I hear music, don't you?

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Last week, the subject of rap came up in the newsroom. I don't listen to it much anymore, but I used to. It got me thinking about all of the different kinds of music I've enjoyed over the years. Come with me on a musical blast-from-the-past. Sing along if you know the words.

You're the One That I Want
My first album (yes vinyl!) of real, grown-up, non-kiddie music was Olivia Newton John's Greatest Hits Vol. 2. My mom gave it to me as an Easter gift in the early 1980s. I couldn't have been more excited if it had been leg warmers and neon bracelets.

True Blue
My first tape (yes tape!) was Madonna. That tape and I spent a lot of time with each other in my room. Me, the mirror, a hairbrush microphone and my tape player. In 6th grade, I sang a diddy from "Papa Don't Preach," in the hallway of the middle school. I asked my friend if she thought I sounded like Madonna. She said "No." She was right.

I'm Bad
In the locker room after gym class a year later, a friend asked if I had heard the new L.L. Cool J yet. I said, "Who?" Shaking her head in disbelief, she reached into her bag and put his latest LP, "Bigger and Deffer," into my palm. That was my gateway tape. Soon after, I knew a whole lot of rap. The little kids on the bus would crowd around my seat in the back, mouths agape in awe of my rap memorization skills. I listened to artists I will not mention by name in this column. After becoming a mother, I gave most of those tapes away. Just not my L.L.

Welcome to the Jungle
In high school, when everyone else was clamoring for Guns N' Roses' "Appetite for Destruction" and their mothers wouldn't let them have it, mine would. In fact she bought it for me down at the Record World in Petoskey for my birthday. Everyone thought my mom was so cool. And I was so lucky. After that, I started listening to other rock and metal. My neighbor Stephanie and I made up a dance to every song on Motley Crue's "Dr. Feelgood;" At gatherings with friends, we stamped our feet and "ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhed" along with AC/DC's "Thunderstruck." And my favorite Christmas present from a friend in 1991 was Aerosmith's Greatest Hits.

How do you like me now?
A year later, a song called "Achy Breaky Heart" swept the airwaves. I hadn't heard it, but enough people were talking about it to make me curious. I tuned into the local country station in hopes of catching it. The first song I heard was Joe Diffie's "Ships That Don't Come In." It made me cry. I was hooked on country music, and the stories they told, from then on. Ironically, I didn't care for Billy Ray Cyrus' break-out song, but I did learn the line dance. These days, Toby Keith is my all-time favorite country artist. You know, the "Red Solo Cup" guy.

In the mood
After years of listening to mostly country, and raising kids to love all kinds of music, another genre came into my life by way of the Petoskey Jazz Band. I never would've thought I would enjoy the sweet, swinging grooves of the Glenn Miller Band until the day I first saw my son and his trombone section angling their horns this way and that in concert.

You're asking me if my love grows
 I didn't grow up in the 60s, so The Beatles were always a band I only heard others talk about. I don't think I could've named more than one or two songs of theirs (Yellow Submarine was one). But then my family and I rented the movie "Across the Universe." Now, no one can sing a Beatles song like the Beatles, but Jim Sturgess and this movie is credited with a revolution in our family. After watching this movie several times, we all researched originals and chose our favorites. My husband's is "Strawberry Fields." My oldest son's is "I Am the Walrus;" my daughter's, "A Little Help from my Friends;" my younger son's is "Hey Jude" and mine: "Something."
 
Drop the bass
Two years ago my son introduced me to two new kinds of music: techno and dubstep (there is a difference). Some may think of it as noise, but I find myself going to my 'dubstep' playlist often. There's something about the heavy bass and the anticipation and satisfaction of what those in the know call "the drop." I like listening to it while writing because often, there are no words to distract. Just a beat. An addictive beat to which you cannot help but bob your head in rhythm.

People will always agree and disagree over types of music. Your own choice is personal, but at the same time, can provide an instant connection to others -- even strangers who share the same love. So if I've reminded you of an oldie, but goody, or a time in your life when you found yourself listening to music you never thought you would, I'm glad. And I'd like to hear about it.

Renee Tanner is a News-Review page designer who used to despise pop music and yet now finds herself loving Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. This has brought her to the conclusion that music isn't something you use to define yourself or set out to appreciate. It finds you. Follow @ReneeTanner_pnr on Twitter.
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Editorial Poll


THE EDITORIAL BOARD


Andy Green, the opinion editor, has taken the "know a little bit about everything" approach in his time at The Sun. He was the city/state editor before coming to the editorial board, and prior to that he covered the State House and Baltimore County government.

Tricia Bishop, the deputy editorial page editor, was a reporter in the business and metro sections covering biotechnology, education and city and federal courts prior to joining the board.

Peter Jensen, former State House reporter and features writer, takes the lead on state government, transportation issues and the environment; he is the board's resident funny man and capital schmooze.

Glenn McNatt, who returned to editorial writing after serving as the newspaper's art critic, keeps an eye on the arts, culture, politics and the law for the editorial board.

Portland's potty water problem [Poll]

The Portland (Oregon) Water Bureau ordered 38 million gallons of clean, potable water drained after a smirking teen-ager urinated in a reservoir. Was that an overreaction?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

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