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Daniel Romano on “My Generation” by The Who

11 May 2017, 00:24

Daniel Romano puts forward his case for "the greatest rock and roll song in history"!

Dearest readers of The Line Of Best Fit,

My name is Daniel Romano and today I would like to discuss and analyse the obvious gold medalist for greatest rock and roll song in history: “My Generation” by the British rock group “The Who”.

As with most great British rock bands, our subjects are an aberrant collection of unlikely chum. Seemingly propelled to stardom at the hands of two hungry film producers, The Who, from their genesis, had an unusual and outlandish approach to essentially everything.

So, why is it so good?

“Well, people try to put us down.” This first line is inherent in us all. It is saturated with youthful insecurities that any being of any walk of life has and will experience: rejection. It is incredibly relatable and immediately engaging, a perfect opening line.

“Talkin' bout my generation.” This line (the title and refrain of the anthem), has no specific roots in time. It is simply referring to any youth generation. This has been kept out of the realm of time and place so that the song as a whole could survive the many decades it has. After all, as we all know, “my generation” is always someone’s generation.

“Just because we get around.” This line refers to a deep misunderstanding between the “adult minded” authorities and their rebel children. It offers a vicious distaste for the abandonment and detachment “they” feel from their teachers, parents, police, government etc. Without suggesting too much, this line states, “no matter what we say, you’ll never understand us.”

“The things they do look awful cold.” Here we have Peter digging deeper and throwing a little fire back at the authority that is so misguided and judgemental, as if to say, “well, we don’t dig you either.”

“I hope I die before I get old.” Here we have an incredible and ambitiously early (perhaps even premature) climax to the sentiment. This line blatantly suggests “I’d rather die than be like you”, aka – old and uninformed. While it stands proud with this bold affidavit, it also, like all good rock and roll songs, sheds light on the mythology of the fountain of youth; youth as a permanent embodiment of power and beauty.

“Why don't you all just fade away?” The snide and unforgiving nature of the song really comes into its own here. This is the first swing of the fight you might say. It is a condescending and bratty rhetorical towards the uninformed fascist overlords.

“And don't try to dig what we all say.” Another dig indeed. This is the final punch. This line more than any is a takeover. It suggests that “we” have already taken over and “you” - better not try to join in, “you square!” It discusses the youth code, a secret language to keep the autocrat from being able to infiltrate. Through the vast ripples of time, this has always been the youth revolt anthem. “We see through you.”

“I'm not trying to cause a big sensation.” The final rhyming couplet in this utopian sledgehammer simultaneously smashes the capitalist system and rejoices in the ideals of idol-less, Marxist bureaucracy.

Delivered with ferocious energy and an unashamed youth-stutter, this is the most relatable song of change ever to be written. It is raw, unforgiving, violent and joyous, making it the greatest rock and roll song of all time with no room for debate.

Always smash the fascists.


Daniel Romano's latest album Modern Pressure is due out 19 May. Order it now via iTunes. Daniel Romano plays End of The Road Festival, 31 Aug - 3 Sept. Check out a full list of dates via Songkick.
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