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Out There: Make your own kind of music even if nobody else sings along

Music can change anything and everything. It can set the tone for rocking out, working out or even making out. It gave my first broken heart. Thank you, Poisons. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” indeed.

Music can change a mood in simpler ways. Mowing the lawn and cleaning the bathroom are a little easier with Earth, Wind & Fire helping out.

The other day I finished snowblowing and was fetching the recycle bin dressed in my puffy jacket, tuque, hood up and a little lime-green vest I like to wear to possibly prevent me from getting hit by a car.

To summarize, I looked like a dork. A chubby dork.

But I had my AirPods in (and no, Apple didn’t pay me to mention them — I am not an influencer) and the tune that shuffled into my ears was “One” by Metallica.

If you are not familiar — talk about music that has the power to impact a vibe. “One” by Metallica is an influencer. It is not subtle. It is 7:24 of raw force.

There I was — the dork in lime green — walking like a penguin on my icy driveway because at my age I had multiple friends who had slipped and fallen and required months of physio, and in some cases surgery, to recover.

As I’m penguin-shuffling, “One” changes gears from a somewhat quiet (by Metallica standards) opening into the part where the drums and guitars explode like weapons of destruction. BA-DA-DA-DA-BA DA-DA-BA-DA WA-PA-DA-MA — sorry that’s the best I can do to write how it sounds.

And over those sonic blasts, the singer, James Hetfield, roars directly into my earballs. “DARKNESS! IMPRISONING ME! ALL THAT I SEE! ABSOLUTE HORROR!”

He’s singing about a wounded First World War soldier who can’t speak or move.

Anyhoo. Waddling down the driveway, this music has me feeling like I am absolutely strutting. In my ears and in my head I’m an action movie hero. Stuff is blowing up all around me as I confidently walk with my eyes on my goal.

In the movie I’m rescuing the nuclear football from terrorists or picking up a briefcase full of cash or something cool like that. In the real world I’m, of course, bringing in the blue bin. And wearing a lime green vest because safety first.

But I feel pretty cool and that’s what music can do. Come on — you’ve had moments like this, surely.

Have you ever been so fully involved in a song while driving that you stopped caring if anyone could see or hear you? Pay attention to the road, please, but sometimes you have to crank that volume knob to the max then rip it off and toss it out the window.

And, of course, I have an embarrassing example.

I was in the zone. You know when a car goes by and you can hear its stereo as clear as if you were in that car yourself? That was me. It was a concert in my Honda Civic (no payment from Honda either).

With the volume up as loud as it was, I thought my singing sounded amazing. For the record, I cannot sing. The last time I tried, my wife looked at me with the most serious face I have ever seen and asked, bluntly, “Can you hear yourself when you sing? I’m genuinely curious.”

At this moment though my mood and the song collided. I could not be more fully into it. I was singing, the music was blaring and I wheeled into a parking spot feeling like a true diva because the song was the inspirational power ballad “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera.

You know it. “I am beautiful, it doesn’t matter what they say. Words can’t bring me down.” And then at the end of the song the “I” becomes “We” and just as I pulled into a parking spot Christina was with me and we WERE beautiful and words would NOT us down!

And I shut the car off and in jarring silence, noticed the group of teenagers looking directly at this middle-aged guy/singing diva. Funny. They had the same expression my wife had.


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