Kenneth Note: I asked the Field Gulls writers to participate in a special summer offseason “project” — to write about something other than the Seahawks. Even to write about something that has nothing to do with football, or sports. Just something they’re passionate about. We have a lot of talented voices at Field Gulls and I think it’s important for the voices to be able to take a break off from the team every once in awhile to shout about something else that they love.
It’s not often I get to write about something that isn’t sports related. Hell, it’s literally been my job for almost six years within the SB Nation community. With the NFL offseason at its dullest point, and the UFC giving me a weekend reprieve for the last time until mid-August, this is as good a time as any to step out of that world and into one of my biggest passions: music.
Outside of sports, there’s nothing else I consume more on a daily basis than music. Radio? Yup. Streaming? You bet. Portable music player? Yessir. There’s even a big box of CDs somewhere in storage that contains dozens upon dozens of albums. I take after my dad, who’s much more of a connoisseur than myself, and he got that from his dad, and he tells me all the time that he knows my grandfather (whom I’d never met) would be proud to have continued the tradition.
One of my fondest memories as a kid — I’m in my mid-20s, don’t believe those idiots on Twitter who spread lies that I’m 12 years old — me and my sister used to sit on his lap with a microphone, singing Elton John’s Something About The Way You Look Tonight, which is from an album his longtime lyricist and musical partner Bernie Taupin absolutely detested.
Of course, I don’t want anyone to conflate my love of music with the notion that I have musical talent. I’ve got rudimentary piano skills that have almost certainly eroded due to not playing for years, and haven’t taken any formal vocal lessons since the 4th grade. My career highlight was doing everything possible in the back row not to fall off the stand while moving back and forth singing this song in a 3rd grade ensemble. Thankfully, I did not fall. I also don’t dance, so don’t even go there.
Anyway, back to the main topic at hand. Music has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s my go-to for reducing stress, relaxing the mind, going to sleep, feeling upbeat, or just bouncing to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat. Identifying familiar singles within the first 2-3 beats is second nature to me.
Much like my dad, I subscribe to the notion that a good song is a good song no matter the genre or era. I don’t care for country as a whole, but I like Glen Campbell. Hip-hop and rap are hit-and-miss for me, yet I’m a fan of Arrested Development (not the TV show!). timespan stretches from the 1950s all the way to present day, of which I listen to modern music the least often. I’m partial to the 1980s and early 1990s, as that’s the sweet spot for the bulk of my favorite tunes, groups, individual artists, and collaborations. Sure, I’m a fan of Fitz and the Tantrums, Adele, Alicia Keys,
Ed Sheeran nah just kidding, etc. but you’ll more likely catch me dialed into Hall and Oates, The Isley Brothers, Todd Rundgren, Sheena Easton, The Moody Blues, and so on.
One of the most beautiful compositions I’ve ever heard came from Tears For Fears, featuring the awe-inspiring vocals of Seattle’s own Oleta Adams.
The lyrics are powerful, the instrumental arrangements are well-crafted, and Roland Orzabal’s voice at its peak was terrific. It’s not one of their more popular hits — the song only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 US charts in 1989 — but it’s among my top five favorites of all-time.
In recent years I’ve become more engrossed in watching documentaries and reading books on the world’s most influential recording acts to get a better sense of the history behind their respective successes, downfalls, and everything in between. While I’ve indulged in finding out more about the upbringing and sheer genius of Prince, the massive success of Stax Records, Motown’s impact outside of the United States, the one that’s stuck with me the most is “They Sold A Million,” a BBC documentary chronicling the journey and the tragic demise of British rock band Badfinger. It really exposes the ugly, greedy, exploitative underbelly of the entertainment industry, and the lives that manager Stan Polley ruined.
If I wasn’t fully entrenched in covering sports — this was something I was pretty much destined to do — there’s no doubt in my mind that I’d be involved in music. Disc jockey would be my top choice, which makes sense almost solely based off of the numerous “you have a radio voice” compliments I’ve received dating back to high school. Researcher is also of interest to me.
There’s still time yet for a career switch to become reality, but I love what I do right now, and wouldn’t give it up unless I completely lose interest. For now, I’m just going to relax and enjoy the music, and I hope all of you do the same, whatever your preferences may be... even if it’s U2.