I had plans to lighten the load of relentlessly depressing Ukraineposting from every quarter with my second music related post of all time. This was the first. I was going to make a post about soundtracks in gaming, actually. But I realize now I haven’t actually narrowed down my favorite to a short enough list yet. So instead, and based on a conversation I recently had with a friend, I am going to give each generation raised in the context of mass media a theme song. This is postwar stuff only here (for now-you should see the musical knowledge of the interwar period I have picked up as someone GMing Call of Cthulhu for two decades).
This theme song does not have to be current with them coming of-though its usually not too far off-but it does have to encapsulate the general culture and zeitgeist of that generation. This does not mean it is a famous song well known to most people, though it can be. It means it is lyrically and instrumentally a good summary of their general essence. I will state why and post the song.
SILENT: ‘The Water Was Red’
Johnny Cymbal, if he’s remembered at all today, is remembered as a one hit wonder for ‘Mr. Bass Man.’ But he really captured the essence of Silent Generation corniness running concurrently with their ‘still water run deep’ affect with this song about a teenage couple making out on the beach when a shark attacks and kills the girl and the boyfriend enters the ocean with a knife in hand to kill the shark in revenge. Song never stops sounding corny though.
BOOMER: ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’
Billy Joel’s grocery list of context-free events is probably the most obvious thing to be on a list like this. But rather than include it because Boomers unironically get wistful when listening to it, I decided to include it because it speaks about them so well: nostalgic, self-indulgent, a superficial understanding of events in the world around them provided entirely by television media headlines, narcissistic, suffering from protagonist syndrome…and YET…catchy and playable with a good music video because one thing you can say about Affluent Decadent Generations throughout history is that they tend to have good artists.
X: ‘Head Like A Hole’
The only unambiguously good song on this list. Despite being too young to be X, I think this is the demographic where my soul resides nevertheless. I have very Generation X cultural sensibilities. I picked this Nine Inch Nails song because it perfectly matches Gen X apathy, edginess, and-frankly-incoherence. Plus, gotta have that rejection of everything Boomer Flower Power/corporate. Its ironic X raised Z because Z came out just like the the 1968 hippy type this X culture was rejecting. So, parenting is not among their cultural skill sets.
MILLENIAL: ‘Young Folks’
My least favorite song on this list is the song I assign my own generation. So, you can throw your accusations of chauvinism right out the window. Bad Y2K era-looking flash animation for an insufferable hipster delving into something that sounds so boring and generic but is just ‘odd’ enough for indy cred? A sound of sad ennui with ‘quirky’ twee Wes Andersonesque aesthetics? Yup, sounds fucking Millennial to me. Hell, that describes at least half of the music I came of age too. You can almost hear it playing in the background of some open plan office where ageing redditor consoomers and downwardly mobile NGO middle management types compare real world events to Harry Potter and share sassy AOC react gifs. And people wonder why I like strange bands that never got radio time.
ZOOMERS: ‘Anime Pu$$y’
Schitzophrenic, terminally online, annoying, divorced from real life and physical reality, TMI about ones personal life in a public forum, but pretty funny with an on point meme game. This plays in the background whenever an anime avatar slathered in 5 contradictory pride flags and political affiliation labels in social media sneaks up in the wild to cancel you for inflicting literal violence on bodies and spaces with a ‘Yikes Sweaty’.
(you’ll have to click because its age restricted and doesnt like external hosting for that reason)