What is the Quintessential Song Of Your Generation?
And why isn't it "Mr Brightside"?
Before we get to this weekend’s prompt, here’s a quick look at the Pajiba week-in-review: In film, Kayleigh loved Anne Hathaway’s Eileen, both Jason and Alison loved May December, and Petr found a Netflix movie he actually loved.
In television, Chris continued his great coverage of The Gilded Age, I looked at how the legal drama has changed with the times, for better or for worse. Hannah recapped the spectacular Doctor Who second special, while Kaleena wistfully wrote about losing David Tennant as the Doctor, again. I was fascinated with HBO’s true-crime docuseries Murder in Boston, ended up feeling gross about Squid Games: The Challenge, and was ultimately won over by the Frasier reboot. Kaleena also took a look at the new season of Fargo, while James rued the deterioration of The Murder at the End of the World.
Over in celebrity, some of us found out new things about Sean Astin’s nepo-baby past, Taylor Swift was named Time’s Person of the Year, Kevin Costner and Jewel started dating, and we found out what most of us could already surmise: Tim Allen is a “bitch.”
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Now, back to our prompt: The NYTimes ran a piece that not only suggested that The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” is the quintessential millennial song but also suggested that Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” was the quintessential Boomer song. The staff ended up having a long conversation/argument about this and about generation-defining songs in general. I was surprised that many of our millennial writers weren’t bothered with being defined by “Mr. Brightside,” although I think we mostly agreed that “Don’t Stop Believin’” isn’t really a Boomer song (it’s a cusp song between Boomers and X).
I don’t think there’s much debate about the song that defines Gen X — Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — but there was some debate about whether the Xers actually wanted it to be. As an X’er, it’s not my favorite song, but I think it fairly well defines us.
So, today’s prompt is a general discussion: What do you think the song that defines your generation is, are you OK with “Mr. Brightside,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” or even “Don’t Stop Believin,”? If you’re Gen Z: What song do you think defines your generation? And if you had to pick an alternate song to define your generation, what would it be?
If I had to choose, I might go with “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes because it seemed to be omnipresent across the entirety of Generation X, released originally in 1982 and re-released in 1997 for Grosse Point Blank (it was also featured in the quintessential X teen drama, My So-Called Life).