Conan Grey’s “Generation Why” Lyrics Meaning

Perhaps the first thing that should be noted is that this song is in fact entitled “Generation Why”, not “Generation Y”. Conan Gray, who was born in 1998, would be not be part of considered what is generally classified as Generation Y. Rather, being introduced to the mortal plane in the late 1990s, he is part of a group who, in that regard, are termed as Generation Z. It may be that he rather identifies with Generation Y, i.e. people born from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. But all things considered, such is not likely the case.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Conan Gray's Generation Why at

What it rather reads like is that Conan doesn’t particularly care about those designations and is rather using the opportunity of this track to speak to a larger reality. Technically speaking, a generation is usually measured by 20 years or a little longer. So what he’s actually speaking to is the age he was born in general. Indeed, the type of f–kery Gray is referring to in this song transcends his date of birth and period of youth anyway.

And what it appears the vocalist is asking, comprehensively, is “why”? Why is his generation the way it is? Conan and his ilk are free-wheeling, mischievous youth, because “no one cares” what they’re out doing anyway. They are also portrayed as possessing a lack of optimism concerning the world’s future, including their own personally, being convinced that they’re “bound to die”. 

So as presented, it’s as if those two factors combined – lack of parental care and a pessimistic outlook – results in “generation why” being rash and aimless, amongst other less-than-ideal characteristics.


Conan wrote this song himself. So it’s as if he feels that he’s part of a cursed generation, so to speak. And it really isn’t such that their misfortune emanates from outside. Instead it’s as if, even in their youth, they’re defeated internally, as in feeling as if they don’t have any future.

When was “Generation Why” released?

“Generation Why” was released on 3 October 2018, thus making it one of the earliest entries in Conan Gray’s discography. As such it is featured on his debut EP, “Sunset Season” (2018). And for the record, Gray was 19 years old (and about to turn 20) when this project came out.

The labels behind this track are Republic Records and BMG. Republic has been the primary backer of all of Gray’s albums thus far – “Sunset Season” as well as his two LPs, “Kid Krow” (2020) and 2022’s “Superache”.


“Generation Why” was composed by Gray and produced by Dan Nigro, the latter of whom would later be instrumental to the rise of Olivia Rodrigo.

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