The Who – My Generation: #392 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Who - My Generation

So why is The Who’s My Generation on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

Recently, I wrote about The Who’s Tommy (#398 of best 1,000 albums ever), and it was quite a fascinating adventure to parse through what I think about it these days (very short version: it’s often brilliant and often weird!).

In heading “back” to The Who’s debut album, My Generation, it’s much easier to ingest, so to speak, from both a musical and lyrical standpoint.

It’s also most wonderful and pleasing.

One striking thing in looking at My Generation is that it sees the band in a relatively more straightforward and “lighter” mode than the version of the band that we often see later.

I’m particularly struck by how incredible “The Kids Are Alright” sounds over half a century after it was originally produced. What I mean by “lighter” is that this version of The Who has more in common with The Byrds and The Beach Boys than with Led Zeppelin or Cream, if you can dig: the harmonies are gorgeous, and there’s as much folk music influence as the blues and hard rock that the band would become more associated with circa “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Reilly.”

For many years, “I Can’t Explain” was my favorite song by The Who, and at the moment I can’t think of one that I dig more. It’s got all the elements that I love about rock music: a killer hook, a melodic yet driving beat, and wonderful vocal harmonies. And, as bonus, it has a deceptively simple pop structure with a catchiest as catch can chorus.

The title track, “My Generation,” is among the small number of iconic songs that can easily sit in for defining a decade or a scene of some kind – the coming 1960s youth-driven counterculture in this case. It helps, once again, that it’s dead catchy while uniquely layering in those stut-stut-stutter-y lyrics.

When I was much younger, I thought the line, “I hope I die before I get old,” was kind of funny from the standpoint of thinking: I wonder what The Who will think when they DO get old?

And these days, you know what? I don’t find that notion quite as funny!

“It’s Not True” is a super appealing deep cut that layers in elements of The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and the blues rock that’s essential to The Who’s… Who-ness.

Some stats & info about The Who – My Generation

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, British Bands, British Invasion, Blues Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
  • When was My Generation released? 1965
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #392 out of 1,000

The Who’s My Generation on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from The Who’s My Generation that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

This is my generation.

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 review of 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.