Where can I go with all of my anger these days?
At least in the mid ’90s, my white, suburban angst had a kick ass soundtrack to it. I could go home and submerge myself in the sounds of Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, and all of that sonic fury would pick me up and carry me to a place much louder and more colorful.
But “alternative” music just does not feel like such a welcome alternative anymore. The very notion of the movement was to be mainstream music that defied mainstream principles. It was unique, artistic, and painfully introspective. Yet it seems that we have gone from Nirvana to Linkin Park. Are you kidding me? What is now considered to be “alternative” music is a predictable and indistinguishable mass of bands that all seem to share a common and inarticulate notion of anger without reason. Can bands like Staind and Evanescence really rock like the Pumpkins and Soundgarden used to? I didn’t think so. Nor can they articulate the displacement of the youth they are supposed to be a voice for. Today’s alternative music has traded in the layered guitars, sonic energy, and self examination of its predecessors for recycled rifts and faux-poetic lyrics. Even punk rock (if you can call it that anymore) has become so distilled and predictable that it is painful to listen to.
Honestly, if I hear one more “Emo” band whining about a failed relationship or their maudlin longing for their high school years, I am just going to scream. Sadly enough, such agonized wailing would make me a leading candidate to provide vocal accompaniment to the guitar sludge of contemporary rock. My apologies to all of you “punks” out there, but give me a break kids, stop being so sad and buck up already.
I realize that I just contradicted myself in my mockery of Emo. But I know that I would not yearn for 1995 if music now could inspire me as it did then. As clich