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Saga Generation 13 album cover
3.96 | 190 ratings | 18 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Changes Are #1 (1:42)
2. Generation 13 (Theme #1) (2:42)
3. All Will Change (Goodbye and Good Luck) (1:57)
4. The Cross (Home #3) (4:06)
5. Danger Whistle (0:45)
6. Leave Her Alone (4:33)
7. I'll Never Be Like You #1 (0:43)
8. My Name Is Sam (Finding a Friend) (0:35)
9. The 13th Generation (4:26)
10. The Cross (2:02)
11. The Learning Tree (4:58)
12. I'll Never Be Like You (Once Again) (3:59)
13. Snake Oil (1:07)
14. We Hope You're Feeling Better (The Test) (4:57)
15. "My Name Is Sam" (Your Time Is Up) (2:34)
16. Generation 13 (Theme #2) (2:38)
17. Where Are You Now? (1:20)
18. Screw Em (4:14)
19. No Strings Attached (5:20)
20. All Will Change (It's Happening to Me) (2:00)
21. The Victim (2:59)
22. One Small Step (3:25)
23. Sam's New Friend (2:30)
24. We Hope You're Feeling Better (1:21)
25. Changes Are #2 (1:36)

Total Time 68:29

Bonus track on 2003 remaster:
26. The Cross (live) (4:12)

Bonus track on 2015 remaster:
26. Humble Stance (live) (5:58)

Line-up / Musicians

- Michael Sadler / lead vocals, pipe organ, characters voices
- Ian Crichton / guitars
- Jim Gilmour / keyboards, clarinet, vocals, character voice (Sam on a good day)
- Jim Crichton / bass, character voice (Sarcastic Sam & Java Joe), concept & storyline, co-producer
- Steve Negus / drums, percussion, character voice (The Barker)

- Mary Newland / backing vocals (24)
- The Panorama City Philharmonic / orchestra
- Richard Baker / orchestration
- Roger Sommers / characters voices, co-producer
- Christopher Crichton / character voice
- Penny Crichton / character voice
- "The Goodnight LA" / character voices

Releases information

Inspired in part by the book "13 GEN Abort Retry Ignore Fail" by Neil Howe and Bill Strauss

Artwork: Ioannis with Penny Crichton (concept) & Stephen Jacaruso (design & logo)

CD Polydor ‎- 527 770-2 (1995, Europe)
CD Steamhammer ‎- SPV 076-7492A CD (2003, Germany) Remastered with a bonus Live track
CD Ear Music ‎- 0210379EMU (2015, Germany) Remastered with a bonus Live track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SAGA Generation 13 ratings distribution

