Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock or simply alternative) is a genre of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s and 2000s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, D.I.Y. ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock (including some examples of punk itself, as well as new wave, and post-punk).
Alternative rock is a broad umbrella term consisting of music that differs greatly in terms of its sound, its social context, and its regional roots. By the end of the 1980s magazines and zines, college radio airplay, and word of mouth had increased the prominence and highlighted the diversity of alternative rock, helping to define a number of distinct styles (and music scenes) such as gothic rock, jangle pop, noise pop, indie rock, indie pop, grunge, industrial rock, alternative hip hop, and rap rock. Most of these subgenres had achieved minor mainstream notice and a few bands representing them, such as Hüsker Dü and R.E.M., had even signed to major labels. But most alternative bands' commercial success was limited in comparison to other genres of rock and pop music at the time, and most acts remained signed to independent labels and received relatively little attention from mainstream radio, television, or newspapers. With the breakthrough of Nirvana and the popularity of the grunge and Britpop movements in the 1990s, alternative rock entered the musical mainstream and many alternative bands became successful.
By the end of the decade, alternative rock's mainstream prominence declined due to a number of events that caused grunge and Britpop to fade and led to the hiatus of the Lollapalooza festival. Nevertheless, post-grunge remained commercially viable into the start of the 21st century, with the commercial success of Creed and Matchbox Twenty; Radiohead's critical acclaim, and the success of some post-Britpop groups like Coldplay. Emo attracted attention in the larger alternative rock world, and the term was applied to a variety of artists, including multi-platinum acts. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, several alternative rock bands emerged, including The White Stripes, The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand, and Interpol, that drew from post-punk and new wave. Post-punk revival artists such as Modest Mouse and The Killers had commercial success in the early and mid 2000s.
Leonard Norman Cohen, CC GOQ (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, and painter. His work mostly explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honor. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.
Cohen pursued a career as a poet and novelist during the 1950s and early 1960s, and did not launch a music career until 1967, at the age of 33. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), was followed by three more albums of folk music: Songs from a Room (1969), Songs of Love and Hate (1971) and New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974). His 1977 record Death of a Ladies' Man was co-written and produced by Phil Spector, which was a move away from Cohen's previous minimalist sound. In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences. "Hallelujah" was first released on Cohen's studio album Various Positions in 1984. I'm Your Man in 1988 marked Cohen's turn to synthesized productions and remains his most popular album. In 1992, Cohen released its follow-up, The Future, which had dark lyrics and references to political and social unrest.
Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, which was a major hit in Canada and Europe. His eleventh album, Dear Heather, followed in 2004. After a successful string of tours between 2008 and 2010, Cohen released three albums in the final four years of his life: Old Ideas (2012), Popular Problems (2014) and You Want It Darker (2016), the last of which was released three weeks before his death.
Twenty One Pilots (stylized as TWENTY ØNE PILØTS and sometimes shortened to TØP) is an American musical duo originating from Columbus, Ohio. The band was formed in 2009 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Tyler Joseph along with former members Nick Thomas and Chris Salih, who eventually left in 2011, and currently consists of Joseph and drummer Josh Dun. The duo rose to fame in the mid–2010s, after several years of touring and independent releases.
They put out two self-released albums, Twenty One Pilots in 2009 and Regional at Best in 2011, before being signed by Fueled by Ramen in 2012. Their label debut, Vessel, was released in 2013. The duo achieved breakthrough success with their fourth album, Blurryface (2015), which produced the singles "Stressed Out" and "Ride". In addition, the single "Heathens", recorded for the soundtrack of the film Suicide Squad, made the group the first alternative artist to have two concurrent top ten singles in the U.S. The duo has been nominated for three Grammy Awards.