Why is Generation X on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
One hundred wild youth punks agree: this one is ready steady go.
Some stats & info about Generation X
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Punk, Punk Rock, British Bands, British Punk, Rock, Rock Music, New Wave, Old School Punk
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Generation X released? 1978
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #821 out of 1,000
Generation X on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Generation X mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Even before he left Generation X behind and became a huge MTV-driven solo artist in his own right, Billy Idol had the knack for mapping a certain degree of edginess with accessible rock and pop music that’s just the right temperature to attract a large following. What’s most helpful, as always and of course, is writing strong songs with great hooks that are, you know, good and stuff.
Perfect case in point: “Ready Steady Go,” which one can imagine both lighting up a raucous London punk club in 1978 and powering a pre-teen slumber party in 2022.
I enjoy Generation X when it leans into its new wave sensibilities, and particularly on the fun and intriguing, “Day by Day.” Currently, it’s my favorite song on the album.
“Kiss Me Deadly” is an odd ball changeup for this band in some ways. It almost sounds like a rocked up Irish folk song meets Libertines song. The Libertines would have crushed this as a cover, it occurs to me (and perhaps they did). Once the song picks up momentum, it becomes a compelling rocker that stands apart from most of other we’re a youth generation gone wild material on Generation X.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Generation X
For whatever reason, I had never put the name of this band, Generation X, with the whole names of generations thing: baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, and such. Turns out, wackily enough, that there is indeed a connection.
The term Generation X has been used at various times to describe alienated youth. In the early 1950s, Hungarian photographer Robert Capa first used Generation X as the title for a photo-essay about young men and women growing up immediately following World War II. The term first appeared in print in a December 1952 issue of Holiday magazine announcing their upcoming publication of Capa’s photo-essay. From 1976 to 1981, English musician Billy Idol used the moniker as the name for his punk rock band. Idol had attributed the name of his band to the book Generation X, a 1964 book on British popular youth culture written by journalists Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett — a copy of which had been owned by Idol’s mother. These uses of the term appear to have no connection to Robert Capa’s photo-essay.
This is as good a time as any to list some of my favorite so called “Gen X” movies.
- Heathers (1989) – Full disclosure I: when I was a teenager, I may or may not have spent way too much time trying to say “Greetings and salutations” in a Heathers-y Christian Slater affect. Full disclosure II: the darkly satiric song within the darkly satiric movie, “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It)” still gets stuck in my head sometimes.
- Before Sunrise (1995) – Really cool Richard Linklater flick and the first of a really cool trilogy.
- Trainspotting (1996) – I’ll be talking about this one in entries to come.
- Say Anything (1989) – Endlessly quotable, endlessly relatable, both hilarious and deeply engaging. Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd will forever be null and void, but we love him anyway. We love him because of it.
- Singles (1992) – Not an all-time fave, but in the epic Gen X flick Singles vs. Reality Bites showdown, I choose Singles.
- Clerks (1994) – I love talky movies with great characters and top-notch writing. Kevin Smith’s directorial debut absolutely smashes it on a nothing budget. Oh, yes, and it’s incredibly funny.
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – Did I want to be as cool as Ferris when I saw this? Hell yes I did. Still holds up tremendously well.
- Swingers (1996) – May or may not have been indirectly responsible for my moving from New York City to California back in the day. Remains one of my all time favorite movies.
Personal stuff stuff that’s somehow related to Generation X
Fun fact: I had a real life sneezing fit while listening to “Kleenex.” It’s the spring, there’s allergies, okay?