Adult Alternative music genre

Browsing through iTunes this week I’ve noticed that in addition to the ‘alternative’ music genre that has been bandied about for over two decades, there seems to also be the more specific “adult alternative”. Anyone have any idea what the difference is?

I would guess that “alternative” is used to identify grungy teenage angsty music, whereas “Adult alternative” is meant to identify more mature music that doesn’t fit perfectly in any other genre. I’d say Tori Amos is Adult Alternative? Bjork? Sarah McLachlan when she was still edgy.

Or something. If I had to choose a genre for the music I like best, and I hate being forced to choose genres for the music I like best because the music I like best doesn’t fit into any common genre, and given a choice, I’d choose (holding my nose and cringing like crazy) “Adult Alternative” and then I’d symbolically shoot myself. And then I’d curse them for not offering “Ecto” as a choice, because that’s the name of the genre of the music I like best.

I suppose I’m not the one qualified to answer.

You define the entire genre based on one artist in it? That’s not a genre, that’s a fandom.

From wikipedia:

The radio format has a **broader, more diverse playlist than most other formats **and tends to appeal more to adults than to teenagers. Less-played tracks are also common. Musical selection tends to be on the fringe of mainstream pop and rock as well as many other music genres such as alternative rock, alternative country, jazz, folk, world music and blues. The musical selections tend to shy away from hard rock and rap music. Some Triple-A stations bill themselves under such slogans as “World Class Rock,” “Quality Rock,” or “Finest Rock.” Music selection also includes tracks from albums that are not singles, which leads to the enhanced and larger playlist.

See also:

What is that, Ray Parker Jr.? :smiley:

It’s not just one artist, who said that? There are several artists who fit in the (rather, “our” meaning those of us who coined and use it for our own classification purposes) Ecto genre, ranging from Kate Bush to Jeff Buckley to Noe Venable to Jane Siberry to Peter Gabriel to Bel Canto to Terami Hirsch to Vienna Teng to Amy Abdou to Sarah Fimm to Catatonia to Eleni Mandell to Zoe to The Sundays to Barbara Gosza to Hex to Kirsty MacColl to April March to Cocteau Twins to…too many more to name. It’s eclectic and interesting music that doesn’t always (though might on specific songs) fit neatly into a “normal” genre like rock, pop, country, opera, polka, grunge and so on.

Ecto, to us, is hard to define, but we know it when we hear it.

Vienna Teng, Sarah Fimm, and April March? Hrm. I’m HUGE fans of the first two as you are well-aware, and I just recently discovered the third as mentioned in an OP from a couple days ago, but I don’t really see what they have in common other than being female singer-songwriters. What’s the common thread here? Lyrical content? Even then, I’m not really seeing the commonality between Vienna and Sarah, who I’d classify as chamber pop and downtempo, respectively.


Here’s the definition.

Basically, I just take all the alternative music I can’t characterize as 80s College Rock, Alternative Metal, Britpop, Funk Metal, Grunge, Post-grunge, Punk, Post-punk, Industrial, Jam Bands, Nu-Metal, Ska, Trad Rock or Trip Hop. If it’s kind of soft and radio friendly, it’s Adult Alternative (ie Jack Johnson, John Mayer, U2).

You can organize your iPod any way you see fit. The only reason there are musical genres so that people can find (and market) bands that have a similar sound to other bands people like.

I think what you call “Ecto” people might just call some form of “Indie”.

And I hate it when people say stuff like “it’s not really alternative / indie now that it’s all over the radio.” Alternative and indie doesn’t mean eclectic. It’s just what they call all rock music that isn’t classic rock.

It’s rock lite with acoustic singer/songwriters thrown in. Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Howie Day, Coldplay, etc. It can also often mean oldies music for people who don’t want to admit that their favorite band from high school is no longer hip.

I listen to AAA music. I love that there’s never rap and there is often more focus on lyrics than in standard pop music.