The Who – My Generation (1965)
“Why don’t you all just fade away”
– The aging ladies man, Rex Manning, from Empire Records
At the time, this struck me as an odd exit line. Initially, being a 90s movie about a fictitious music store, I thought it was a nod to Kurt Cobain (whose non-fiction exit line I later learned was a Neil Young reference).
I wouldn’t be surprised if Rex’s line was intended as a tip of the hat to the title track heard here. In The Who’s case, it makes for a terrific verse-opening lyric, especially with the drawn out fff-fade.
The more I think about it, the more I like the line. It starts off so aggressively, “why don’t you just,” it feels like it would escalate into something violent. But then, encouraging the recipient to, “just fade away,” is a brilliant anti-climatic curve; in a confrontation, there’s no comeback for that!
In the spirit of the current movie awards season, a 1001-project ‘Most Improved’ award.
My nominee for (the chattily titled) “artist that’s grown on me the most since the start of the 1001 project” is…well, I’d gone off Nirvana but their 3 listed entries won me back. Neil Young would also be a contender, as I’ve come close to a full 180 degrees there.
Both, however, have temporarily been leapfrogged by The Who.
In 2011, I didn’t really get their appeal; I wasn’t offended, but I wasn’t a fan.
I liked Who’s Next but it didn’t speak to me in the same way.
My Generation however, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!
It appears I prefer the less grandiose version of The Who. It’s difficult to pinpoint but there’s something very appealing about their mid-60s sound.
Though this album shouldn’t be confused with being just another British Invasion record. In fact, the lyrics to A Legal Matter, “And not work all day in an office just to bring my money back to you, Sorry, baby,” sound more like a group that’s determined to distance themselves from A Hard Day’s Night.
So instead of Beatle parallels, with The Who I have perhaps, perpendicular(?), opinions about their chronology.
Whereas I live for late-career Beatle records, early Who albums, like My Generation, are the ones for me.