An Opinionated History of Modern Rock


Hypothesis: while it is usually impossible to pick a precise genesis of any cultural movement, for the purposes of this exercise, R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe” gave birth to “modern rock,” and Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” killed it. I slid in some obvious precursors to R.E.M. and covered the dénouement and fallout from OK Computer as well.

This one has been kicking around my head for a while, inspired by tapes teenage me made off of Philly’s own WDRE (RIP), late nights staying up for 120 Minutes (their 1993 year end best of episode was a foundational text), countless mixtapes, mix CDs and playlists made and received over the years, and Matthew Perpetua’s exhaustive work cataloging and curating the last 40+ years of music (here’s a thread of his playlists I referred to heavily while creating this playlist.)

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