A Song For the 20th Century

You’re kidnapped by aliens, and they hold their XT9000 Mindmusher laser pistols to your forehead. They ask you to pick one song, from any genre or style of music, to articulate the 20th century. They want to hear the century’s Zeitgeist, as it were.

What song would you choose?

I was leaning toward Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind”, but I decided I also needed something that reflected rock ‘n’ roll’s emergence, so I’m going with the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”.


  1. I dunno–“Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert” just seems so appropriate.

    Actually, if pressed (or indeed racked or broken on the wheel) I’d go with “Brain Damage”. The spirit of the twentieth century, and the twenty-first so far.

  2. I’d pick “pump up the volume” by MARRS for heaps of reasons. First (one of, really) song to use samples, it uses electronic music, its a good party song, the lyrics mean very little (and are self referential – very post modern), it was involved in legal problems (like most of the music in the late 20th C), and shows how much ‘black’ music (funk, jazz etc) has had on modern music.

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