What was the best decade for Alternative Music?

  • What was the best decade for Alternative Music?

    I'm throwing this out there to start a discussion. The decades that really matter are the 70's, '80's, 90's & '00's. I'd rather here from you Causticvox! members before giving my opinion. Some things worth taking into consideration when examining a decade is how much did influence or does influence the current decade. How popular did Alternative music become to the listening public outside of alternative music listeners? I'm sure you can come up with your own criteria as well.

    Play your music loud & on real speakers (headphones, ear-buds, & crappy computer speakers are not real)!

  • 1980-1989

    My two fave longplays is from 1986 :

    the Smiths - the Queen is dead

    The The - Infected

  • Hmm... Well, I would love to say the 80s, as that is my fave decade for alternative music by far. But I honestly feel the decade that brought alt to a much wider audience and made listeners aware that there even was an alternative to Top 40 rotation and various scions of metal would be the 90s.

    Then since the 00s, the resurgence of 80s alternative music (I'm not alluding to the stylistic reboot/homage, but to actual music made in the 80s.) has become an alternative music choice yet again, for a whole new generation. (As the parent of a 17-year old son, I find it a bit surreal, but ultimately very cool, that he and his friends actually appreciate the music of my youth. I certainly didn't feel that way about most of my parents' music!)

    So...fave is 80s, most broadly-influential and long-reaching is 80s, but decade that reallly brought alternative music to the masses was the 90s.

  • I have to say I'm biased. I grew up during the '80's & I believe Lars & Tantara, although younger than I, were a part of that coming of age decade. But I also feel that the late '70's laid the groundwork for what would become the '80's. So maybe the '70's were the most influential decade, & the '80's the most prolific.

    I totally agree with Tantara's second paragraph. I agree with it so much I don't have anything to add. Just read it!

    Play your music loud & on real speakers (headphones, ear-buds, & crappy computer speakers are not real)!

  • if it werent for the 70s .the 80s would have been nothing!

    totally agree with previous comments .the late 70s punk explosion probably didnt realise what a profound influence it would have on later generations.especially the 80 s where the indie /new wave scene emerged.only a priviliged appearance on top of the pops.or decent write up in the music press would secure any form of recognition.remember no satallite channels or internet back then.john peel sessions were another slight hope for any promising bands.many went unnoticed.then there was the many spin offs and collaborations .radio or gigging were the best options but then again lack of finances ment bands localised there tours and often ignored scotland!for any one who hasnt checked out 80s cult band the chameleons from manchester this would be a great place to start on the 80s alternative scene.the list is endless.find more on my home page .there is plenty there to enjoy.happy listening.

  • I agree with the above post...so many great albums in the 80's like Strange Times by The Chameleons, From the Lion's Mouth by The Sound and Sleep no More by the Comsats...but if it weren't for the Pistols and the Buzzcocks none of this would have happened.

  • I can't help but differentiate between the two decades ('70's & '80's)! Like Andrew & James said without the punk explosion from the '70's the '80's would've been nothing more than a continuation of early & mid-'70's prog rock & listener friendly soft pop. I think it made the '70's the most important decade but it lead to the '80's being the most prolific. But I must say the bands that came about in early to mid '00's certainly capitalized on those who came before. Even to this day, there are dozens of new Alternative bands influenced by the past but taking a different modern slant to the Alternative music genres & doing a smash up job of it!

    Play your music loud & on real speakers (headphones, ear-buds, & crappy computer speakers are not real)!

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 24 Nov 2011, 14:03
    If it were not for such a slow start and for the Hippie nonsence, I would have said The 60's. Almost all of the Legends of what is called Alternative - VU, Bowie, Iggy, Nico *The Gothic edge of the first VU album and albums like The Marble Index), Arthur Lee, for starters - had set the spark then. Not to mention having the very rough times of being "the first" and the groundbreakers in a music world not so accustomed to these quick changes. Plus, may of the leaders of Electronics at that time were already learning thier craft with the Space Age in mind. Even a couple of leading Pop Producers, including the envolope pushing but ill-fated Joe Meek, were "hearing new worlds" (appologies to Meek fans) which would later turn up in The 70's as something more interesting and even bleaker - Kraftwrk and Suicide to mention two. Without those legendary groundbreakers (oh yeah, Syd Barrett, too!!!), most of The 70's would not have happened as strong. (Maybe we can also throw in The MC5 for their first album era mix of politics and energenic Rock and the second album's pure an simple high energy music, BIG influence on Punks through The 70's...)

    ...and let's not forget the Garage Punk sounds, too...One can see the Pleasure Seekers being a link to Joan Jett thanks to Suzi Quatro's contribution as and the Early 70's solo records. The Sonics were crazed and remain a standard for most of what turned out to be Punk, especially all of the keepers of the style.

    So, fo my answer to the original question - you could say The 70's for those building up from the Late 60's.

    Edited by a deleted user on 26 Nov 2011, 20:28
  • wow..great points from everyone! i have 2 agree that the late 60's have a lot 2 do with the build ups in the 70's, 80's and so on..and its still evolving..

  • From 1979 to1982, then form 2011 to ..?

  • Could not pass up chiming in on this one!

    Everyone has given great reasons for their opinions. For me, I think you can look back at the end of the 70's (punk and new wave movements) and see that a major change was about to happen. With the start of some great record labels (Rough Trade, Factory, Mute & Fiction to name a few) the eighties took off in full stride. So with that I feel the 80's may have had the greatest activity. Obviously each decade benefits from the prior. That is the basis on how evolution works. Artists mentioned in earlier responses like David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground, Joy Division, (Kraftwerk), The Clash, and Sex Pistols were all instrumental in inspiring the explosion that took place in the 80's.

    The 80's bands were fortunate to see Independent labels seriously take on the big labels. Even this was not entirely revolutionary but with better distribution more people were able to hear it (everywhere). Once MTV hit the music scene, the speed of adoption was almost overnight. No longer did you need to wait until next month's magazine to learn of new music (which was already a few months behind). To make things easy, MTV often showcased alternative music on shows such as The Cutting Edge and 120 Minutes.

    So during the '79-'89 time frame you were able to witness several subgenres take hold:
    1. Gothic Rock (Bauhaus, The Cure, The Cult)
    2. Manchester (New Order, The Smiths)
    3. Electronic/SynthPop (Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Erasure)
    4. College Rock (R.E.M., Love & Rockets)
    5. Industrial (Ministry, Nine Inch Nails)
    6. Alternative Rock (Jane's Addiction, The Pixies)

    X. MTV - perhaps the biggest catalyst for alternative music scene (at least in the US).

    Although these subgenres continued on into the 90's. Many of them were combined into Modern Rock (later to be re-labeled as simply "Alternative Music") with the likes of Grunge, Madchester, Shoegaze, etc.

  • I personally love the Manchester scene in the 80s but just overall the 80s tops it for me.

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