I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Alternative = Mainstream

The following is a clip from an email I sent to a friend:

The anti-music establishment bands in Seattle sprang up in the early nineties to provide an alternative to the hair-bands of the 80's. The Seattle sound was more organic and original. They were garage bands that tried to produce something more musical and pure. Then they started to make it in the big time. They signed on to some big labels, and a little-known band called Nirvana became all the rage. They put out some big-selling cds and all the kids (myself included) were buying the stuff up as fast as they could produce it. And we all started immitating their clotes by wearing flannel shirts and cheap jeans that looked worn and tattered. Anti-big corporations.

Kurt Cobain commited suicide not long after Nirvana went big-time. After that the music companies were scrambling to sign anyone who could produce "that alternative sound," which eventually became its own genre, and now in a twist of irony the "alternative" to the mainstream is now mass marketed and has become the mainstream.

Life is full of such ironies!

So, my friend replies by emailing me this link to a Google video. It's the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain playing "Smells Like Teen Spirit." So, it's about 15 years after the alternative/grunge revolution and now, not only has "alternative" become "mainstream", but the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is now covering Nirvana....


Dawn said...

Smells Like Teen Spirit is clearly one of the best songs of the '90s. It's passionate, it's witty, and at the time...it was different.

Jonathan Erdman said...

So, Dawn, What were you up to in the 90's?

samlcarr said...

The irony is really both beautiful and so typically, humanly, tragic. Blame the Beatles, who were the first protesters to ride the wave. Why is it even surprising? But it is nonetheless.