Alternative is dead; long live electronica

David Hyland

Alternative music is dead.
Throw away your strings and guitar picks. Trash your Stone Temple Pilots CDs and your Eddie Vedder poster. Rather, today’s new generation combines some of the old school.
So raid Mom and Dad’s record player and scratch up their Wayne Newton albums with Parliament’s “Atomic Dog.”
The era of electronic music boasts the stuttering bassline of Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel’s “The Message” and the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” With a sway of funk, the beat provokes a groove that animates your staggering limbs.
Electronic music started with rhyming street sermons amid the eclectic soundscape of New York.
As hip-hop left the scene, it penetrated the dying disco dives in the late ’70s. Electronic music spread and diversified in the ’80s on the backs of genre-busting DJs. It has spawned sub-genres such as techno, jungle, and ambient.
Electronic’s popularity spanned to Europe’s youth. The latest music trend was poised to take over the world.
Like a giant asteroid, electronic music crashed to the earth in the ’90s and slowly killed the gluttonous dinosaurs of rock’n’roll with a cloud of dust.
It was not long ago when the dinosaurs started dropping.
“Last year, the world realized the truth. Alternative/pop music is stale and hip-hop has reached a plateau,” said University sophomore Tim Anderson.
“Electronic music is the freshest thing out there,” said the highly credible Anderson.
Anderson said artists like Tricky, Death in Las Vegas and NYC’s “Illbient” movement, are pushing music’s frontiers.
A University sophomore majoring in English, Matt Olsen said he loves electronic music when he’s not listening to Bob Dylan or the Beatles.
“Yeah, I’m down with that,” said the scrappy Olsen.
Olsen cites bands like Prodigy, Massive Attack and DJ Shadow as band names he’s fond of. He said such music surpassed the cock-rock machismo of alternative music.
“I really liked Soundgarden and Jane’s Addiction; I don’t think it’s dead,” Olsen said.
What Olsen meant to say was that when he was younger, he got swept up in the media machine, the mass cultural homogenization, the cult of personality surrounding alternative music.
Now, Olsen is hip to the hypnotic sonic euphoria and understated slinky bass figure of the Orb.
“Are they the ones who do Freebird’?” Olsen queried.
University economics and English senior Jed Richardson, who, contrary to published reports, is not my roommate, seems to believe otherwise.
“It’s just a bunch of frickin’ computer blips. It sounds like my Apple computer went crazy,” Richardson whines.
Although strikingly bewitching to the eye, Richardson admits to not really listening to modern music as well as to having a chronic drooling problem.
OK, OK, maybe there is no electronic act that has sold very many records. And maybe some artists just don’t work well on CDs. And maybe some artists are monotonous.
But my friends say it’s better. And my friends can beat your friends any day of the week.