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The Power of Rock N Roll

By Sebastian Velasco Diaz

Saturday, October 19, 2019, 8 A.M. and the the sun dawns in New York City. The school week’s over and it’s time for some well-deserved rest. Jonah, aged 17, wakes up, rubs his eyes, goes downstairs, and serves himself some breakfast. Then he goes to turn on his laptop, plugs in some headphones, and gently swings his head back and forth to some soulful, thoughtful piano tunes. Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses? You’ve been out riding fences for so long now. In October 2019, his musical tastes may seem old-fashioned. In October 2019, most young people sing: The ting goes skraa, or Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang. But not him. His tastes are very different: These things that are pleasing you can hurt you somehow. Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds, boy, she’ll beat you if she’s able. You know the Queen of Hearts was always your best bet. He’s going back in time to when lyrics actually had meaning, had soul, and made sense. Today, it all just seems to be about money, drugs, sex, and violence, not like 40 years ago. He continues singing: Now, it seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your table, but you only want the ones that you can’t get. He thinks to himself: “Gosh, now that’s gonna be stuck in my head for the rest of the week”. But perhaps that’s good. Better that he sings Desperado than Gucci Gang.

Tommy has grown up hearing all this modern music such as trap and hip-hop invade mainstream but hasn’t let himself be invaded by said music. Desperado, oh you ain’t getting no younger. Your pain and your hunger are driving you home. He has grown to appreciate the beauty of rock, particularly soft rock. And that’s a passion his roommate and best friend Rocky have grown to appreciate as well.

Don’t your feet get cold in the wintertime? The sky won’t snow, and the sun won’t shine. It’s hard to tell the nighttime from the day. He sings loudly, waking up Rocky in the process. “Now he’s getting that stuck on me as well”, he said to himself as he laughed. Jonah was just obsessed with the Eagles, especially that song. Some might say Hotel California, but Jonah said Desperado had the best lyrics. You’re losing all your highs and lows. Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away? Rocky began singing as well from above.

The song was ending as Rocky descended to the kitchen and served himself some cereal. Through Jonah’s laptop, Desperado is ending, as Jonah sings out: You better let somebody love you before it’s too late.

Rocky claps as the song ends, then goes upstairs again. He sits by the piano and begins writing down some notes: Just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world. She took the midnight train, going anywhere. He was singing with such a high-pitched and shrill voice that he was bothering the neighbors.

“It’s the Evans boy again!” exclaimed a woman angrily as she lowered her window. Rocky and Jonah didn’t pay heed to their neighbors’ complaints. Rocky continued playing: Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit. He took the midnight train going anywhere.

Jonah heard what he was playing and went upstairs. He grabbed his Fender Stratocaster and began playing a few notes as Rocky played the piano.

A singer in a smoky room. A smell of wine and cheap perfume. For a smile they can share the night. It goes on, and on, and on.

Strangers waiting up and down the boulevard. Hiding somewhere in the night. Streetlights, people. Living just to find emotion. Hiding somewhere in the night.

Both boys felt a special connection to this song. Every time they listened, or played along to it, they felt that any problem (be it bad grades, their team losing in the games) suddenly disappeared.

As their music continued, Jonah remembered that he needed to rush to get to his job at the mall, where he worked as a security guard. He quickly scrolled through his rock record selection to decide which one he’ll take with him that day. Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song? He had listened to that one yesterday. Maybe something by Bowie? The Stones? Joan Jett? In the end, he decided to take with him the exact same song that he and Rocky were jamming out to. Rocky called to him, “Jonah, the big ending is coming!”

Once again, Jonah grabbed the Stratocaster and began playing down some wailing notes like a professional.

Don’t stop believin’, hold on to the feeling. Streetlights, people. Don’t stop believin’, hold on to the feeling. Streetlights, people. Don’t stop believin’, hold on to the feeling. Streetlights, people.

“DON’T STOP BELIEVIIIIIIINNNN’!” Jonah let out one final high-pitched scream and guitar note.

They faded out their instruments and came to the big close. They laughed and fist-bumped each other as Jonah put on his mall guard attire and departed the house.

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