(190 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

SAGA Generation 13 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars IMHO in 1997 SAGA wrote and recorded arguably their strongest album of all time. A pure and pure concept album exploring over 25 songs and interludes the story of social misfit "Sam" and his adventures. Album contains a very wide range of tempo and mood swings with whispered and spoken parts, sound effects and wrapped up in SAGA's instrumentation. Every song bleeds into the next and the entire album runs like a continuous story musically with very few hard stops. This album has also been exceptionally recorded with great sound dynamics for your ears. "Generation 13" is a complete departure from SAGA's song driven days and instead works more on the Whole than on the parts. Lyrics are dark and introspective giving the listener a real thought provoker to make his/her way through. I hope genetic engineering does not ever produce a specimen like Sam to be honest... Overall a captivating piece of musical brilliance with some incredible breathtaking parts. SAGA also employ some orchestration at a few critical moments throughout making this an album which you must live to get.
Review by lor68
4 stars The most progressive effort by SAGA, even though usually they are not. Well this concept album instead works well from the beginning to the end, and moreover the orchestrations are always vivid. Besides the vocals on the "background" in an apocalyptic New York, are stunning and the output, apart from some prolix parts, is a true surprise!!
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'Generation 13' is Saga's top achievement: after a not so impressive return to the music arena in the early 90s, with two albums that simply had some interesting moments, 'Generation 13' showed a band that decided to challenge itself massively. This concept album centered upon the current youth's obsession for futile pleasures and inability to cherish the real good things in life (including love) is a continuous musical journey that relates Sam's wicked way of life until he dramatically finds out that what he needs is redemption. The performances are extremely sensitive in the most emotional and introspective numbers, while heavily ballsy in the rockier ones. The interplay between all members is awesome and fresh, given the fact that most of the band's inputs were exclusively recorded live in the studio. What else can I say about Negus' tight drumming, Ian Crichton's superb guitar playing, and Gilmour's precision in his keyboard duties that hasn't been said before? Anyway, their skills shine here brighter than never before, due to the strength and variety of the material contained in this record. As always, Jim Crichton's bass playing is subdued and accurately subordinaed to Negus' trends (as a bassist) and Gilmour's ambiences (as a bass synth player), and Sadler keeps the usual level of singing versatility, as well as a good complementary activity on his supporting keyboards - he even dares to play some tasteful bombastic pipe organ!! The first two tracks make an impressive entry: first, a piano club ballad accompanied by Sadler's almost sleepy singing; then, an explosive heavy number that includes a medely of some of the following track's main melodic lines. If you're hooked by now, this album won't let go of you. Other outstanding rocky numbers -'The Cross (Home # 3)', 'The Growing Tree', 'Generation 13 (Theme # 2)'. But if you're more into emotionally deep pieces, here is ' 'I'll Never Be Like You (Once Again)'; or if you want your typical symph prog bombast, you've got 'Snake Oil'/'We Hope You're Feeling Better', and also the fiery climax created by the cinematographic sequence that goes from 'One Small Step' to 'We Hope You're Feeling Better (# 2)'. The 'My Name is Sam' tracks are designed under the patterns of industrial technopop, in order to portray the hedonistic ambient of discoteque-goers, and 'No Strings Attached' takes a bluesy cynical look into the implicit selfishness in the cult of beauty. 'Leave Her Alone' starts as an acoustic guitar duet set upon a somber organ layer, until an indie-like psychedelic rock section surfaces, with lots of ghosts shouting, calling and whispering in the background: really schizo! As you may notice, the repertoire is varied, but not lacking unity at all: the presence of some recurring motifs along the repertoire works as a key of integral coherence. A stounding piece of work that shines as what it is, a 90s prog gem.
Review by NJprogfan
3 stars Most reviewers agree that this particular album by Saga is their most progressive. Now, it might be their most ambitious but in all honesty it has most of their signature sound with some tracks more heavily orchestrated than past material, for me it's more progressive in subject matter then musical. Tracks like 'Generation 13 (Theme #1)' and 'The Cross (Home #3)' harken back to their early days with excellent guitar and drumming with added orchestration on 'Generation 13 (Theme #1)'. Sadler sings well throughout and the band for the most part are as good or better then ever. My only misgiving is the absolute silly voice of one of the characters in this concept album. The character Sam sounds like the worse cartoon/gremlin-like character I've ever heard. It makes a rather serious subject matter, (the degeneration of the current generation) sound rather comical. If your a fan of the band, then by all means this is a must have album. For those that want to hear them for the first time, I would try their early albums then give this one a try. If not for the ridiculous Sam character I would probably pick this one as one of the top three. Still a solid 3.5 rounded to 3. Sam I am not! (sorry Dr Suess :-)
Review by progrules
4 stars Back in the 80's and early 90's when there wasn't yet too much prog around I was a great fan of Saga, had all their albums and had been to a few of their concerts, Saga was one of the best for me then, still is good but there are so many great progbands around nowadays, Saga has gone somewhat to the background for me now, but I still have a soft spot for them. I remember buying the Generation 13 record in the middle 90's and was very pleasantly surprised about it. It was at that time the best conceptalbum I had ever heard and if it wasn't for The Visitor by ARENA or More grains of sand and Alone by CLEPSYDRA it still would be !! Central Figure in this story is Sam and most songs are about his adventures. Interesting voices and superoriginal compositions and ideas by Saga and sometimes great instrumental riffs (13th generation/Generation 13 for example). But that's not the important thing with this album. When I played it I had to play it totally, every time, because it's that kind of album. And every time it proved a great enjoyment, amazing that a piece of music (piece of art in this case) can do that to you.

Great compliment for Saga for this very special one and I believe their best effort so far ! 4.25 stars

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars My generation

It is a little bit of a mystery how such an average band as Saga could make such a brilliant album as Generation 13, but this is a much more convincing and rewarding work than your average Saga album and indeed this conceptual album stands head and shoulders above all other Saga albums. First of all, being a concept album, Generation 13 is much more elaborated and versatile than anything else Saga did, before or after. Secondly, this is a much darker and heavier affair compared to their other works, both musically and in its subject matter. Actually, comparisons to Arena's masterpiece Contagion and Queensryche's classic Operation Mindcrime suggest themselves.

