The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Bridging the Musical Gap

Nicole Zook | Monday, August 30, 2004

Somehow, I landed the most cushy on-campus job at Saint Mary’s College. As the choral librarian, I get my own little office, set my own hours, have a great boss and often don’t have to work for weeks at a time. When I do, I just crank up the tunes and do my thing.

So imagine my surprise when a random professor wandered into my basement office this week. He was confused not to find my boss there.

“You’re the one listening to Simon and Garfunkel?” he asked in astonishment. “This is our generation’s music.”

So that’s what it comes down to. All the strange looks from my peers at stoplights, all the comments from my mom about how my music is before her time – it all points to the one thing this professor so clearly stated.

I’ve bridged some kind of unspoken generation gap in music.

Sure, I like rap. I listen to metal, pop, punk, and even country. But only classic rock hits me where it counts. New music can be great, but nowhere in the realm of Avril Lavigne can you find the lyricism of Paul Simon or Billy Joel. The innovation of The Beatles is lost on kids today. And it’s impossible for me to find a modern band that can elicit the same mellow cool as Pink Floyd or the same hard rocking mood as AC/DC.

I know where my love of good music came from, of course. My parents are young, and as a kid I listened to the same music they did. I knew all the words to every Bon Jovi record by the time I was two. I grew up listening to my dad’s favorite classic rock radio station. My mom trained me in the fine art of attending concerts. My folks still rock harder than any parents I know.

But somewhere along the line, I went past that. I reached back to before their time, looking to The Doors for a rainy day and Jimi Hendrix for long car drives. Styx, Clapton, Elton John, CCR, Zep, Journey, Aerosmith, The Who, Bob Dylan and The Boss – I began to amass a huge record collection.

Older people still act amazed when they catch me listening to “their music,” and all of my little brothers “don’t get it.” It’s strange to think that they don’t know the classic songs of the last fifty years, and maybe never will. People our age have been known to mock me for listening to “old people’s music.”

In the car Friday night before the obligatory visit to Rally, I told my friends they could take out my tape and listen to more party appropriate music. The car was silent for a minute, until they said, “Actually, we like James Taylor.”

At that moment, I knew I was not standing alone in the middle of the generation gap.