The term "'90s Alternative" is almost redundant. After all, the '90s was the decade that popularized the term "alternative," spread it all over the radio and then nearly mass-marketed it into meaninglessness. At the outset of the '90s, alternative was a synonym for 1980s underground -- the cutting-edge college rock of bands like R.E.M. and the Pixies. Then, in 1991, Nirvana released Nevermind, and the underground suddenly found itself very mainstream. MTV's Video Music Awards and the Grammys both added "alternative" categories, Perry Farrell coined the term "Alternative Nation" to describe the droves of Lollapalooza attendees, and alternative itself quickly became a giant umbrella that applied to a host of rather commercially successful styles and bands: grunge-rockers like Soundgarden, pop-punks like Green Day, dream-pop acts like Smashing Pumpkins, indie rockers like Liz Phair, even electro-experimentalists like Bjork and alt-pop artists like Alanis Morissette. As early as 1993, critics were asking, "Alternative to what?", but for a genre that had become a rather generic blanket term, "alternative" housed some of the most exciting and diverse music of the '90s.