One thing I really like to do is listen to music. It's one of my favorite pastimes, up there with reading and
writing. I have a wide range of tastes when it comes to music. I like listening to everyone from the Newsboys to Ray Charles, to every genre from alternative to soundtracks to classical (except for death metal). I don't know how I became interested in such a diverse range of music, but it probably had to do with watching a lot of musicals growing up. I just like music. Granted, I don't feel like I have the insight or ear to be a music critic, but I love listening to it. I have almost 24 hours of music in my collection, and I'm steadily adding more to it. I hope to finish someday.
The most pervasive genre in my collection is by far soundtracks. Soundtracks are a rather peculiar genre. They can range from anything from rock to classical, but still be counted under one category simply because they were released with a film or a video game. As such, soundtracks make for a diverse selection. In particular, I love Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori's soundtrack from the Halo franchise. It's so emotional, so heart-melting, so incredibly splendid. It really puts you in the mood for the story, and truly sets it apart from any other story. All of their stuff is brilliant, but some of my favorites include "Wake Me When You Need Me" and "Unforgotten." Ditto for the works of Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard on the Dark Knight Saga, Nick Arundel for Batman: Arkham City, John Williams for the Star Wars saga, Howard Shore for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Nathan Furst for the original three Bionicle movies, and Klaus Badelt for Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Sometimes a movie's music is one of its few redeeming values, such as with the otherwise atrocious The Last Airbender (Howard Shore) and the cosmically overrated 1989 Batman film (Danny Elfman). "Flow Like Water" remains a favorite of mine to this day.
I also like other genres, such as Christian rock. My favorite band is the Newsboys, with their catchy tunes and clever lyrics. My two favorite songs from them are "Belly of the Whale" and "Born Again", for when they switched lead singers. Also of note is their cover of "In Christ Alone" and "Wherever We Go." The Newsboys are my only particular favorite Christian rock band, come to thing of it. I usually scrounge around for whatever is handy when selecting other Christian rock music for my collection. I've got chunks of Jeremy Camp, Joe Poppino, Jars of Clay, and a sprinkling of individual, one-off entries from various Christian artists like Mark Schultz and Jaci Velasquez. I am also a fan of ApoligetiX, a Christian rock group who describe themselves as a cross between Weird Al Yankovic (who I also like) and Billy Graham. Some of their songs include "The Devil Went Down to Jordan" and "YHWH".
One Christian artist that I have a lot of that's not rock is David
Klinkenberg. My dad picked up a couple of his CDs when they were on sale
at my church, and I've listened to his strings over and over again.
He's a great artist and singer. His "Rich Mullins Medley" and "Immortal
Invisible" are particularly good. Other non-Rock Christian artists that I have on in my collection are a series of covers done by Bill Anderson and Brenda Lee, plus a series of highlights from Handel's Messiah.
Other rock and alternative groups I like that aren't Christian rock groups are Cryoshell and Queen, though most of the songs from these genres are individual songs from different bands, with no long stretches of songs from specific bands. These songs have a good tune and memorable lyrics. Such songs included "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2, "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi, and "Short Change Hero" by the Heavy. I really love Cryoshell for the music they provided for the Bionicle saga.
Then there's music which appeals to my sentimental side, like R&B and pop singers like Ray Charles and Rick Astley. I love a good love song, and Ray Charles album Genius Loves Company provides just that. I really dig Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," and I was given a disk of some of his pop songs (Portrait, to be specific) by my cousin Hudson, which I still enjoy. I currently have plans to purchase albums by Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra. I love Ray Charles' covers on "You Don't Know Me" and "Sweet Potato Pie" and Rick Astley's "What the World Needs Now."
In sum, my musical tastes are very diverse, reflecting my diverse interests. I love listening to music while I read, and am listening to music as a write this article. Most of all, I feel that music is a gift from God. Music is its own language, expressing emotions and feelings in a way that words cannot convey. Thusly, we are encouraged to use music in worship, and I feel that it is a valuable tool for that purpose. I myself have dabbled in making music in the past (I used to take piano lessons). Perhaps one day I will return to that. But for now, I am content to listen. And listen I shall.
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