Alternative rock emerged out of the seedy underground of the late '60s and '70s. It was defined by an experimental sound, and an overall lack of conventional song structuring. Groups like the Velvet Underground were less concerned about making music for commercial reasons, but still found popularity during the late '60s. This inspired a plethora of acts to follow artistic merit over mainstream success.
The '90s saw a rise in popularity for the genre. Grunge broke into the mainstream, opening the floodgates for the alternative sounds of the underground. The term was originally used to reference fringe groups, who enjoyed a cult following, but has since come to encompass a variety of popular acts, merely because they have a unique sound.
These albums are regarded as some of the finest in the alt rock scene. They brush the ceiling of perfection. But whether through questionable production choices, the odd dud song, or simply poor flow, these records all feel like they could have used a final touch up.
10. Sam's Town - The Killers (2006)
When Mr. Brightside dropped in 2003, it became the indie-pop anthem of a generation. The album that followed it, Hot Fuss, was The Killers big break. The group championed a new wave inspired take on alt-rock - with swirling synthesiser intertwining with duelling guitars.
For the band's next album, they pulled back on the pop-ier sound, opting for a somewhat darker theme. Uncle Johnny, exemplified this. A heavily distorted guitar riff, dominated the mix, while a thicker bass and deeper drum beat, helped root everything in sludgy alt-rock. It helped imbue a sense of gritty despair as Brandon Flower's lamented the struggles of his substance-abusing uncle. When You Were Young was the sequel to Mr. Brightside. It had the same energy with an equally catching chorus hook, proving The Killers were on a winning streak.
The album's tone is one of mournful reflection. Flower's used a mixture of fictionalised and real-life characters to paint a picture of the sordid underbelly of Las Vegas. But the record wasn't without some excess fat. Why Do I Keep Counting featured some unintentionally comical backing vocals, with cringe-inducing, preachy lyrics.