Rick Hertzberg writes about the irony of listening to “My Generation” now that Pete Townsend’s in his sixties rather than hoping he dies before he gets old. For my part, I first heard the song in the form of a Green Day cover on their seminal album Kerplunk:
It struck me, in eighth grade, as an incredibly awesome anthem of generational angst and change. It was only later that I learned the irony—it was appropriated from an earlier generation. To this day, I’m still not sure exactly what to make of that, but ultimately I think it speaks to the enduring power of the song—it captures sentiments that remained vital long after they had ceased to really make sense in the mouth of the original singer.