The Plight of Wrong Generationers
by James Ammirato
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all seen or known someone, in real life or on the internet, that’s used the phrase: “I was born in the wrong generation.” Now, whether or not this makes you as heated as it makes me, that kind of sentiment is ridiculous, whether you’re talking about music or not. If you’re one of these “wrong generationers,” someone who uses that phrase regularly, or even if you’re only slightly aware of this concept, I invite you to read this article.
Let me start by saying that I think the younger a person is, the more forgivable the use of the phrase is. If someone is younger, they likely don’t know as much music as someone who’s older, and usually won’t have as much life experience, in general. I’m not exempt from this rule. When I was around 12 or 13 years old, I frequently would say I was born in the wrong generation. I only listened to classic rock and “guitar music” from before about 2000, mostly to differentiate myself from those who surrounded me, who I couldn’t relate to on any other level, let alone music taste. However, as I started to get older and more interested in music, my perspective and taste changed for the better. I was more accepting of different kinds of music; alternative, experimental, you name it, I was into it (and continue to be today). That’s not to say that transition was easy. I had to admit to myself that my former mindset was inherently incorrect and that not all good music came out between 1965 and 1995. That was difficult. But it paid off. And if that doesn’t convince you, maybe the rest of this article will.
My main point is music never really goes away. What I mean is, all of the most popular music listened to by “wrong generationers” (as I’m calling them) is on every streaming service used by music listeners today. It’s not like Led Zeppelin or the Beatles or the Rolling Stones don’t have their entire discography, even a lot of previously unreleased material, on Spotify or Apple Music. You can listen to those kinds of artists with no problems at all, and not say you were born in the wrong generation. In fact, the advent of streaming and listening to music online is so advantageous to most everyone, I honestly see no reason why you wouldn’t want to use it to your full capability. And I’m saying this as a vinyl collector.
Going off that point, I fully believe that disliking “all new music” is a ridiculous concept. The absolute plethora of new music coming out today is literally the highest it’s ever been, so much so that the mere concept of disliking it all is physically impossible. If you’re someone who thinks they don’t like any music from this century or decade or any other time period for that matter, I disagree. There’s simply too much of it to dislike it all. Do a little research, don’t just rely on the radio or Spotify algorithms. On top of that, there are several newer artists that actually try to emulate sounds of the past through new and innovative ways that are very interesting (but I implore you, don’t give Greta Van Fleet any airplay).
Saying you were born in the wrong generation also risks becoming a bit political. It’s my firm belief that using that phrase is harmful and pretty problematic for a couple of reasons. Most people in this group of wrong generationers mean to say they wish they were in their late teens or early 20s in the 1970s, a notorious time of racial turmoil. When you think about those that say this phrase, I’m pretty sure it’s predominantly white people. The reason for this, suffice it to say, is that they don’t wish they were born in a different generation. This is because even though the racial discrimination experienced by people of color around the world today is terrible and unacceptable, it was exponentially worse in the 1960s and ’70s. Saying you were born in the wrong generation is an extremely privileged thing to say, whether you realize it or not, due to the fact that if a white person went back in time to a different generation, they would have no setbacks whatsoever, and would even be able to benefit from being in a different period.
The overarching point I’m trying to make is that time is a forward-moving concept, and clinging to a generation of culture that you weren’t born into is completely futile, try to live in the moment and gravitate toward the positives than just denying anything good in the current age and focusing on only positives from 50 years ago. You can listen to all the old music you want, just think about the way you word certain things, and maybe look for some new music. It might actually do you some good.