The term alternative music is probably the least descriptive of any genre. It has been tossed about since the 80s, as post-punk and new wave were winding down as descriptive terms. The term alternative has been used to describe grunge, so-called modern rock, next generation punk, and pop outside the mainstream. It’s a broad brush indeed.
To me alternative music is most descriptive of music I listen to. Whether it was lumped with punk, had elements of ska, flared up with the grunge explosion, or morphed out of indie rock, it’s the genre most of my music listening pleasure comes from.
Here are my entries into the lexicon of “Ten Best for 2009.”
10. Weezer, “(If You’re Wondering if I Want You To) ..I Want You To”
The boys from Weezer continue to deliver fun songs with just enough depth to be interesting without having to think too much.
9. Kings of Leon, “Sex on Fire”
The latest entry into pending super group scored their first big hit with “Sex on Fire,” and the best part – the whole album is good.
8. Cage the Elephant, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”
A jumpy little ditty with solid guitars about a guy walking around and encountering the underbelly of society. Could you ask for more?
7. The Offspring, “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid”
These guys never fail to bring good music that at once sticks like glue to their roots while remaining fresh. Years ago I saw them play a bowling alley bar in Omaha, Nebraska. Indeed, they went far.
6. Metric, “Help I’m Alive”
The Canadian group has four studio albums but are just getting big notice in the U.S., mostly because of this single.”Help I’m Alive” has a nifty hook and snappy lyrics.
5. The Killers, “Spaceman”
Since breaking into the mainstream these guys from Vegas have had one hit after another, and never fail to satisfy fans with their live shows.
4. Noisettes, ‘Never Forget You”
This Brit pop-alternative band scored big with their first stateside hit, blending modern elements with a 60s sound that just works. I saw them live as part of KNRK’s “I Saw Them When” show series, and was blown away.
3. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, “Get Yo Shit”
Now these guys have a new and fresh sound. Blues, rock, hip-hop, pop -all mesh together into tunes that you can listen to over and over, and still laugh.
2. Muse, “Uprising”
The song is great and so is the album “The Resistance,” and they get extra props for verbally slapping down Glenn Beck. Seems Beck thought the song fitted his Tea Party minions and couldn’t stop playing it on the air, Muse told him to stop. He sulked for days.
1. The Airborne Toxic Event, “Sometime Around Midnight”
Another band I had the chance to catch at an “I Saw Them When Show” who I might call one of the best live shows out there. The Los Feliz, California based band has been making waves worldwide. Lead vocals come from Mikel Jollett, and his emotive voice takes you on a journey.
That’s my list, kids – what do ya think?