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Reports & Essays: Music & Art - Music

"AND""OR"

90s Music
Music in the nineties can be simply described as diverse. Diverse meaning that music has been segregated into hundreds of groups. This report will refer in detail to three genres of music: Alternative Country, Rap, Alternative Rock. It will also cover certain aspects indicative of the 90's. Alternative Country Music In 1990, a band called Uncle Tupelo from Belleville, Illinois, released their debut album. Titled No Depression, it featured a rough mixture of punk-rock songs, but it also added something different: several toned-down, acoustic ballads that had a distinct country flavor. A few years later, that simple little song and album title became the name of an internet fan club and chat group. It didn't stop there, in 1995, a magazine of the same name went into publication, and "No Depression" soon became the leading title for a progressive alternative country movement. Other names include "insurgent country" "Americana," or simply "alt.country," the latter is a reminder of the role the internet has played in the growth and publicity of this movement. For the most part, No Depression or alt.country bands aren't much of a threat to the sales figures of mainstream Nashville country artists. But the speed with which this music has caught on has shown that a substantial number of people have grown weary of the overproduced pop trends of 1990's mainstream country music, and the limited range of styles and sounds that are typically played on country radio stations. Rap Music Rap of the late 70's and 80's, commonly called "old school", was made by DJs scratching records and playing drum loops, with MCs rapping over the resulting rhythms. As the genre progressed, hard-rock guitars and hard-hitting beats were introduced by Run-D.M.C., the first hardcore rap group, and the scratching techniques were replaced by sampling. With their dense collages of samples, beats and white noise, Public Enemy took sampling to the extreme, and they helped introduce a social and political conscience to rap. This faded in the '90s, as gangsta rap, originally introduced by NWA, who used Public Enemy's sound as a template, became the dominant form. By the '90s, gangsta rap, which originally was in direct opposition to such pop-oriented rappers as MC Hammer, had become smoothed over and stylish, and consequently was more popular than ever, as evidenced by the success of pop-gangsta Puff Daddy in the late 90's. Alternative Rock Music Alternative pop/rock is essentially a catch-all term for post-punk bands from the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s. Though there is a variety of musical styles within alternative rock, they are all tied together since they originally existed outside of the mainstream. In some ways, there are two waves of alternative bands, with Nirvana's success in 1991 acting as a dividing point. In the '80s, most alternative bands were on independent labels; if they were on majors, they didn't receive as much support as most of the label's mainstream acts. In the '80s, alternative included everything from jangle-pop, post-hardcore punk, funk-metal, punk-pop, and experimental rock. After Nirvana's success in the '90s, alternative included all of these sub-genres, but many of the edges were sanded off because the music was know being marketed as part of the mainstream. Hard rock and punk-derived music were more commercially successful than the left-of-center pop that dominated late '80s alternative pop/rock, so alternative Remakes and Retro The '90's was definitely the decade for the remake. Many Rap and Hip Hop bands have made a living out of remaking other peoples works. Sean "Puffy" Combs remade Sting's classic "I'll be watching You" As a tribute to his friend Notorious B.I.G. The Fugees remade Roberta Flack's Hit song "Killing Me Softly" and once again turned it into a hit. A music commentator for Spin Magazin once said, "What was once contemptible comes back collectible."(Smith, R.J.) Those people who despised Kiss in the 70's will be fighting their way to the front of the line in order to catch a glimpse of the band on this year's tour. With the return of these retro bands a lot of today's bands want in on the action. Trent Reznor sings Kiss's praises, Pearl Jam's Mike McCready carried a Kiss lunch box to school, and Courtney Love was caught sporting a Kiss T-shirt. The Rolling Stones returned with their comeback album "Voodoo Lounge" featuring all of their greatest hits. The original punk influences of the 70's, like the Ramones who are back with new material, and the Sex Pistols who have experienced a resurgence, have had great influence on 90's retro punk bands like Greenday and Offspring.

 



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