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A diary today asked "What is the first popular song that you remember?"

For me it was Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2".  I know I'd heard many songs before that. But that one hit me right in the head and gut. I still remember bicycling around listening to that song on the radio, through my headhugger headphones I'd gotten by selling stuff in the Cub Scouts.

It had a tremendous affect on me. How I viewed society and everything that was wrong with it. I was tremendously alienated at that time in my life, and many years after. And it was so great to know that I was not alone.

Pink Floyd and other rock bands were like a secret underground communication system operating in plain sight. It felt like they were getting artistic truths directly to us, the kids, under the radar of our elders who were running our society. It's easy to miss nowadays, that even into the 1980's and 1990's any good rock music really was the counterculture. It was undermining the mainstream, and was against it. And it was doing this while being great pop.

Nowadays the counterculture has become integrated. Largely through its own success, this rock music has become beloved and thus become marketable. While some bands such as Pink Floyd haven't released their music for commercial exploitation, for which may Whatevah bless them eternally, many others have. And also, the tone and style of rock music is now available as another palette to sell both the soda and the toothpaste to try and keep away the cavities caused by the soda.

In the grand Hegelian theory, that's how it works: a set structure produces conflict which formulates as its antithesis, and then the two merge into a new synthesis. So it goes.

I really do feel that the revolution is happening again, in plain sight, in those younger than me (and I think most of us here): the millennials. I think they are taking the direction my generation, Generation X, took in that they aren't directly challenging those above them. They are doing their thing in their way, developing it as they go. And I think that's far more productive of working and lasting change than dramatic generational challenges.

I still remember being in my early 20's working the only crap job I could get right out of college, seeing a Time Magazine cover on 'this coming generation' that basically said: "Well? What good are you? Come on, impress us!" And I thought to myself, how arrogant. I'm not in this to impress you. I'm in this to build a sensible life, out of the mess the generation that's publishing Time left me.

So to bring it all back to music: there's a lot of good music out there now, if you dig for it, and someone right now is going to be inspired by some song to make great new things. And not be just another brick, but hopefully tear down new walls or at least build ladders and a water slide over 'em.

Because one thing is certain for every new generation: they have to make the world their own.

Originally posted to jbeach on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 11:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA.

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I think millennials

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