Tuesday, February 14, 2023

What Defines Gen X

I've been thinking for a while of things that I feel like define our generation.  If I had to pick one book, or one album, or one movie what would they be.  As I've thought about this I realize that just picking one is a bit too much and so I've started working on a list for myself.  Would love to hear others thoughts.

Albums (All members of the band need to be Gen X defined by born between 1960-1980)  

I tried to pick albums that were important and popular.  Had to be both I think to fit this idea.  For instance I don't know much about country music, but for me I felt like I had to pick a Dixie Chicks, a Garth Brooks, and a Shania Twain just because of the influence they had.  I throw Tim McGraw into that conversation as well, but I'm sure there are others out there. 

  • 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul
  • Nevermind by Nirvana
  • Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-Duz-It by N.W.A
  • Wide Open Spaces by Dixie Chicks
  • Master of Puppets by Metallica
  •  Doolittle by Pixies
  • Rage Against the Machine by Rage Against the Machine
  • Debut by Bjork
  • Weezer (The Blue Album) by Weezer
  • OK Computer by Radiohead
  • Stankonia by OutKast
  • The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill
  • American Idiot by Green Day
  • The College Dropout by Kanye West
  • Ingenue by KD Lang
  • No Fences by Garth Brooks
  • Not a Moment Too Soon by Tim McGraw
  • Come On Over by Shania Twain
  • Decoration Day by Drive By Truckers
  • Exile in Guyville by Liz Phair
  • Dialate by Ani DiFranco



This is a tricky one for me because I don't read that much, so I tried to focus on things that had a larger impact.  I realized in putting this list together that it is a very white list.  Where it was easier to find diversity in the music list it was harder for me in this book list.  I also feel like this era was dominated by series.

  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  • Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
  • Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
  • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney
  • The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
  • Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead



This is tricky, do you base it on the actors, the writer, the director?  Or the impact on the generation.  I tried to balance this out a bit.  

  • Clerks (1994)
  • Bottle Rocket (1996)
  • Love & Basketball (2000)
  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
  • El Mariachi (1992)
  • Office Space (1999)
  • Boyz n the Hood (1991)
  • Heathers (1989)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • Before Sunrise (1995)
  • The Usual Suspects (1995)
  • Out of Sight (1998)
  • Fight Club (1999)
  • The Matrix (1999)
  • The Virgin Suicides (1999)
  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • Do the Right Thing (1989)






  1. Best art work by members of Gen X:

    1. The Harry Potter Books
    2. Nirvana
    3. New Series 1-4 of Doctor Who
    4. Seasons 1-4 of Mad Men
    5. Seasons 1-2 of the U.S. Version of The Office

  2. This is an interesting project. Are the book authors and movie directors also all born between 1960 and 1980?

  3. The authors yes. The movies are a little trickier. Is it the actors, the writers, the directors? Do the Right Thing for instance was a tricky one for me. Spike Lee was born before 1960, so we're most the actors, but it feels like a movie that had a big influence on Gen X.

  4. Yeah, this is a challenging exercise. For example, the two authors who probably most shaped my sense of connection with people of my same age are Wally Lamb and Anne Lamott, and neither qualifies. That's fine. I'm just saying this is hard. I'm impressed you came up with the lists you did.

    Your music list is on the absolute money.