Evangelicals should apologize to Bill
Replicating Life in Code

1996 and the death of alternative rock

1996 I graduated from college and that summer I neither worked nor went to school, wanting a break before graduate school--it was the last long break before this summer's sabbatical.  Derrek, Ben, and I moved into our Dorothy Street house and most days I mixed reading and housekeeping with hanging out with our wide circle of friends.  It was a fun summer.

And according to this brilliant article 1996 was the year that alternative rock died.  I, in somewhat of a hyperbolic joke, stated on Facebook that this article made sense of my life in a way nothing else ever had.

A few comments on some of the contents of the article.

My own musical tastes were evolving at this time.  I was surrounded by a number of friends with great tastes and broad collections, and they have continued over the decades to influence me.

R. E. M. had been my favourite band since high school, and still is.  Though I must admit that in 1996 New Adventures in Hi-Fi wasn't something I rushed out to get.

I was behind-the-curve on grunge and much of the early 90's alternative music.  When I was in high school in Miami, Oklahoma it was the era when country stars like Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, and Clint Black were on top.  That's what most folk in my high school were listening to.  Or, alternatively, Boyz II Men.  Only a few odd folks were listening to the stuff from Seattle.  It was really in my mid-late twenties that I finally embraced the great music of my adolescence (isn't part of the fun of the 20's those epiphanic moments of discovery or rediscovery?).  

In 1996 my roommates were listening to an inordinate amount of The Counting Crows.  Because of that I didn't get into them because I was burned out on them.  It was years later when I collected their albums, long after I was living alone.  And I've got touching memories of "Round Here" and "Mr. Jones" from the turn of the century.

Dave Matthews Band seemed to be the most popular band among the teens I was working with at the turn of the century in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  I was into them as well, though I summarily abandoned the ban with the release of Busted Stuff and have rarely since listened to music I listened to often once upon a time.

I didn't fully embrace The Smashing Pumpkins until the early Aughts, when to do so was somewhat sentimental.  As I was in full-time ministry the spiritual aspects of the songs resonated with me.

Near the end of the article he discusses the emerging Indie Rock of the late 90's that ultimately replaced the alternative season and fortunately never became mainstream.  Tim Youmans introduced me first to Wilco about this time and living in Fayetteville, Arkansas in the early Aughts and working with David Breckenridge (who came there from Austin) acquainted me with the rich indie rock tradition that basically became my favourite genre of music and has persisted so ever since.


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