College Rock Essentials

College Rock Essentials

Colleges and universities have traditionally been hotbeds for countercultural activity, and in the early-‘80s post-punk era, campus radio stations emerged as crucial megaphones for promoting a groundswell of DIY bands that had little hope of cracking Top 40 playlists. Initially, the term “college rock” was as much about the medium as the music, but by the mid-’80s, it had come to symbolize a strain of alternative rock that reflected a certain grad-student personality: well-read but underfed, deceptively tidy in appearance but combative in spirit. Thanks to the cryptic musings of R.E.M., the ramshackle romanticism of The Replacements, and the cheeky sing-alongs of They Might Be Giants, college rock was the Trojan Horse knocking on the doors to the mainstream later bulldozed by the ’90s alternative revolution.

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