Trying To Get To You

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Inescapability Of Classic Rock

I was in Chicago this past weekend to see my sister, who I hadn't seen for a long time. She has a fifteen year old step-son, Alex who I met for the first time. Whenever I meet a teenager, I always ask them what they listen to. I do so out of curiosity and also the hope that they might turn me onto something I've never heard.

So I sit down to dinner with Alex and the family and I asked him what he's listening to. And out came a stream of classic rock bands. Led Zeppelin. Steely Dan. Aerosmith. I asked him if he was into any new bands. He looked at me quizically; I asked, "My Chemical Romance?" "They're ok," he said. "Not into emo so much," I inquired. He almost laughed. "No way. No emo." he said. The Shins and the Arcade Fire weren't even on his recognition chart.

I've heard stuff like this before. I've met a lot of teenagers who tell me they like classic rock more than the music from their own generation. But why? What is it about classic rock that makes it preferable to so many kids? What is it about modern rock that makes it's appeal so narrow? There are the usual conspiracy theories about the influence of the baby boomers, but I don't buy that. A former intern of mine, when I asked him why he listened the Stones, Springsteen and the Who to the exclusion of most new bands, had the answer that I had the most difficulty responding to:

"Because it sounds better."


Anonymous said...

Objective Truth, Plato spoke of it. Remember?

Ben Lazar said...

I remember, but I'm not as smart as Plato, so I was looking for some other possible answers.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that Rock reached it's apex early in it's life, and that much of what came after, not all mind you but much, was a mere reflection of that greatness? Hence Platonic Objective Truth.

It's hard to argue with transcendence.

btw- i know you're looking for something more "concrete", but maybe the answer is just that simple???

HippieGirl said...

It surprises a lot of people by the amount of young people who listen to older rock bands. Like in my high school graduating class, almost half of the people including me listened to older rock bands, like Led Zep, Aerosmith, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc.