Do you let music 'grow on you'?

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What with being isolated at the moment I've been thinking about this question. Do you repeatedly listen to music you didn't really warm to first time around? Is this a case of commitment to an artist, a genre or type of music? How committed are you? - up to how many spins? Is it a case of being open-minded generally? Do you think familiarity plays a big part? I had a look to see if this has been answered but couldn't see a general thread.

mmmm, Saturday, 28 March 2020 11:04 (two months ago) link

I do this a lot. Often music 'clicks' when everything aligns; my mood, the time of day, format of the music I'm listening to. Apologies if this has been done. I listen to a lot of physical media and putting purchases on hold for now via post so revisiting things..

mmmm, Saturday, 28 March 2020 11:09 (two months ago) link

I try to, if I dont warm to something straight away I will try to work out what it is other people like about it, ultimately there is only so much time in the day though.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 28 March 2020 11:13 (two months ago) link

^this

Robbie Shakespeare’s Sister Lovers (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 28 March 2020 12:04 (two months ago) link

I wish I did this less tbh.

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 12:11 (two months ago) link

Absolutely. Some of my favorite albums I was kinda lukewarm to upon first listen, maybe wondering why I even bought them, but I would keep at it and often the record would get under my skin. Conversely, a lot of albums that clicked right away were the ones I tired of the quickest.

Of course, making the effort with an album occurs more when I actually pay for it. In the pre-streaming days I pretty much bought all my albums, and as such had fewer of them. So I was damn sure gonna try to get my money's worth. And I had more time per album too.

henry s, Saturday, 28 March 2020 12:12 (two months ago) link

I do this a little but it's usually clear from the first listen whether I love something or not, and this doesn't usually change - the intensity of it may do

ban laggy jazzer (imago), Saturday, 28 March 2020 12:23 (two months ago) link

On the love/hate spectrum, that tends to be true for me as well, but I've got an irrepressible encyclopedic streak that ultimately has very little to do with aesthetic enjoyment, and it demands a second spin at the very least. 95% of the time, it's a waste.

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 12:47 (two months ago) link

If I listen to a record and don't like it and people whose taste I respect keep talking about it in positive terms, I will probably wind up listening to it again at some point, if for no other reason than to try and figure out what about it appeals to them. A lot of music I like is music I didn't like initially.

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 28 March 2020 12:50 (two months ago) link

like Camaraderie At Arms Length, there have been several occasions where I've said to myself 'Hmm I don't really get this, but there must be something to it'.
and one day I'll go on a deep dive and try to work out what it is that touches people about it. More often than not, I'll get something out of it.
Definitely did this c2013 (my jazz year lol). I went from 'it's a lot of skronking' to 'OMG this is the only thing that makes sense to me at all' to the point where I was even having mad dreams about jazz.

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Saturday, 28 March 2020 13:29 (two months ago) link

I also find that my favourite albums are generally the ones which initially I couldn't work out if I liked them or not, and it would turn out to be precisely the unappealing aspects of the music which eventually turned into my favourite parts

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Saturday, 28 March 2020 13:31 (two months ago) link

Such conversions were a staple of my formative listening years but jadedness has greatly diminished their likelihood over time.

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 13:36 (two months ago) link

I tend to listen to things on a 3-changer in bed for a bout a week so familiarise myself with things i maybe should be more familiar with already.
But they do tend to be things i've bought already. So must have been some impetus to do that in the first place.

Stevolende, Saturday, 28 March 2020 14:42 (two months ago) link

I find that nowadays I tend to listen to a newly-acquired album as background music the first few spins, to let it seep into my consciousness gradually. As opposed to when I was much younger, and would throw an LP on the turntable, open up the sleeve to the lyrics, and say "OK hotshot, let's see what you got!" Poor record never stood a chance.

henry s, Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:03 (two months ago) link

yes! you never know! a lot of great music is dismissed simply because people don’t PAY ATTENTION

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:06 (two months ago) link

I used to have to let music grow on me. I almost never liked something on a first listen, which meant that I didn't engage with a lot of new music because it was hard to know what was worth the effort of repeated listening. That suddenly changed last year, and now I listen to a lot more music than I used to, and when my brother says, "Hey, can I play you a song I think you'll like?" I go, "Sure!" instead of cringing. It's really enriched my life, and I'm not sure exactly how it happened but I'm glad it did.

