The Song of Our Generation (Whether We Like It or Not)

This article was originally published in The Daily Pulp on May 17, 2013.

You probably heard it for the first time on a burned CD in middle school as your not-yet-stoner friend, Scott, lit incense (thinking it would get him stoned). Later, in college, drunk Scott tried to play it on his guitar at a house party. The intro is instantly recognizable from the first four notes—though it took drunk Scott 14 tries to get it right—and flows into a loose, but descriptive narrative. It feels repetitive at times as it rambles over the course of eight minutes, but there are explosions along the way that keep you interested. Still you ask, “Did I just listen to the same song twice?”

This has been my experience with “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. I also just described “Crazy Game of Poker” by Of a Revolution.

That might make you angry. How can someone possibly compare Led Zeppelin to O.A.R.?

I’m not. Led Zeppelin has undeniably benefited music more than O.A.R, but there are also some undeniable correlations between the two bands’ hallmark songs.

And, by the way, those are their hallmark songs. O.A.R. has been consistently closing shows for over 15 years with one song—and it’s not “Hey Girl.” Ask someone what the first Led Zeppelin track was that they ever heard, and I bet they don’t say “Kashmir”—unless it was the sample P. Diddy used on “Come With Me” on the “Godzilla” soundtrack—but that doesn’t count. “Heaven” and “Poker” are two songs that by pop standards should have never garnered any kind of success, but found their way to radio (Zeppelin) and Napster libraries (O.A.R.) all the same.

I don’t know if it is entirely fair to claim either song as the song of its respective generation, but each of them is a gateway into a genre. Zeppelin built a bridge from my Beatles collection to Green Day, and the same can be said of O.A.R. for my transition from Green Day to Guster, Ben Kweller and The Avett Brothers.

This too, might make you angry. Hey, what about Dave Matthews?

Juxtaposed against Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R. has not had nearly the amount of success nor are they as adventurous in their music (after all, “Night Shift” is “Missing Pieces” is “She Gone”) but with one song they have been able to make everyone born between 1981 and 1991 say “ja” when they said “revolution” for over eight minutes.

Last, in ironic testament, is the jadedness that is now attached to both songs. If you haven’t rolled your eyes at least once while reading this article, I am shocked—unless you are drunk Scott, in which case I want to forewarn you to not get that Bonnaroo-inspired tattoo you’ve been thinking about. It almost feels redundant to listen to either song. Instead, they are best kept cozy in your iTunes, resting in peace, but not dead.

And by the way, Scott—you totally can’t get high on incense, bro.

Cover photo archived from the original web layout: http://the-daily-pulp.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/oar_digital_booklet_30.jpg.

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