I think it’s safe to say that everyone has experienced that band or musician that just didn’t do it for you, despite everyone else screaming at just how absolutely phenomenal they are. Sometimes it’s because their style just doesn’t suit your tastes. Sometimes it’s that you’re only familiar with their three songs on permanent rotation at the local radio station, despite a lengthy discography. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood.
And sometimes, ages later, it finally clicks and you finally understand what the hullabaloo was all about.
Bob Dylan is a good example of me not *getting* him the first time around. As a kid I’d only heard a barking troubadour with songs that went on far too long. It wasn’t until recently when I bought that big box set a few years back (The Complete Album Collection) and started listening through the years that I finally understood what he was doing. Now I get why so many people find him so amazing.
LCD Soundsystem is another one. I was initially turned off by their retro-disco shtick they had going (especially with their then-hit “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House”). Pretty sure they were also part of the wave of bands that Pitchfork found absolutely amazing but about three people had ever heard of them. Then I listened to last year’s American Dream album and, wouldn’t you know it, they’re a damn catchy band with some fine tunes going on!
Another recent changeover is Parquet Courts. I kinda-sorta liked some of their songs but couldn’t make myself go any further than streaming the songs. Then their latest song “Wide Awake” comes out and man, that is one hell of a fun earworm. It’s one of my favorite songs of this year.
Or Courtney Barnett, which at first I thought, ‘okay, kind of has a dopey-hippie thing going on’, but then I started listen to her lyrics, which are often off-kilter but deceptively brilliant. “Avant Gardener,” for instance, is actually quite a mundane yet harrowing story of having a debilitating asthma attack. And her record with the equally weird Kurt Vile is actually an amazing blues album.
I guess what I’m saying here is that it’s okay not to jump on the bandwagon and sing the praises (har har) of the bands and musicians with everyone else. Sometimes it’s better to take it all in at your own pace and see where it goes.