The fillyjonk who believed in pandemics (Lily Dale), Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:18 (two months ago) link

I definitely do that because some of my favorite albums didn't hit me the first time. For example, here was my reaction to the following albums:

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang
First listen (2004): This is decent. Good boilerplate 90s hip-hop
Current feelings: One of my top-ten favorite hip-hop albums

W.A.S.P. - The Headless Children
First listen (2000): This is fuckin' garbage (chucks in trash can)
Current feelings: My favorite W.A.S.P. album

Death - Leprosy
First listen (2007): This is ok, but it's not their later material. way too many generic riffs
Current feelings: Best early Death album

I'm just not great at parsing musical ideas in real time, so my first reaction often only gives me a taste of how I feel about it. If I've gotten to a third listen and it's not grabbing me, then often times I start to realize it's just not going to get there. I know myself well enough to know that I won't magically change my feelings on something after that many listens.

sometimes I'll revisit an album a few years later to see if it changes, and even then it rarely does. a decade later, though, all bets are off.

sorry for butt rockin (Neanderthal), Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:34 (two months ago) link

my initial reaction to cupid and psyche 85 was uhhh this pop(?) music doesn't make any sense to me? glad i figured it out

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:38 (two months ago) link

oh Mr Bungle's "Disco Volante" is another one I hated at first and love now, but that took muuuuch longer to get into.

sorry for butt rockin (Neanderthal), Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:45 (two months ago) link

Did a little when I was younger. But now, never. If something doesn't grab me after 30 seconds it's on to the next track. There's too much music out there and there's too much I already really like that I'd rather go back to. Plus everything I really like I liked from the get go, so I'm pretty confident I'm not missing out on anything.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:55 (two months ago) link

I used to listen religiously to albums from A to Z, from any genre. Now I give it 3-4 songs to convince me, and I try to focus only on music I am in a mood for.
With that said, I stay flexible and will revisit albums that I may have heard at one point and did not think much of.
Sometimes I do approach a critically acclaimed album with the intention to fence with it, and then I will give it time and it's always interesting. The rest of the time, I am looking for tunes.

Nabozo, Saturday, 28 March 2020 16:12 (two months ago) link

I think the true answer to this for me is 'no', everything gets one play, but that the impact of that first play is not always obvious or immediate. There's so much going on when I listen to music for the first time, the critical stuff, my expectations, all this internal noise it has to cut through. There's often an acuity of listening, attentiveness to form that I never remember afterwards anyhow. But sometimes I'm left with a weird, lingering aftertaste that eventually draws me back in.

So giving something a chance is a matter of letting that more impressionistic reaction sink in over time. For me it has nothing to do with effort.

I don't think streaming/piracy/reissues, the ability to listen to whatever I want, has changed this nearly as much as I tend to assume. It certainly encouraged these "conversions" because I quickly burned through everything I'd ever been curious to hear but couldn't access (due to cost or availability), and moved on to other areas.

Deflatormouse, Saturday, 28 March 2020 16:26 (two months ago) link

I've discussed my approach to this before, but it boils down to this: I've been listening to music "seriously" for ~35 years, "professionally" for ~25. I know what I like, and I know what I don't like. There was a time when a clever or eloquent piece of writing could convince me to check out an album not in my wheelhouse, but no more. I will not listen to that country album, or that rap album, or that singer-songwriter album, or that indie rock album, or that teenage pop auteur album, or that black metal album, because I know after years of experience being burned by other albums in that subgenre that it will do little or nothing for me. And even within the genres I pay attention to, I have stringent standards. No jazz singers. No solo (as in, only one instrument) jazz albums unless it's piano.

Once I do actually decide to listen to something, a given song gets a minute - 60 seconds - to catch my ear. (This means I often skip straight to track two on metal records, so I won't hold a band's bullshit 90-second intro track against them.) If the first minute of the first actual song doesn't do it for me, I'll try a few others, but in general I'm an album-oriented listener, not a singles-oriented listener, so if the whole album is starting to feel like a wash, I pull the plug pretty quickly.

Obviously some things - like, say, a 3CD Tyshawn Sorey set where each disc is a single massive track - get a different approach, but for traditionally structured albums with short(ish) discrete songs, that's my general approach. And I don't usually look back.

but also fuck you (unperson), Saturday, 28 March 2020 16:43 (two months ago) link

xp There's also music that I'm repeatedly exposed to, or bombarded with, rather than electively listen to, that I change my mind about one way or another. Sometimes it's overcoming a resistance to something I don't want to like. And some things wear thin over time. I'm not sure it's actually necessary to hear records repeatedly for that to happen, though. The memory of it is probably enough.

Toni Braxton's 'Unbreak My Heart' was in heavy rotation on VH1 and MTV when I was a little kid, and I really didn't like it. By the time I was in high scool I was pretty sure I loved that song, without having heard it once in the interim.

Deflatormouse, Saturday, 28 March 2020 16:48 (two months ago) link

That's probably a bad example though, of something that was too "mature" for me that I grew into or whatever. But I'm interested in what happens when you have no choice but to listen to something for the hundredth time.

Deflatormouse, Saturday, 28 March 2020 17:03 (two months ago) link

no, if I’m bored by something or it turns me off, it’s over

brimstead, Saturday, 28 March 2020 17:44 (two months ago) link

kinda have the same story re: “unbreak my heart” though *shrugs*.

