How did the band The Sundays contribute to pop music?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One distinct way in which The Sundays contributed to pop music was to usher in the Alternative Era of music that defined the musical landscape of the 1990s.  The Sundays were able to develop this style of music in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.  

The Sundays stood on the forefront of a musical transformation in a couple of distinct ways.  Their music was a contrast to the bubble- gum and consumerist popular music of the 1980s.  Hard dance beats were replaced with an almost acoustic musical feel.  This was seen in "Summertime," one of the band's biggest hits that really operated in a more folksy style as a contrast to what was being offered in the 1980s.  At the same time, The Sundays featured lyrics that were introspective and far more reflective than what the previous decade presented.  For example in "This is Where the Story Ends," The Sundays were able to generate lyrics that triggered introspection as a part of popular music:

People I know places I go
Make me feel tongue tied
I can see how people look down
They're on the inside

Such introspection in lyrics became a part of the musical scene in the 1990s. The Sundays were one of the first groups of the Alternative musical genre that sought to explore personal reflection in their music.  Finally, one of the most significant contributions that The Sundays offered was in their front woman vocals. Harriet Wheeler's voice, described as "wondrous," helped to bring a type of ethereal quality to the band's songs.  At the same time, Wheeler's style of vocalism became echoed in the work of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval and into a harder form in The Cranberries' Delores O'Riordan.  The Sundays understood that the profundity within their lyrics could be best conveyed with a wide ranging vocalist whose voice captured an almost- other worldly quality.  The Sundays and Harriet Wheeler went very far in establishing a format that other groups in the Alternative musical scene would replicate in their music.

laurto | Student

The Sundays were an English alternative rock band. They contributed greatly to music because of their use of lyrics. They were one of the first bands to use reflective lyrics in their music, in a time that that was uncommon, especially for their genre. 

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