The concept of the album concerns the so called 13th Generation that (as far as I understand) include people born between 1961 and 1981. If that is correct we are talking about my generation here since I was born in 1981. The album has as many as 25 tracks, but many of them are short and the album is best seen as one continuous whole. Admittedly there are some slightly annoying moments, but the album holds together so well that they can be forgiven. There are some spoken word on top of the music and some of the spoken passages are, as I said, slightly annoying like the reoccurring "my name is Sam", but it does not distract too much from the great music.

The music alternates between quieter and louder passages and several musical themes return in several different songs. The vocals are very convincing and there is a wide array of instruments including piano and acoustic guitar as well as a full orchestra on some parts adding great depth to Saga's often quite light and superficial sound. The electric guitar work is also great, surprisingly sometimes reminding me of Allan Holdsworth's style! I find no weak aspects of the sound at all. Some parts have a Metal sound and there is very little of the Pop-Prog we are used to from Saga. The keyboards are often piano or organ rather than 80's synthesisers.

The best individual track is The 13th Generation, which stands as one of my favourite Saga songs of all time. But also The Cross and the two Chances Are pieces that open and close the album are great. But, as I said, the album is best heard as a continuous piece. The hour long album offers diversity and keeps the listener interested with great melodies. This is Saga's masterpiece and very highly recommended! Even for people who normally don't like Saga!

Review by ghost_of_morphy
4 stars A topic that crops up on the forum fairly often is which albums are difficult to get into. There are apparently lots of albums that disgust us upon on first listen but which we learn eventually to love. Lizard by King Crimson is the one that I consistently cite.

But a topic that I have never seen, and which is much more germaine to the topic at hand, is which albums have you listened to and dismissed as totally forgettable, but later have discovered have sterling qualities that should not be so easily dismissed. And my vote in that category goes to Saga's Generation 13.

So why am I recommending this to you? This album has the type of concept, story and style that made Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime such an awesome album. The music is truly progressive. Saga is all over the map as far as the style of music on this album goees. Everthing from metal riffs to the sounds of a small orchestra has been thrown in. In fact, if judged just on this album, one might categorize them as symphonic instead. The album has an epic sweep to it, and it does not fail to entertain, despite the fact that it starts slowly in my opinion.

This one gets four stars. I found it original and entertaining and memorable after the first two listens, but it doesn't go far enough to be a masterpiece. But for those who have more or less dismissed Saga (as I have) it's definitely worth some dedicated listening.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After hearing two unimpressive '80s releases I wasn't planning on hearing anything else from Saga. This is of course before I heard the very impressive sample featured here on Prog Archives and reading some of the reviews I just had to hear Generation 13!

It didn't take me long to start enjoy the music on this album and I pleasantly surprised how different it sounded in comparisons to the other Saga releases. First of all it had no traces of the band's '80s material and that's a huge plus in my book. The album's concept might not be all that original but one still has to appreciate the fact that it's a book to album adaptation. The music benefits by the great '90s production where the drums are threated just right and the effects really enhance the story.

The progression of the music and story is smooth and if it wasn't for the somewhat flawed track The Victim I wouldn't even hesitate of giving this release the highest rating. As it stands today the album may not be essential for fans of progressive rock but I would still recommend to give Generation 13 a spin or two!

***** star songs: Generation 13 (Theme #1) (2:43) All Will Change (Goodbye & Good Luck) (1:57) The Cross (Home #3) (4:09) Leave Her Alone (4:33) The 13th Generation (4:26) I'll Never Be Like You (Once Again) (3:59) Where Are You Now? (1:20) Sam's New Friend (2:29) We Hope You're Feeling Better (1:21)

**** star songs: Chances Are #1 (1:40) Danger Whistle (0:43) I'll Never Be Like You (0:43) My Name Is Sam (Finding A Friend) (0:35) The Cross (2:02) The Learning Tree (4:58) Snake Oil (1:07) We Hope You're Feeling Better (The Test) (4:57) My Name Is Sam (Your Time Is Up) (2:34) Generation 13 (Theme #2) (2:38) Screw 'Em (4:14) No Strings Attached (5:20) All Will Change (It's Happening To Me) (2:00) One Small Step (3:24) Chances Are #2 (1:38)

*** star songs: The Victim (2:59)

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars One of the hardest ever albums to rate, I must say before I start this review. Iīm a big fan of Saga and I always knew they had the capacity of producing a pure progressive work any time. In fact, they had a lot of progressive stuff in just about every one of their long discographt. So I was quite eager to hear this concept CD, specially after my good friend Progrules raved about it. However, he too adviced me that this was not a record that everyone liked. It was for special tastes. And I found out he was right.

