Generation

Album: Simple Plan (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • After writing all their own material for their first two albums, Simple Plan used some outside writers for their 20008 self-titled third album. The biggest name was Max Martin, who had written huge hits for Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Katy Perry. Simple Plan's pop-punk sound wasn't a natural fit for Martin's production, but just about everything he touched seemed to work, so they figured he could be their King Midas as well. It didn't work out that way.

    Martin sent them some demos to choose from, but the band didn't like any of them. When they met with Martin, they played him a song lead singer Pierre Bouvier and drummer Chuck Comeau had been working on called "Generation," about how young people deserve a voice. Martin put his trademark production on the song, with trumpet flourishes and thick layers of beats, but it wasn't a good fit. The band put it on the album but didn't release it as a single. They later cited it as one of their least favorite Simple Plan songs.

    "He thought the concept of it was really cool, and he thought the integration of that hip-hop beat with the trumpets and all of that was really exciting, so we ended up doing that," Bouvier told Songfacts. "Working with Max was interesting because he was excited about an idea that we already had. It reinforced that idea that maybe I have the potential to be a hit songwriter. Even though I already had hits in the past, I always felt that kind of insecurity, but now after all those years and all those sessions with people that are so successful, I realize I actually have the talent that it takes to write a massive hit song, I just need to work at it, and work at it, and work at it, and once in a while you'll catch lightning in a bottle and you don't really know why.
  • Simple Plan talked this song up when it was released and used it as the opener on their 2008 tour. Later, they came to regret changing their sound on their third album, which is most apparent on "Generation." They returned to their pop-punk roots on their next albums.
  • This was the last song the band completed, for the album and with very little time to spare. Drummer Chuck Comeau blogged on the band's MySpace site at the time: "We returned to NRG to finish vocals on one last song, 'What If.' Late in the recording process we decided to re-write some of the lyrics for the song. We wrote new lines all day and then Pierre went in the vocal booth and nailed it. We did the same thing the next day for a song called 'Generation.' We changed a few lines in the verses and choruses and re-sang them. We ended finishing that at 3:30am on the very last day of recording. Talk about pushing the deadlines!! The next day, we were due to start the last step of the album: mixing the songs."
  • For this song the band enlisted the help of Canadian producer Arnold Lanni (Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven), the man who produced Simple Plan's first album. Drummer Chuck Comeau recalled on the band's MySpace site: "Working with Arnold again was so great. He's an amazingly talented musician and you can tell he really cares about this band on a professional level but, even more importantly, as a true friend. We've always been very comfortable working with Arnold, and it was awesome to collaborate with him again." After Timbaland protégé Nate "Danja" Hills worked his magic, Swedish hit maker Max Martin helped the group finish "Generation."

Comments: 2

  • Kait from Somewhere, OhI actually kind of like it....but I like all their stuff...I have dubbed them the Funky half techno half punk Canadians because of this song
  • Jenn from Chicago, Ilthis is one of the new songs from simple plan... well, it SUCKS!!! what happened to the REAL simple plan that everyone loved! now, i just LOVE to hate them!!!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

Millie Jackson

Millie JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Outrageously gifted and just plain outrageous, Millie is an R&B and Rap innovator.

Krishna Das

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.

Album Cover Inspirations

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

Ralph Casale  - Session Pro

Ralph Casale - Session ProSongwriter Interviews

A top New York studio musician, Ralph played guitar on many '60s hits, including "Lightnin' Strikes," "A Lover's Concerto" and "I Am A Rock."