Let’s talk music

By Matthew Sotlar / The Jambar

Hopefully, the title gave away what this week’s column will be about. Without further delays or awful one-liners, let’s boogie into the column.

I like music. If you’ve ever seen me on campus, you’ll probably either notice my flowing mane of curly hair or any one of my super awesome T-shirts. About 98% of them have rock bands or singers on them. I’ve spent well over $1,000 on shirts over the years. I am as financially sound as I am humble.

If that wasn’t enough, most of my columns discuss music in one way or another. This column was inevitable. Every time I bring up a musician in one of my columns, it’s like a bit of subliminal messaging. Who doesn’t love that? Certainly not the government.

Who do I like to listen to? I love everything. I mean, I will listen to anything. I grew up on Talking Heads, the Velvet Underground and plenty of jazz and classical music. My grandparents played plenty of polkas, and my aunt introduced me to one of the greatest performers on Earth, Barry Manilow.

As I grew older, I found rock groups like Led Zeppelin, which are a part of me. No joke, I love Led Zeppelin so much I have it tattooed on my arm. Up next is Pink Floyd, the only people I know who don’t like Pink Floyd may be foreign to the concept of music. If the reader does not like Pink Floyd, they needn’t continue reading.

I’m also a huge fan of the Doors thanks to literally everyone in my family. You can’t escape the Lizard King in my family. I also love Journey, ZZ Top, and Lynyrd Skynyrd as every red-blooded American should.

Bob Dylan is the king of music, hands down. There is nobody like Bob Dylan, except maybe Townes Van Zandt, but y’all aren’t ready for that Texas troubadour talk. I tip my hat to the great John Prine, Jackson Browne, and Warren Zevon. They’re fantastic songwriters and huge inspirations to my writing.

Also across the pond are Rod Stewart and David Bowie, who, along with Elton John, are what I call “The Holy Trinity.” I would include Paul McCartney in there, but I believe the Beatles have always had its respective tier in the music ranking system, far beyond any other band.

But I don’t just listen to your dad’s kind of music, I’m hip. I’m no square. I can safely say that Zach Bryan, after Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, is the greatest songwriter alive. Every night I say a little prayer to make sure Zach Bryan wakes up okay. One day I’ll see him live. Wait for that column.

Unfortunately, I will carry the burden of having never seen Olivia Rodrigo live — although I could have. That’s right, I like Olivia Rodrigo. She is a fantastic singer and songwriter. I’m a grown man, but I know every single lyric to every song on her album “GUTS,” and I’m proud of that fact.

What albums do I like? “The Velvet Underground and Nico” is my all-time favorite, right after Fleetwood Mac’s “Bare Trees.” After that is “Meddle” by Pink Floyd. Play the latter album without skipping any songs, it’s worth it.

I wish I could write more about music. As a guitarist and pianist, I find making music is conducive to happiness just as much as listening to it. Go out and find new music. There are so many great artists out there. You never know who you’ll find.