The Sound of a Generation

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Every generation has its own soundtrack. The Silent Generation (people born in the '20s and '30s) had big band and swing. Baby Boomers (born in the '40s and '50s) had rock and soul. Generation X (born in the '60s and '70s) had grunge and hip-hop. On this edition of All Songs Considered, we look back at the defining music of those generations and ask what the soundtrack is for the current generation, Generation Y (or Millennials). Bob Boilen talks with Carrie Brownstein (Monitor Mix blogger and former guitarist for Sleater-Kinney), Stephen Thompson (editor for NPR's Song of the Day), and Amy Phillips (senior editor with Pitchforkmedia.com) about the most memorable music of the past 40 years.

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The Sound of a Generation

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Nirvana

  • Artist: Nirvana
  • Album: Nevermind
  • Song: Lithium

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Lithium
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Nevermind
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Nirvana
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Universal
Released
1991

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Beck

  • Artist: Beck
  • Album: Odelay
  • Song: Where It's At

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Where It's At
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Odelay
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Beck
Label
DGC
Released
2008

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Public Enemy

  • Artist: Public Enemy
  • Album: Fear of a Black Planet
  • Song: Fight the Power

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Fight the Power
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Fear of a Black Planet
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Public Enemy
Label
Def Jam
Released
1990

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Buzzcocks

  • Artist: Buzzcocks
  • Album: Operator's Manual
  • Song: Sixteen

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Sixteen
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Operator's Manual
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Buzzcocks
Released
2008

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The Byrds

  • Artist: The Byrds
  • Album: Sweetheart of the Rodeo [Bonus Tracks]
  • Song: You Ain't Going Nowhere

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You Ain't Going Nowhere
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Sweetheart of the Rodeo [Bonus Tracks]
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The Byrds
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Sony/BMG
Released
1968

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Soulja Boy Tell Em

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  • Album: Souljaboytellem.com
  • Song: Crank That (Soulja Boy)

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Crank That (Soulja Boy)
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Souljaboytellem.com
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Soulja Boy Tell Em
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Geffen
Released
2007

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M.I.A.

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  • Album: Arular
  • Song: Bucky Done Gun

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Bucky Done Gun
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Arular
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M.I.A.
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Interscope
Released
2005

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Kelly Clarkson

  • Artist: Kelly Clarkson
  • Album: Breakaway [Bonus CD]
  • Song: Since U Been Gone

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Since U Been Gone
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Breakaway [Bonus CD]
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Kelly Clarkson
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Sony
Released
2005

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Okkervil River

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  • Album: The Stage Names
  • Song: Plus Ones

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Plus Ones
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Okkervil River
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Jagjaguwar
Released
2008

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