4 definitions by Username is taken

Top Definition
An umbrella term used to describe a style of music that emerged in the late 80's and early 90's. Alternative Rock is usually characterized by bands who have a "do-it-yourself" or non-conformist attitude; hence "alternative".

It originated with the jangle pop guitar sounds of R.E.M. and the loud/soft dynamic of the Pixies and gained popularity when Nirvana brought it into the mainstream with their album Nevermind. Ironically, it became probably the most popular music of the time period, which was a paradox of sorts in itself -- although purposely anti-mainstream and "against the norm", it became commonplace for people to conform to non-conformity.

Today, the term is often thrown around by people who don't really understand what it means and think that it can be applied to any band of their choosing. This is not true -- for a band to be truly Alternative, they have to follow the Alternative mindset; that is, they must either perform in a style of Alternative Rock already established (see Grunge or Britpop) or be avant-garde and completely throw what it considered usual or average out the window.

The name is often wrongly associated with "Modern Rock". This is wrong because whereas Alternative Rock is a genre and follows a specific style, Modern Rock is a radio format and simply refers recent bands.

Note: discrepancies with categorizing bands as "Alternative Rock" come from the fact that most Alternative bands fit easily into an Alternative Rock subgenre (Nirvana - Grunge, Modest Mouse - Indie) and can be classified as either the subgenre or "Alternative Rock" in general; if a band covers more than one style instead of sticking to one in particular, they are usually just called "Alternative Rock".
It was ironic that Alternative Rock became as popular as it did, considering its entire purpose was to be the opposite of what everyone wanted to hear.
by Username is taken July 10, 2008
Mug icon
Buy a Alternative Rock mug!
The direct result of Metal getting completely blasted at a bar one night and screwing Emo in the back alley, then allowing the resulting child to be raised by an angsty teenage girl.

See also: crap.
Person 1: Hey, man... I've feeling a little angsty. Wanna listen to some nu metal?

Person 2: What are you, nuts? That stuff sucks. Let's put on some Nirvana, instead. It's angsty but still has feeling and melody. Plus it's introspective and brings up interesting points about mortality and humanity in general. And it's not a load of commercialized crap.

Person 1: Yeah, you're right... I don't know what I was thinking.
by Username is taken July 10, 2008
Mug icon
Buy a Nu metal mug!
Modern rock is a radio format often wrongly used interchangeably with Alternative Rock or other genres. The simple fact of the matter is that since "Modern Rock" just refers to recent bands and actually doesn't actually follow any specific style, it is not a genre at all.
Person A: i luv modern rock, lolz
Person B: That makes no sense.
by Username is Taken October 16, 2008
Mug icon
Buy a Modern Rock mug!
The most common and popular chord progression in modern music. Including (but not limited to):

G --> C --> D
E --> A --> B
C --> F --> G

(These are all the same I IV V progression, just in different keys.)

The progression itself is: root note-->Fourth of root note-->Fifth of root note. Hence, I IV V (1, 4, 5). It works particularly well because Fourths are great for transitions and Fifths are just helpful in general. It can be applied to nearly anything, but is most commonly seen in folk music.
Songs utilizing the I IV V progression include:

- Pretty much everything by Johnny Cash (A Boy Named Sue, Folsom Prison Blues, I've Been Everywhere)
- 500 Miles by The Proclaimers
- Blitzkrieg Bop by The Ramones
- Cowboy Buttsex from Family Guy
- The Lumberjack Song by Monty Python
- Hotel Yorba by The White Stripes
by Username is Taken April 27, 2010
Mug icon
Buy a I IV V mug!