I wrote this for a young friend of mine who recently discovered Nirvana and is ashamed to be associated with the generation that brought us Sum 41 and Avril Lavigne. I dediacte this to you, you know who you are. So here:
Well, here's the way it is. There's never going to be another Kurt Cobain that comes along and changes the face of rock music for this generation because - he's not the only thing that is dead. On the heels of grunge, the music labels took the last thing left and made it corporate which is really the very thing that made the mainstream success of Nirvana possible anyway. It was no accident, and Kurt knew that just as much as anyone else. Now, people try to do new innovative things but "alternative" music has become anything but alternative and the sub-genres are so far and widespread that it has all become so absurd and ridiculous that we can't turn back.
After grunge we had a short ride with Brit Pop, where the media put over bands like Oasis and Blur and fueled that rivalry to the bitter end in an attempt to make alternative music fun again. But even Brit Pop wasn't too impressive in terms of standing for somehting anti-establishment, and it certainly wasn't anti-mainstream. So what happnened after Brit Pop? Nothing. Maybe a short lived Girl Power phase that involved everything from the Spice Girls and Destiny's Child to Elastica and Hole to Sarah Mclaughlin and Sinead O'Connor and Ani DiFranco. But really, nothing. None of that was about to "save" music.
Some people got smart and started to check out turntables and some kids (and even adults) started figuring out what was happening in Europe and started wearing colourful clothes and called themselves candy ravers and DJ culture became huge. Even U2 tried it, but ultimately the people with rock and roll in their souls couldn't accept that hip hop and rave music was more alternative than alternative. Because they still wanted guitars and they wanted to rock out, and that was fair enough. That *IS* fair enough, but what is we think is going to happen? In the 80s, New Wave was possible because casio keyboards were invented and that made new sounds possible. So, what did we get in the late 90s? We got two really weird Radiohead albums that tried *TOO* hard to be alternative. We get art for the sake or art and crap for the sake of crap.