Courtesy of the Guardian News - March 05, 2014
"Slacker my ass! I never had any slack. I was working a $4-an-hour job trying to stay alive. That slacker stuff is for people who have the time to be depressed about everything.”
That’s what Beck told Rolling Stone in 1994, when asked about the tag that had followed him since his single, Loser, brought him to mainstream attention. With its odd mix of deadbeat irony, bluesy slide guitar and shuffling hip hop drum breaks, the single – which peaked at No 15 on the UK charts 20 years ago this month – was hailed as an instant slacker-rock anthem, although it sounded more like a send-up of the above.
Whatever the intent, the song arrived at a transitional moment for rock. Less than a month later, Kurt Cobain would be dead, and Oasis would have begun their journey towards ubiquity with Supersonic. In some ways, Loser works as both swan-song and death knell for Generation X – that semi-mythical swath of the western populace who, coming of age in the late-80s, were defined by their alienation from mass culture, cynicism and alleged fondness for slacking.
Loser anticipated the increasingly pastiche-heavy sound of pop to come, but what about the era’s other seminal musical offerings? Here are five defining tracks of the Gen X era and its pejorative sibling, the slacker generation...
The Guardians' Top-Five list (in no particular order other than year of release)
- Sonic Youth, Teen Age Riot (1988)
- Dinosaur Jr, Freak Scene (September 1988)
- Superchunk, Slack Motherfucker (1989)
- Radiohead, Creep (September 1992; re-released 1993)
- Pavement, Cut Your Hair (February 1994)