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Musical rite of passage lost on digital generation

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Published 2011-02-15T11:52:00Z”/>


Isaac Brambila

The sun danced in and out of the dry brown mountains, the speedometer signaled 75 mph and David Gilmour’s humming solo pounded from out of the speakers.

Little did I know, during the countless hours I sat eagerly in the back seat of my dad’s truck waiting to run straight into the beach, the ageless lyrics of Pink Floyd’s “Time” were slowly being chiseled into my mind.

It happened over the course of numerous events that seemed meaningless at the time. On long drives and during days spent helping my dad clean the yard or change the oil on the car, he always had a song playing to flavor it. While listening to The Who and the Eagles might not be one of the most exciting moments in the history of time, music always shaped a big part of my memories.

A connection was established – a link between father and son, between moment and music. Art was passed down from one generation to the next.

Music is an art we identify with, and other people influence us to listen to various bands and genres at different times in our lives. We pick up a song a friend likes, a good tune we hear on the radio or a movie, or we inherit them, like I did with The Doors, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

I’ve developed my own musical taste as time has passed, but my father’s presence is felt when I scroll down the list of artists on my iPod. Bands from the ’60s and ’70s crowd my playlist alongside musicians that died almost 20 years before I was born.

There’s a reason why Jimi Hendrix T-shirts and The Beatles Monopoly games are still sold in stores.

The Beatles had the best selling album of the decade with their greatest hits compilation CD, “1,” which sold nearly 11.5 million units from 2000 to 2009, according to Nearly 50 years after its formation, The Beatles are still building on the largest fan base in the world.

It is staggering statistics like these that make me question the musical inheritance that my children may have. Will Radiohead, The Strokes or the Red Hot Chili Peppers mean anything to them?

I wonder if my children will listen to albums like Radiohead’s “OK Computer” or “Morning View” by Incubus and know any of the lyrics.

A new age of communication has arrived that allows music to be very easily distributed, but the downside of this personalization of music is that people can’t agree with each others’ tastes and talented bands don’t stay popular for long.

Almost everyone has an iPod. As of last month, 304 million iPods have been sold worldwide, according to

Listening to music has become more personal and intimate, and the sharing of music through moments is becoming less frequent.

Today, little Johnny holds his iPod in his hands and has his earphones in his ears as he bobs his head to the rhythm of Justin Bieber, blindly looking out the window of his father’s truck. Father presses his foot down on the gas and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” pounds its way out of the speakers.

A generation gap is born.

Isaac Brambila can be reached at

[email protected]


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        Musical rite of passage lost on digital generation