Popular music somehow finds a way to keep growing and changing. If fans got tired of rock and roll, they could turn to alternative rock. Tired of country? Try alternative country. Even rap, a musical style barely a decade old, inspired variations such as gangsta rap. Perhaps the only new thing on the American musical scene was the popularity of Latin or Latin-inspired music. Selena (1971–1995) was a minor sensation with her Tejano hits, but Ricky Martin (1971–) truly hit the big time with his Latin dance tunes late in the decade.
Country music was reborn in the 1990s, thanks to a bevy of young new singers. Garth Brooks (1962–) led the way with his 1991 album Ropin' the Wind, which shot to the top of both pop and country charts. Steering away from the hillbilly sounds of country music past, Brooks and such stars as Faith Hill (1967–), Shania Twain (1965–), and the teenaged LeAnn Rimes (1982–) melded pop and country and won millions of listeners.
Alternative rock was a grab-bag term used to refer to a range of bands whose music borrowed from rock and roll but was angrier, edgier, more electronic, or just somehow different. Alternative musical promoters sought to tap the spirit of 1960s music festivals with their traveling shows called Lollapalooza and Lilith Fair, the latter featuring only female performers. Nirvana, led by Kurt Cobain (1967–1994), created a substyle called grunge that was briefly quite popular.
Several performers hit it big with the teen audience in this decade. *NSYNC, New Kids on the Block, and Backstreet Boys were the most popular of several "boy bands." But the teen sensation of the decade was eighteen-year-old Britney Spears (1981–), whose 1999 album . . . Baby One More Time made the former Mouseketeer a major star.