My main grip with this album is the lack something Sagaīs CDs always had plenty of: good melodies and strong hooks. it seems that Michael Sadler & co took themselves way too seriously this time: the concept is dark and pessimist. And the music is so tightly attached to the lyrics it serves as a merely background to the words most of the time. itīs alright, if you like the plot and youīre reading the story. But none of the tracks has a life on its own when you listen to the album for the music alone. None stands out. And thatīs the big flaw on Generation 13. Some bands managed to deliver a dark and gloomy story and still write great tunes (think of Pink Floydīs The Wall for example. You can easily enjoy several tracks on it without knowing whatīs all about).

While I canīt say the music here is bad, this is nowhere near what those guys are capable of when they are inspired. Also I found the main characterīs processed voice too cartoonish for my taste. it really didnīt work within the concept. Still, some of the instrumental parts are good. And the story is well developed.

For such īsongī oriented band, Generation 13 is a bit too rough. Not a good starting point for a newbie, thatīs for sure. Ok, they proved they can be totally progressive when they wanted to. Not that the word progressive means it is excellent automatically. Thatīs why Iīm giving it 3 stars: good, but not essential in any way.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Saga was one of those bands that was hit and miss through most of it's history. Before 1995, they had some really great albums and some very less-than-mediocre albums. When they decided to do a concept album based upon a novel, they pulled out all of the creative stops that the band possessed and come up with perhaps their best and most progressive album, "Generation 13". This is the album that we always knew they had in them, but they always seemed constrained to produce. It is a complete concept album that is best experienced as a whole, although a handful of songs on this 25 track gigantic album do also work well alone; for example, the excellent "We Hope Your Feeling Better" which has a memorable and singable riff, and the heavy "The Cross (Home #3)". But this album was meant to be a complete suite, and is best when listened to in that way.

As with the best concept albums, the tracks are all tied together, most of them flow from one into the other almost seamlessly. As such, the listener experiences a wide range of emotions, and Sadler's vocals have never sounded better or as convincing as he emits all of the required emotions. There is even some characterization in the vocals, with one character actually approaching a "dirty" vocals style, but never to the point that it is annoying, and only for short durations, and done as the storyline requires. Don't let that frighten you away, it happens quite infrequently and is done for dramatic purposes.

Also, as with the greatest rock-operas and concept albums, there are several thematic elements that appear several times throughout this album. However, these themes are not overly abused as is the case with some of the lesser concept albums. You tend to recognize them when they appear in various forms, but you are never left with the attitude that they are overdone.

Many of the tracks appear in various parts or variations as certain ideas pop up in the story line. Also, there are several tracks that act as intermezzos that pass from one scene to another, however, most of these don't feel like filler, but instead they help build the concept playing around with themes and ideas of the concept in the best way possible. Yes, the tracks are mostly short, staying between the less than a minute up to just over 5 minutes, however, you end up feeling like you are moving smoothly along with the story and the entire album plays like a long continuous suite. But, you don't feel like you are constantly being barraged by sound just for the sake of cohesiveness, you still feel like most tracks are their own ideas, and it is usually easy to tell when you move from one scene to another.

All in all, this is a great example of how a concept album with a story line should be done. The story does not overcrowd the music and the music serves to tell the story, it all works together brilliantly. This album is definitely one of the bands crowing achievements, however, it continues to be mostly ignored. The band consists of the same classic line-up even though up to this point, there had been other personnel come and go. If ever there was a come-back album that more attention should be paid to, it is this one. Generation 13 is the hidden gem that everyone seems to have missed, not only in Saga's discography, but also in music history.

Review by Menswear
4 stars Too late to the party.

In 1995, lots of musical wonders were born (Monster by R.E.M. or Mellon Collie by Smashing Pumpkins for instance) but my favorite had to be the Britpop wave. With Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Supergrass and Elastica, I didn't wanna hear about anything else but post- Nirvana bands. And I'm not the only one apparently because this album flew under our college radar.

