Checkout the below listed latest and best top 10 best Alternative Rock songs of all time 2017, The first problem with picking the top 10 best alternative rock songs of all time is defining alternative rock. Or, as some may refer to it, Alt-Rock. What is alternative rock? It is music that defies definition, but you know it when you hear it. When some hear it, they hate it. For others, their first exposure to truly great alternative rock is like having their eyes opened after sleepwalking through mainstream radio’s insistence upon lowering the level of quality to such a point that it eventually becomes to confuse mediocrity with brilliance. Let’s call this the Kanye Effect. And, instead, let’s listen to the top ten best alternative rock song of all time as comprised here.
- 10. Kinetic: Hilary
- 9. Girlfriend: Matthew Sweet
- 8. Here and Now: Letters to Cleo
- 7. Second Skin: The Chameleons
- 6. Running up the Hill: Kate Bush
- 5. Seether: Veruca Salt
- 4. Mandinka: Sinead O’Connor
- 3. Civil Twilight: The Weakerthans
- 2. I’m Only Happy When it Rains: Garbage
- 1. Temptation: New Order
Here we present the list of top 10 best Alternative Rock songs of all time 2017.
10. Kinetic: Hilary
Hilary did not produce a lot of music, but most of the music she did produce is eminently listenable. Then there is her masterpiece: “Kinetic.” Is this synth-based pop sensation New Wave or Alternative? Answer: who cares? It may be both, but it is certainly not neither. “Kinetic” is an example of how less becomes more by virtue of what is not added. In the hands of Madonna or other technopop stars of the time, “Kinetic” would likely have been overproduced in order in order to make it palatable to the coked-up frenzy of the dance floor. By knowing what to leave out, the song instead takes on a slightly sinister edge of the type that cannot be found in any similar records produced by other female synth queens. For that reason alone, “Kinetic” is Alternative.
9. Girlfriend: Matthew Sweet
For more than a few listeners of the brief flourishing of Alternative Radio that actually managed to make into the mainstream in the 1990s, the video of Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend” was their first exposure to anime. Anime is, of course, the cartoon version of Alternative Rock. The video is fine; the song is a breathtaking work of art that has stood the test of time. Heck, “Girlfriend” is only guitars, bass and drums—the stuff of so many non-alternative rock song—so it really should not be easy to listen to and immediately identify it as not only alt-rock, but one of the top 10 best alternative rock songs of all time. And yet it is; maybe it is that wicked guitar that just somehow seems like something absolutely new and original.
8. Here and Now: Letters to Cleo
There is a section of this song that lets you know you are in the presence of greatness as well as in the presence of Alternative Rock heaven. That moment occurs at several points during the song and once you hear it the first time, you wait for it every time. That moment is when singer, Kay Hanley, belts out “The comfort of a knowledge of a rise above the sky above could never parallel the challenge of an acquisition in the here and now” in roughly four seconds. Go ahead. Try to do it. It’s impossible. And yet, it’s not as Kay Hanley proves several times over the course of the song. That is the magic of Alternative Rock. She’s a witch!
7. Second Skin: The Chameleons
Maybe the greatest British band that is almost utterly unknown in America is responsible for the song at number 7: “Second Skin.” Some bands you recognize immediately because all their songs sound the same. Some songs you recognize because they just have a certain “sound” even though each individual song could never be confused with any other individual song. The Chameleons (renamed The Chameleons UK in America for some stupid reason) can never be confused with any other band. It is the guitars. They have a distinctive guitar sound that is not like any of the other “big guitar” bands to come out England: Big Country, The Alarm, U2. The band that broke out biggest from that pact was U2 and though they started strong, by the late 80s they were already something of an embarrassment. The Chameleons never made it to those depths and U2 never even dreamed of writing a song as haunting as “Second Skin.”
6. Running up the Hill: Kate Bush
Do not, under any circumstances, ever let anyone convince you that Kate Bush is not an alternative rocker. Heck, she may well have been the first of many Alt-Rock Queens to follow. And “Running up that Hill” is yet another example of how Alternative Rock is often differentiated from mainstream rock by virtue of what isn’t there. Something is missing from this song. Do not try to find it because what is missing—whatever it is—is the very thing that makes it yet another haunting addition to this list.
5. Seether: Veruca Salt
Although it should be haunting—it’s about a sort of monstrous appendage to the human body—this is one Alternative Song that is not haunting. It just kicks very substantial ass. A powerful opening punctuated by a sublime pause in the action before kicking into gear once again, “Seether” grabs you by the throat and never lets up. You can’t stop the “Seether” and after listening to it once you won’t want to stop it. In fact, you will very likely put your player on REPEAT so you can listen to it three or four times in a row before moving on.
4. Mandinka: Sinead O’Connor
There are some out there who situate Sinead O’Connor into the one-hit-wonder club in which her one hit is “Nothing Compares 2.” Those people are what is known as reprehensibly ill-informed. A few years before O’Connor achieved massive mainstream success covering Prince, she became another of those Alt-Rock Queens with punky college radio mainstay “Mandinka.” If you only know Sinead O’Connor by virtue of that excruciatingly slow love ballad, then get ready to have your eyes and ears forced open. With just one listen of “Mandinka” you will become Awake.
3. Civil Twilight: The Weakerthans
Proving that Alternative Rock is still alive and well in the 21st century, The Weakerthans crafted this perfectly polished ode to love and paranoia in the form of a narrative told by a bus driver! Does it get much more alternative than that?
2. I’m Only Happy When it Rains: Garbage
Terrible, terrible name for a band. Brilliant, brilliant song by that band. Maybe you have to have been clinically diagnosed with depression to fully appreciate the sheer honesty of “I’m Only Happy When it Rains” but you most certainly do not in order to appreciate the full Alternative Musical majesty of this song. Sure, it is a depressing song; but half the music on any Alternative Rock station on any given day can be characterized as depressing. In the end, it is uplifting, however.
1. Temptation: New Order
The most alternative song of the most alternative act in music history. New Order defines alternative rock because their songs are actually an alternative to the previous incarnation as Joy Division. After the first album, New Order never again sounded like Joy Division and “Temptation” is their declaration of independence. New Order created better songs—well, one or two—but they never created a song that just screams out Alternative Rock quite the way that “Temptation” does. And, yes, there is something very haunting about it.
Alternative rock is quite simply what it says: a creative and unique alternative to the boredom engendered by the lack of vision that the mainstream places high upon a pedestal. When you hear a great alternative rock song, you just somehow know it. You don’t have to be told and if you do, maybe it is not really alternative at all.