut loose the Mike and Bob Show.  They have to decide where they go from there.  Do they want to fully embrace this alternative idea?

At the very least, could they bring back "The Punk Show" on Sunday nights?

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