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In the beginning, the special magic of rock and roll is its countless freeze-frames of eternal youth and the promise of social regeneration that ought to be youth's reward, all expressed with apparent naturalness and spontaneity — an unimpeded, unratiocinated link to the wellsprings of creativity. But unself-consciousness is always a chimera, and in an information-laden culture like our own it soon proves a tough trick for ten-year-olds, never mind young adults or the old adults they fast become. So we end up valuing not just rock's purchase on youth, spontaneity, and renewal, all of which continue to pop up in the oddest places, but also the way it reconstitutes those staples in the presence of their opposites. Unexpectedly, rock and roll turns out to have a lot to say about aging as well — not about pretending to be something you're not, although plenty of fools try, but about retaining and refining flexibility and responsiveness as your emotions are weathered by loss and your physical plant decays. You learn that it's OK to become sophisticated as long as you don't lose your simplicity. Grooving or messing with rock's musical materials, seasoned troupers and overeducated young students of history conceive or reclaim or luck into admixtures, rediscoveries, and interactions that somehow don't crimp their access to direct emotion — even when they're painfully aware that direct emotion is the main thing they live for. Struggling for strains of humanistic corn accounted passé or oppressive by their betters, inspired amateurs make them live again. And every time these miracles come to pass, one's