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The Sound of Music

If you've been paying attention, this blog is called In My Opinion, and subtitled On Sports and Life. To date it has been all about sports, but that is going to change with my first column on life. Well, not all of life, we don't have that much time. Instead I want to focus on one important, for me, aspect of life and that is music.

It has been said that music is the fabric of our soul. For me, and I think for many of you too, music takes us to a time and place like nothing else in our life. Hearing a song can transport you back to a moment in your life and make you smile, or, it can touch your heart and remind you of those that are no longer here and bring a tear.

Mack the Knife always makes me think of my best friend Tom, and I, sitting in Down the Hatch and playing the song 147 times in a row on the jukebox and singing along while everyone else looked at us like we were insane.

Take it Easy by the Eagles brings me back to high school and driving around seven, girl friends, who used me as their personal chauffeur, but are still among my best friends today. Brandy by the Looking Glass always makes me think of Lake Geneva and the above crew. Lakeshore Drive by Aliotta, Haynes, and Jeremiah takes me back to cruising down LSD.

The Fire Inside by Bob Seger really gets me emotional and I have no idea why. Maybe I just don't want to think about it too much to figure out why it does. And, of course, The Leader of the Band by Dan Fogelberg always makes me remember my late father. I'm pretty sure my love of music comes from him and this song just wipes me out everytime I listen to it. (Copy this and paste in your search engine.)

Many people hear music and it is just background noise, for some it makes you get off your butt and makes you want to dance, and for me the rhythm gets my attention, but it is the words that grab my heart and emotions. Probably no surprise knowing my love for writing.

With the holidays upon us, and things slowing down, I spent the last few days catching up on some music on YouTube. I heard a song on a commercial, for I have no idea what product but I'll say a car, and it made me look up the singer and hear the rest of the song. 50 Foot Woman by Hannah Williams got into my brain and wouldn't leave, so, I found it, listened to it, and decided I kind of liked it. (Copy this and paste in your search engine.)

While I was in YouTube I started listening to some more songs I hadn't heard before, or in a while, and it got me thinking about how my music tastes have changed over the years. I'm sure many of you are thinking, who's he kidding, he hasn't grown up since he was thirteen, and, in some ways you are mostly correct. While my music tastes are still very eclectic, I have become more pop driven than when I was thirteen.

Back in the day my music favorites ranged from Frank Sinatra to The Who, from Tony Bennett & Andy Williams to Elton John & Bob Seger, and from the Eagles, Outlaws, & Doobie Brothers to Bon Jovi, Green Day, and the Gin Blossoms. There are plenty others that are on my favorite list and you might be surprised to see some of them.

When we used to have to go out to a store and actually buy an album or a 45, it would be a particular song that would get me to spend my money on an album. Maggie May by Rod Stewart had me purchase Every Picture Tells A Story and then I discovered the title song and it became one of my favorites.

Many of you will remember the days before the internet when your only sources of entertainment were playing in the street with friends and neighbors, reading The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew mysteries, or listening to top 40 on the radio and hearing I Wanna Hold Your Hand in power rotation four times an hour, every hour. Music was our escape.

I was lucky enough to be a disc jockey in college, and music always was a part of my life. I tried to stay as current as I could, but like most of us, life got in the way more times than not, and I found myself drifting away from listening to the radio and keeping up with the current music.

However, since the early 2000's, I have been listening to "today's music" whenever I could and I found that I actually like a lot of it, not all of it, but a lot of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a huge fan of the music from my childhood and I will always be happy to hear a song by The Who when it comes on but the bands and singers from this era have some talent and I can appreciate them for it.

So, I'm sure you could give a rats ass, but here are some singers/bands who have really come around since the start of the 2000's that I would say are my favorites of this era. I'm only going to rank the top 5, the rest will all fall under honorable mention on this list.

Honorable Mention - Rachel Platten, Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, One Republic, Train, Bruno Mars, Fitz & The Tantrums, and Mumford & Sons.

5 - Maroon 5 - More than any other band these guys have consistently put out very listeningable, listenable, er, music you can listen to, that catches your ear and gets you tapping your toes. It is fun and you can tell they work hard at their craft.

4- Pink - Her voice is unbelievable, and from the first note, of the first song I heard her sing, I knew she would be a favorite of mine for some time. The words to her songs are some of the most powerful and emotional of anyone currently on the charts.

3 - Lady Gaga - She can change herself into so many different singers and storytellers that she is likely part chameleon. I would dare say she is this generation's version of Madonna. Her voice is crazy good and her writing is off the charts. Just when I thought she couldn't surprise me any more she went and made the remake of A Star Is Born with Bradley Cooper and she literally knocked me out. If you really want to get a true understanding of her music don't watch her videos and just listen instead. Goosebumps.

2- Justin Timberlake - Since he went out on his own he has rocketed up the leaderboard of stardom. His songs are catchy, toe tapping, moody, and everything in between. He is the biggest male pop star in the music world today and it's not just because he is pretty. He can write, he can sing, and he can dance. He is a decent actor and if you haven't seen his d**k in a box skit on Saturday Night Live, then you have no idea how damn funny he can be. However, it's his musical talent that puts him in the runner up spot on this list.

1- Taylor Swift - I mean who else could be number one? I don't think there has been a song she has put out in her career that I haven't liked. Her transformation from Country singer to the top pop singer of her generation is stunning. You can pooh pooh her music as fluff, especially her earlier songs, but you cannot deny that she is a music making machine and that her songs and albums consistently are the top selling whenever she puts out a new one.

She is a force to be reckoned with, not only on the stage, but in the boardrooms and courtrooms. She is talented, beautiful, and smart, a deadly combination for men in the music industry worldwide.

When she started out I was underwhelmed with the power of her voice when I heard her sing live, but I forget she was just a kid and her music muscles were still developing. Today she is a show stopper in concert and her music has grown, just like she has, into a strong woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. Count me in as a Swifty.

There is my top five list, and my first attempt at writing something, semi-professionally, that isn't sports related. I hope you enjoyed this and if you did, or didn't, please leave a comment. Also, please help me out and spread the word by either Tweeting this out or posting it on your Facebook page.

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Love it! Love the life and music subjects. Many more subjects much more interesting to a broader audience than just sports. Cannot wait to see the next issue.

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