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Opinions: As it turns out, the kids' music isn't so bad

Lately I've been spending my time with old guys.

The problem with old guys is that they're old. They've seen a lot of things and they want to tell you all about it.

Really, I don't mind listening to my dad, uncle and a family friend tell me stories about their youth. They sympathize with the struggles I'm going through, like figuring out my identity and purpose in life while being totally and completely broke.

And they do have some killer stories. My dad barely graduated high school with a D- in English class. It would have been an F had he not bought his teacher fifths of vodka and whiskey. My dad's friend once saw Led Zeppelin as an opening act in a venue just off the Ohio University campus — the year was 1968 and his ticket was two dollars.

My dad is a music elitist — like father, like daughter. Though he has come to terms with his snobbery, he has not become any more open-minded. Either have his old guy cronies.

When they decided to make the gutsy claim that their generation was the greatest generation of music, I nearly had a brain aneurysm and died in the backyard. Admittedly, the '60s and '70s spawned some of my personal favorite artists. Jimi Hendrix is arguably the greatest guitar player of all time. The Beatles are perhaps the most influential band in modern music history. Led Zeppelin was a group of some of the greatest rock musicians to live. Simon and Garfunkel's music is utter poetry and could strike a cord in even the most hardened individual. All of these artists are unique and wonderful. But to argue that this generation is the greatest generation for music in all of mankind's history is just silly.

These exact bands had their influences, most of which were in the generation that preceded them.

I'm convinced that the way the old guys came to their conclusion is by gauging the state of modern music by what's played on the radio. After all, that's what they did in their day. What was played on the radio in their day was what was popular and really, all that was available.

But today, virtually anyone can make an album. Case and point — Paris Hilton.

It is that exact reason the older generation gets a negative view of today's music. Perhaps if the old guys managed to learn how to move a computer mouse, they'd discover MySpace and other sites that allow virtual nobodies to upload their music and potentially make it big.

Old white guys aren't fans of rap music. In fact, if you don't know an old white guy, they like to refer to it as "that rap crap." For a generation that advocated being experimental and open-minded, they sure are closed to other musical possibilities.

While I'm not a huge fan of rap music, I do admit that there are some artists that have genuine talent and write what is essentially poetry with a beat. But, to prove my point that today's music is all right, I had to make my point with rock music. Leaving my delicious dinner of chicken tenders to get cold, I ran to my car to grab great modern music I thought the panel of old white men could tolerate. I chose Muse, the Cardinals, and Regina Spektor and Ryan Adams.

I decided to go right for the big guns and put Muse in the CD player. They have a huge sound, which I thought would pacify the Led Zeppelin fans.

After one song, they were convinced. Muse is a great band, and maybe rock music is alive and well. Maybe they'd just have to dig a bit deeper. Maybe if they ventured off the FM dial and away from the same 100 songs they've been listening to for the past 30 years, they might actually enjoy what they hear.

The fact is that music is an evolution. It does not remain stagnant, and it's always feeding off previous influences. In the same way The Beatles influenced The Who, Mozart could have inspired Regina Spektor.

While I realize the audience of this paper is young, I would like to reinforce my point to the older ladies and gentlemen who might pick this publication up to remind them of their college days.

In the words of Neil Young, "Old man take a look at my life. I'm a lot like you."

The kids are all right. The sky is not falling. Rock is alive and well.

I want to hear about your favorite undiscovered artist. E-mail me at

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