"My Generation" by Hilary Duff - I know, I know. You're thinking, "Any idiot could have picked that one without even listening to it." Well, this idiot did listen to it, and it was even worse than I imagined. This version manages to slight every member of The Who. The synthetic dance beat is laughable compared to Keith Moon's antics. Duff's tepid singing is the antithesis of Roger Daltrey's powerful voice. The classic bass solo was emasculated; it was as if Duff's bassist jumped up and down Pete Townshend-style on John Entwistle's grave.
But songwriter Townshend got slighted worst of all. Duff destroyed the whole meaning of "My Generation" with a simple lyric change. Disney corporate product that she is, Duff couldn't dare sing "Hope I die before I get old." People might think she was suicidal, or a bunch of 14-year-old girls might jump off a bridge singing it. Instead, she says, yep, "Hope I don't die before I get old." Wasn't Daltrey singing that he didn't want to get old and become part of the Establishment? I guess Duff already is a part of the Establishment, so she just hopes she doesn't die and keeps on raking in the bucks for tripe like this. That's the most destructive lyric rewrite I've heard since Keb' Mo' changed "Folsom Prison Blues" from "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" to "they say I shot a man in Reno but that was just a lie" (isn't the singer's guilt and paying his debt to society a critical element to that song?).
I'm being hard on the girl, but all she had to do was perform a different song. "My Generation" is a monument of rock 'n' roll, the sixties, and indeed, a generation. When it comes to covers, she should stick to stuff like "Our Lips Are Sealed." While her version of that song isn't exactly groundbreaking, at least it isn't offensively corrupted.
I hereby nominate "My Generation" for this year's "Landslide" award, named for the awful butchering of the Fleetwood Mac classic rendered by the Dixie Chicks a few years ago (the Smashing Pumpkins did it much better, by the way). One can only hope that Duff's mistake doesn't become a new trend. What's next, Britney Spears singing "Behind Brown Eyes?"