New Americana: Generation Y’s Song | Song Analysis

I am a millennial. I am a part of the most diverse generation to have graced the United States of America to date. But of course, with all of this generation’s success, comes a lot of criticism from other generations (baby boomers), such as our generation being entitled and narcissistic, and that we have a desire to ruin the economy of the country that was already ruined by them in the first place; quickly dismissing our sense of local and global community, higher support for liberal politics that would benefit all, and technological advancement. It was only logical that a millennial would write a song about ourselves, that would give us a sense of unity in these times. 

Let’s start with the introduction to the video: 

“We were a community. They made me their leader even when I never asked to be. But the lightning in their eyes heralded me to whatever I needed to become. We were hopeful we would win because nothing could scare us. We feared no city and we feared no man.”

Many people have gotten a “Hunger Games” vibe from this song and video. In it meaning their understanding that a person that did not ask to become a symbol for revolution was chosen either way by the populace. This then led to them being the most affected, such as their families and homes being targeted.  I would not only apply this to our generation’s fight for a more balanced economic future, but to the Black Lives Matter movement. After years (in this movement’s case, centuries) of systematic oppression and inability of the government and politicians to bring forth any real change and end to the injustice, the common people took to the streets, the media, and all other forms they could find to incite a social revolution with the hopes it would change the establishment. This song is also not only for the people of the U.S., this can be used with different context, such as Thailand’s use of the salute as a form of rebellion after a coup d’état, the Arab Spring, the fight for voting and driving rights for women in Saudi Arabia, and most of the “rebellious displays” appearing in the news since 2011. This generation has no fear, nothing can stop us, we control the future.  

The lyrics: 

“Survival of the richest, the city’s ours until the fall
They’re Monaco and Hamptons bound
But we don’t feel like outsiders at all”

Survival of the fittest, in this case the richest, that can afford to get out of any issue while the average folk cannot. Only the strongest survive, while there is a need for a survival of all. These rich people leave to go to other nations and rich places, leaving the city to the less fortunate, but they do not feel less fortunate, either by continuing to work hard or  a hope of one day being rich or pretending to live in such a style. It also has double meaning,” until the fall” implies an ending to such a system, not simply until the rich return, but that there will be a fall and change in power structure. 

 “Young James Dean, some say he looks just like his father
But he could never love somebody’s daughter
Football team loved more than just the game
So he vowed to be his husband at the altar”

This fits in with the politics of our generation, a more acceptance towards what used to be “alternative culture,” such as equal marriage, marijuana for recreational use,indicating a shift on ideology and religious belief. A negative appeal to machism and hyper-heterosexuality, a desire to see all heritage recognized as equally important, a more accepting view of change and hopes for a future despite the 2000 economic collapse. We are also the generation of worldwide and accessible information, often criticizing the far right and far left, and a lack of need to go on a witch hunt.

We are a generation that aspires to a brighter future ahead even though we are at a time where unemployment is high and student debts continue to increase.  

These lyrics also match the video, in the scenes where she is about to be burned for her views, and is saved by her peers, even though they gave no inclination they would during her pleas for help.  

“We know very well who we are
So we hold it down when summer starts”

We have power, but first we must recognize it and then use it. There will be people that will try to disenfranchise us, for one reason or the other, we must come together and use our power to shape the future. VOTING, is a form of power in American politics, so go do that. 

The Chorus:

“We are the new Americana
We are the new Americana”

We are the new American,  we are free to do as we can, and we can change the course of history. 

Do I think this song is “the” Generation Y song? Not sure, but it is the closest we have gotten to it. 

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