“Alternative” is a generic term used for artists who fall outside the boundaries of traditional music genres. The word is ever-changing and holds countless definitions, but it refers to artists whose unique sound can’t be labeled.
What differentiates these artists is their experimentation with different instruments, vocal techniques and samples. Fans can see examples of this from music by contemporary mainstream artists like NAO, Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs, Solange and BROCKHAMPTON.
Although the word alternative is commonly used to refer to artists who fall outside the typical genres, many artists oppose the label. People fail to recognize that alternative music spans across all music genres and can take shape in many different forms.
The term “alternative” holds a stereotype in itself — the “weird” and “emotional goth” — and it is usually associated with the rock or emo genres.
Artists like FKA Twigs and Tyler The Creator have spoken out about their opposition to labels that aren’t representative of them or their music. They want to kill the term to prevent being pigeonholed or associated with an image that doesn’t represent them.
Despite the reasoning, the fact is many artists simply cannot be categorized into a single genre. It’s unfair to the artist because labels can be restrictive, and they hold certain connotations that are not representative of all artists. Below are 10 examples of songs that are too unique to be boxed into a single genre.
1. "Talk to Yuh" - STRBOI HUDZEN
2. "I KNO V3" - Victor Internet
3. "Binz" - Solange
4. "Pretty Girl hi!" - UMI
5. "Dancing" - bLAck pARty
6. "My Mind is a Maze" - Alann8h
7. "Lovestained" - Hope Tala
8. "Girlfriend" - NAO
9. "Talk 2 U" - Brent Faiyaz
10. "20 Something" - SZA