Concept albums are a-plenty in the deep core of the prog world, but Saga flirts with the FM borderline. So a concept album from them is surprising; am I wrong or it's their only one? Anyhoo, the Operation Mindcrime or Streets Rock Opera were far behind, making this album (very) late to the party. But guess what? It holds the road surprisingly well! I'm really shocked by the many qualities of Generation 13.

Complex Generation X story with many characters, noise tricks/samples/special fx, catchy hooks, symphonic keyboards, rocking guitars, a good dose of humor....pretty much everything that made The Wall a success when you think of it. Great cinematics put into a coherent and entertaining package, I didn't felt bored at all, not once.

Usually, Saga makes bombastic, dynamic, colorful songs with no time to breathe. It's a welcoming change of season with Adler's vocals being less dramatic (phew!), slower/quieter segments and an enhanced sense cinematic grandeur.

Not your usual Saga, almost sounds like a different band!

Review by friso
4 stars In the second halve of the nineties modern neo-progressive rock was reinvented by bands like Pallas, Arena, IQ, Pallas ánd Saga. WIth 'Generation 13' Saga released a concept album that is quite sophisticated and progressive compared to their often more crossover prog style. The band leans on the work of Pink Floyd's The Wall when it comes to how varied and psychedelic a concept album should be. Furthermore, the band tries to portray it's own troubled generation here. The album has a slightly vague and dated production that does give it a very distinct neo-prog atmosphere. The guitars of Ian Crichton are great as usual and he plays some of his best riffs on this album (take for instance the main theme 'Generation 13'). Vocalist Michael Sadler sounds a bit less 'pumpin' on this album, more refined I would say. I can also hear some influences of nineties alternative rock on this album. This is the type of concept album that launches different styles of songs in quick succession (symphonic, rock, psychedelic, spacey, folky) and throws around some reprises as well. For instance; a song like 'Danger Whistle' starts like psychedelic folk song, changes into a spacey symphonic track and ends up in a horror-type of film music. It is followed by a psychedelic funky snippet before entering the neo-prog classic title song. There are strange vocal effects and spoken word snippets all over the place and I'm guessing some listeners aren't too happy about it. I must admit that at first I though this album had some great tracks hidden between quite a lot of semi- interesting psychedelic fluff, but the album can grown on you I found. Like most neo-prog it is distinctly hard to 'get into' if you are not already a great fan of the genre. 'Generation 13' is a sort of minor masterpiece of the neo-prog genre and a bold move that might just have inspired groups like IQ and Arena to start working on their own concept albums later in this decade. A remixed / remastered version of this on a double vinyl would be nice (hint to record industry)!

Latest members reviews

5 stars Yay! Joygasm!!! This is by far the most prog that Saga ever was and ever has been since. They came back in 1993 after a slump with "The Security Of Illusion" which brought back drummer Steve Negus and keyboardist Jim Gilmour so the classic lineup was again complete. That album was a comeback and ... (read more)

Report this review (#2936716) | Posted by Sidscrat | Friday, June 30, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The eleventh of the legendary albums of the Canadian group which in just a few records has revolutionized the sound and the progressive energy of rock, of rock FM! a concept album where everything is linked from the progressive futuristic intro, the sequences of the other tracks to the big fin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2487278) | Posted by alainPP | Wednesday, December 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In my opinion is Saga not an Average band, they are so talented! BUT!!! They are satisfy with an Album with 5 good tracks 2ballads and 2 totally bad songs! I donīt know if they know how good they are. I think they can make such better Albums than they do! Also 20/20 but ok the fans buy them and ... (read more)

Report this review (#794957) | Posted by thuur | Thursday, July 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is without a doubt the best album the band released in the nineties. After the comeback of Jim Gilmour and Steve Negus, Saga weren't able to recreate the creative nor commercial succes they had in the early eighties. The thing tha's most appealing about Generation 13 is the n-nonsense h ... (read more)

Report this review (#189031) | Posted by Kingsnake | Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Having bought all of Saga,s releases I am well used to the concept of having to buy lots of dross to unearth 2 or 3 gems per album....BUT.. this one is all bad, an absolute disaster. Unless you are a must have completionist don't bother, you will play it once hoping for a good track...there i ... (read more)

Report this review (#43175) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Amazing! The next big shot of the band after 'The Security Of Illusion' and the recover after the dissapointment album and comercial bussiness called 'Steel Umbrellas'. I've ever thought that 'Steel Umbrellas' was made to get enough time & money to make 'Generation 13'. This is no doubt the bi ... (read more)

Report this review (#17513) | Posted by porcupine_boy | Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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