Before "alternative" became a buzzword to define any rock band that didn't wear spandex, it was a genuine movement full of original, invigorating music.

Before "alternative" became a buzzword to define any rock band that didn't wear spandex, it was a genuine movement full of original, invigorating music. While some initially dismissed the genre as "college rock" because of its primary exposure coming from college radio, its influence was immediate and continues to be felt. Rhino has done an excellent job of sorting through the '80s to find songs that helped define a generation. While some bands featured here (R.E.M., for example) went on to become stars of the then-new modern rock format, the four-disc boxed set is nicely balanced with acts like the Jam, Mission of Burma and the Cocteau Twins, which were barely a flicker on commercial radio. The inclusion of great songs like the Pixies' "Monkey Gone to Heaven," Public Image Limited's "Rise" and Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead" make this collection a must-have for any fans of true alternative music and a primer for younger generations to see where their favorite bands got their inspiration.—BT

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