Friday, September 21, 2007

To define a generation

Music is a defining medium. Sure, past millenia have iconic persons that even us relatively sedentary Americans recognize. We claim to be able to recognize the Mona Lisa and have at least heard of the Sistine Chapel. Those are definitive pieces of history.

Music, too, is a definitive piece of history. Without such icons as the Beatles, Elvis Presley or The Big Bopper, today's musical landscape may have been far different. Sure, we still would have had Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash but would there have been the groundbreakers like the Sex Pistols or The Ramones? It's hard to say but I think that they would have at least been more delayed in becoming tastemakers than they were with the aide of the aforementioned icons.

How many of those names above have defined a generation? Did you or your parents listen to any of these artists? Did they define who you are today?

Now for myself, I can't say that any of those artists listed truly "defined" myself or my generation. I came of age under the influence of grunge. The early 90s saw me in Middle School and the big names then were Nirvana and... well, they were about the only definitive band of that time. Sure, there were similar artists known as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Candlebox and others. It was a very stripped and raw Seattle sound.

As the years passed, I discovered the likes of Weezer, Beck, Green Day and Blink 182 as well as a host of others who came after these welcome discoveries. Thank God grunge passed and a new wave of punk came about. These artists, and the ones I discovered thanks to them, are the ones that define me. I own their albums, have seen them in concert and know their music and their stories.

Am I alone or do the readers here have favorite bands that "define" who they are and help them identify with a particular generation? Let me know your thoughts and enjoy the free "definitive" tunes posted below.

FREE TUNESLess Than Jake-Automatic
Blink 182-Dammit
Green Day-Basketcase
Weezer-Buddy Holly
Beck-Where It's At

Check back next Friday and see my picks for the definitive tunes of this past summer. Hell, drop a comment and let me know what your faves were this summer.


Countess B said...

I was just mentioning the other day that while music played an important part in the backdrop of my highschool life, that it didn't seem to touch my adult life.

When I hear certain songs I get taken back to moments in high school...but none to moments in my adult life thus far.

Hmmmm..wonder what that means.

Beth said...

Music was so important to me growing up. i am, ahem, a little bit older than you, but the 70's and 80's were a defining time for me.

I loved funk...George Clinton and the P-Funk all stars...early rap..Sugar Hill Gang. In fact, Rapper's Delight is our "family" song. My kids know all the words and we sing it all the time. My one son, when he was in 5th grade came home one day..
"MOM! Mrs Adair doesn't know Rapper's Delight!!!!!???? How can that be? I thought EVERYONE knew that song?!!"

I can hear a song and it will take me back to that time....Journey, REO Speedwagon, Prince, early Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Bad Company...the Eagles. Sheesh, I could go on and on.

Just think how boring the world would be without music. I couldn't live without it.

Stephanie said...

Duran Duran and Madonna defined my generation. I'm not so sure that's something to be proud of.

Beth said...

I'm more into music that defines me as opposed to a generation. And the list is huge. Perhaps boring?

No said...


kev said...

Hey, thanks for the comment on my site. I think you're right about OJ. I should have included that on my list.

I came of age right around the same time as you, so I was introduced to music in the "grunge" era as well. The music that defined me was one you left off from that era, though: Stone Temple Pilots. I loved following their sound through the years, and I'm glad it still lives on to a degree now that Weiland has moved over to Velvet Revolver.

Enemy of the Republic said...

When I was growing up, I didn't listen to rock of any sort until I got into drugs. I was very singer/songwriter based. I'm glad for my drug days because I wouldn't have appreciated the Clash, not a druggie band, but a great one--the 80s only were decent when I could find real alternative stuff like Sonic Youth, Husker Du--Nirvana and grunge spoke to me as well, but to me they are the last--I enjoy current bands like Linkin Park and White Stripes, but they are not groundbreakers. To me, the most recent groundbreaker was Tupac--he fulfilled the dreams of Lou Reed and the Velvets by making street life into poetry. Like him or hate him, he knew what he was doing. I think it all depends what we want music to do for us. I listen to music that was before my time and it speaks to me, like some of the Doors, early Jefferson Airplane, some Stones. But that wasn't my generation and I will opine that the majority of music coming out now is opium for the masses, rather that challenging them to think as good art will do.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

I don't really relate any particular era to a band, but I do relate two types of music to an era - acid rock, and heavy metal.

They were miles past horrid, and laid the groundwork of stupidity for what's called "music": rap.

choochoo said...

When I was a kid I listened to Beethoven and Alice Cooper. And all the other kids thought I was weird. Go figure.