It's the circle, the circle of life.
I'd like to start by clearing up a misconception. I am not being insulting or ironic when I say I enjoy the zany tidbits and comments of the many squawkers and regular online responders to articles in this newspaper.
While I never have and never will agree with the concept of making such comments anonymously, I appreciate as much as anyone the clever quips of some squawkers, who manage to sum up news stories of the day in a few pithy words. And I do actually enjoy the takes of regular online commenters like agirl_25, KaosinAlbany and gotanyfacts.
(Confession: I do not know who any of these people are and don't really care. But when people like gotanyfacts present well-thought-out opposing arguments to something I have written, I often take the opportunity to research further. Unlike the dullards who call anyone who doesn't agree with them names like "idiot" or "stupid," I actually learn from people who make informed responses.)
All that being said, I was inspired by a recent squawker who noted that "anyone over the age of 35" is too old to be listening to gangster rap.
I may be the only white guy past the age of 40 who would admit to doing so, but I listen to -- and love -- a lot of rap and hip-hop. I also think the mind-boggling dubstep of the mad genius Skrillex is some of the best new music being made today. And I will risk the charges of blasphemy by publicly saying Kanye West may be the closest thing to the Beatles that modern music has going for it.
I know that anyone over a certain age opens him or herself to charges of "trying to be cool" when he or she doesn't latch onto music of a particular era and settle in. I give my buddy Levine grief all the time about his inability to come to grips with the fact that there has been music made in the years since 1967.
For some reason, I've never settled on any one style or era of music. I will argue until the day I die that the best music ever was made from 1964, with the explosion of the Beatles onto the scene, to 1974, when disco kind of sent popular music into a tailspin. I think my argument that artists of that era created more great music than has come before or after is valid.
But artists didn't stop making great music in 1974. There's less quality music, yes, but some of the best music ever was created in the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s and even today.
If you ask most white people what they know about West, the things they'll mention include: "George Bush hates black people ...," how he dissed Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards or how the South Park dudes used him as the butt of their "fish sticks" joke.
But West has one of the most innovative minds in modern music, and he's not afraid to explore any number of genres. Starting with breakthrough hits like "Gold Digger" and "Jesus Walks," the Atlanta-born MC quickly became a modern musical force. And his last two albums -- 2010's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and last year's "Watch the Throne" with fellow superstar Jay-Z -- are among the best collections of the past decade.
A funny story about the music of Skrillex to illustrate my point: A friend told me to check out the artist's "First of the Year" video, which, incidentally is good enough to rank with Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as one of the greatest of all times, and I did. In the mood to hear more of Skrillex's mind-jarring dubstep, I played the YouTube clip of his "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites."
Former and current big boss Mike Gebhart, whose taste in music is as diverse as anyone's I know, came out of his office at about that time. He came around the corner of my cubicle with a look of consternation on his face and said, "What in the world is that noise?" Needless to say, I couldn't convince Mike to add Skrillex, whose booming bass would shame Bootsy Collins, to his playlist.
I read about and listen to music obsessively, so I want to keep up with new artists, just like I did back in 1964 when, as an 8-year-old who'd only really ever heard country music, I had something awakened in me by John, Paul, George and Ringo. And I understand that each new generation's music is its own, is the soundtrack to its rebellious spirit.
I also think it's important to point out that while Skrillex's "Bangarang" and Kanye/Jay-Z's "No Church in the Wild" are two of the absolute most innovative songs to come out in quite some time, the music I'm enjoying most right now is Van Halen's new album "A Different Kind of Truth." (Thanks to Bill, my hook-up.) And I've never been more than a casual fan who loves Eddie Van Halen's guitar-playing but doesn't particularly care for David Lee Roth's vocals.
No, I'm not trying to be cool by listening to Jesse J's "Domino" or even Disney star Selena Gomez's "I Love You Like a Love Song" along with my old Deep Purple albums. And I'm not trying to ward off time's passage by latching onto new musical trends that most of my peers find distasteful. I just love discovering innovative music and the people who create it.
In fact, I think it only fitting that while I passed my love of music and the music of my era on to my children, now they're doing the same for me.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcheralbanyherald.com.