Many people say that eyes are the window to the soul. You can insert whatever you think is the window to one's soul, and I would still say you are wrong; music is the real window into the soul.

Look around at our nation's growing obsession with mp3 players, iPhones, iPods, Zunes, you name it. Almost 23 million iPods were sold during last year's Christmas season. It is becoming increasingly easy to access music wherever you are: at work, working out, doing homework or just dinking around the house.

The iPod was designed by Apple's hardware engineering chief, Jon Rubinstein, in 2001. When the first 5 GB iPod came out, it was announced as being '1,000 songs in your pocket.' In less than eight short years, the music icon has grown from a black and white screen with mechanical scroll wheel to the option of 160 GB color screen iPod Classic or a 32 GB touch screen, wi-fi enabled iPod Touch. With a grand-total of 163 million iPods sold, this music behemoth has far surpassed the turn-table, the walkman, the CD player and other music players.

All this grandeur of the iPod only is possible because music is what truly defines us. When you are home all alone, what do you scroll to on the iPod, or throw on the record player? When you see the jock walking through the halls with his headphones on, what is he really listening to?

Maybe he isn't listening to the latest Lil' Wayne hit but instead the High School Musical 3 song, 'Now or Never.' And maybe the cheerleader who could date any guy in school really isn't listening to the Taylor Swift 'Our Song' but instead System of a Down's 'Chop Suey.'

Of course, just because some of us really are listening to Hillary Duff when nobody else is watching, that does not mean all stereotyped people are not listening to what would seem to exemplify them. This music thing shows where we are in life.

I have not met any grandparents who throw the Demon Hunter CD in on car rides instead of playing their Louis Armstrong. Frankly, most grandparents would not appreciate the kind of music that has developed from their sacred classical and jazz music. Most grandparents could not discern the difference between Paramore and Amber Pacific.

Yet when that special song plays from their high school prom on the other hand, those grandparents can remember the moment and song like it was yesterday.

I can remember listening to the Annie soundtrack in the car, singing to every song, when I was at the ripe age of six. Believe me, I could belt out the lyrics from 'It's the Hard-Knock Life' like nobody else. Maybe my younger brother, still sporting the car seat, might scream a little louder but the beauty was in the lyrics.

That red-haired princess was the love of my life all of six months until the Tarzan movie came out. Phil Collins blew my young mind away with that soundtrack. When he proceeded to appear at half time of the Super Bowl, (without any wardrobe malfunctions I might add) I knew I had found the best artist alive.

Then came Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Hillary Duff, Audio Adrenaline, DC Talk, Switchfoot, Flyleaf, All Time Low and so many others who replaced Phil as the best alive. Life changes and so does the music we love.

Music has been around for as long as civilization. The earliest known findings of musical expression are from over 4,000 years ago. The fact that music has evolved from flutes of bones to digital recordings shows its immense connection with the ebb and flow of daily life.

Words put to music and made into a song can show greater emotion and connectivity with the listener than any other form of communication. So next time you notice someone listening to music, whether it be your son, daughter, mom, neighbor or friend, take notice of the emotion, lyrics, and heart and soul of the music. Maybe, through it, you can glimpse a piece of who that person really is.

Austin Layton is a junior at Westside Christian High School. He writes a column every month for the Lake Oswego Review. Contact him via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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