What does being alternative actually mean?

Music used to be a tool for expressing anger, disappointment, and disagreement with the system the people live in. Surely it had other purposes and it was a pleasure to gather around it just because you felt like you belonged somewhere; but what happened? Is nowadays music just another expression of “I’m different” and “just-take-it-easy-brah” society? Are we facing a time, where on behalf of so many alternatives, which claim they are the “true alternatives”, there is none left anymore? We’re stuck in a period, where the comfort has taken over and the ones who dare to surpass it permit themselves to put on a fake crown of the “divergent”.

"We often forget that rock'n'roll wasn’t exclusive, closed and demanding. It also wasn’t declared as the alternative on purpose, ‘cause that’s not how it works."

Usually, the youth is supposed to be 'the wheel' on which society depends. In systems which grew from socialist regimes, the youth is the ground upon everything stands: they work and pay taxes, so the county and the elderly can benefit from the work they did when they were youth. And with that comes the baggage and exploitation which the youth should express if they what a change because no one else is going to do that for them. Rock’n’roll music was one of the key ingredients on how to express anger with the regime, tell people how we feel and a way to survive in this messy world. It had a meaning: and with the meaning came the power. Even when it became mainstream the people knew why they listen to it and what it stood for. And it had the qualities that we often forgot: it wasn’t exclusive, closed and demanding. It also wasn’t declared as the alternative on purpose, ‘cause that’s not how it works.

You can’t be peculiar if you put up rules of behavior in your agenda: ones you start to define and bound borders, you just become like every other systematic institution which purpose is to distinguish themselves from others. Fact is, that rock became “mainstream” if we put it in a word that we like today. But did that mean it was not an alternative, or good enough anymore? Did Pink Floyd, Bowie, The Doors and other legends suddenly became lame and not worthy? If anything, they became more alter than ever, the mainstream culture united fans all over the world. But with every beginning, there is an end and the process of evolution does its thing.

"Trump is an asshole" - Author: El Siglo; Photo was captured at Roger Waters concert in Mexico City (2016)

"Rock is dead. The only question is, what is the alternative now?”

My point is, “alternative” is not made consciously, but happens when you least expect it. But like my father once said: “Rock is dead. The only question is, what is the alternative now?” Where did the wheel of Morrison-Clapton-Kravitz or Bajaga-TBF-Dino Merlin take us? Once upon a time, the house music was born. It evolved and evolved, so its formal name became electronic music because there were so many genres you couldn’t follow them anymore. They were in fact underground, as every other great genre was, but emerged within the clubbing culture. And of course, I’m talking about IDM here. But can we say that this is the alternative now?

We know, that being alternative also means not closing doors on the public. So, in that case, is IDM electronica the “other choice”? Or most importantly, does it want to be? If rock was the alternative and at one point everybody was doing it, why do we need to form circles so badly now and keep others out? Why is the eager of being the “black sheep” so wanted and classified that we criticise every other thing that is good?

Author: Thump/ David Garber

Maybe there are so many alternatives today, that we lost our way and don’t know what community and being like-minded even feels. We are so confused with being “the same” that we openly declare ourselves as “different”, but as famous sociologist Simmel once said, as we put a line between us and them, we are no different than the ones we want to distinguish from.

Common Stereotypes is a series of articles written by author Severin Hutinski where she expresses her thoughts on different topics related to the music world.
By Severin, edited on 29 May 2018