Actually A LOT of 90s stuff that I didn’t give a crap about at the time lol

brimstead, Saturday, 28 March 2020 17:45 (two months ago) link

Unbreak felt like such a clumsy hamfisted lyric, I couldn't take the song seriously. But yeah it's a good tune.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Saturday, 28 March 2020 18:07 (two months ago) link

I don't think streaming/piracy/reissues, the ability to listen to whatever I want, has changed this nearly as much as I tend to assume. It certainly encouraged these "conversions" because I quickly burned through everything I'd ever been curious to hear but couldn't access (due to cost or availability), and moved on to other areas.

― Deflatormouse

idk, for me the example of "grower album" is trout mask replica, and a lot of what's going on there is stuff that i just didn't hear the first time. it just sounded like a bunch of noise. i listened to it as often as i did because i paid fifteen fucking bucks for that record, i didn't have anything else to listen to, and i was going to learn to like it or die trying.

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 28 March 2020 18:16 (two months ago) link

I do try to keep an open mind, but whether I give something time to click depends on what mood I'm in, or how busy I am (and "busy" could just mean having lots of other music to check out). I find that, if I dislike something on first or second listen, I might grow to like it, or even just appreciate what it's trying to do, but rarely grow to outright love it.

Duane Barry, Saturday, 28 March 2020 18:32 (two months ago) link

There was a time when a clever or eloquent piece of writing could convince me to check out an album not in my wheelhouse, but no more.

Slowly getting there myself, and it's a saddening process – feels like giving up, really.

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 18:54 (two months ago) link

But yeah, in all honesty there are entire subgenres that only do it for me maybe 3% of the time. Why bother?

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 18:55 (two months ago) link

That said, I've been toying with the idea of starting an ILM thread with a 'change my view'-style premise: person A lays out why they hate a specific band/album/genre/subgenre, etc. and person B tries to make a sensible, informed and diplomatic case for why A is wrong. I'm sure it already exists, but I'm too lazy to search for it.

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 19:01 (two months ago) link

idk, for me the example of "grower album" is trout mask replica, and a lot of what's going on there is stuff that i just didn't hear the first time. it just sounded like a bunch of noise. i listened to it as often as i did because i paid fifteen fucking bucks for that record, i didn't have anything else to listen to, and i was going to learn to like it or die trying.

― Kate (rushomancy)

I mean, it's a confusing, nuanced issue. There are albums that are not on the internet. There are albums that used to be on the internet that are not on the internet anymore. There are albums that are only on the internet in very low quality formats. There's still a personal investment in tracking certain things down.

With Trout Mask Replica, a legendary album that frequently appears on "all time" lists and which countless artists have championed as a major inspiration, etc, there are other complicating factors at play.

Steve Albini talks a lot about how his job is to keep recordings preserved for long enough that they might find their audience. And I think that impulse is at the heart of this. If you hold onto things long enough will people start to care about them?

Deflatormouse, Saturday, 28 March 2020 19:13 (two months ago) link

Streaming services + realization that I'm halfway thru my lifespan & have a finite amount of time left to listen to music is what spurred me to adopt an "on to the next!" modus operandi

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Saturday, 28 March 2020 19:22 (two months ago) link

Even artists I love who have deep catalogs, like Miles Davis, I stopped investigating after a point of diminishing returns. How many more times will I get to sit down and spin some Miles for a few hours? Why would I waste one of those sessions on some mediocre deep deeeeeep cut?? After going thru a hefty chunk of his discography I'm pretty confident I've found nearly everything I'm gonna love. Sure, there may be a truly hidden gem out there but it's not worth wading thru the rest of it to find it. Esp when there's literally thousands of songs that I love but haven't heard in awhile.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Saturday, 28 March 2020 19:29 (two months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1tFQMjc-IE

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 19:30 (two months ago) link

I mean, it's a confusing, nuanced issue. There are albums that are not on the internet. There are albums that used to be on the internet that are not on the internet anymore. There are albums that are only on the internet in very low quality formats. There's still a personal investment in tracking certain things down.

― Deflatormouse

sure, i spend a lot of time on the internet trying to track certain things down, things i am personally invested in to the point that they've become running jokes on this board. honestly, though, it's as much about the journey as it is about the destination. it's about the shit i find _while_ i'm looking for things, about the process, about the willingness to take detours, and if i find five good albums while looking for one "holy grail", should i care if the "holy grail" turns out to be a bit shit?

With Trout Mask Replica, a legendary album that frequently appears on "all time" lists and which countless artists have championed as a major inspiration, etc, there are other complicating factors at play.

there are "complicating factors" in all the music i listen to, whether or not i'm aware of them. the reason i give dee palmer's 2018 record a more sympathetic listening than i would a record by any other ex-member of jethro tull has nothing whatsoever to do with _aesthetics_.

I've discussed my approach to this before, but it boils down to this: I've been listening to music "seriously" for ~35 years, "professionally" for ~25. I know what I like, and I know what I don't like. There was a time when a clever or eloquent piece of writing could convince me to check out an album not in my wheelhouse, but no more.

― but also fuck you (unperson)

"cleverness" and "eloquence" are of some use to me, but are not paramount. if you listen to other music i like and you like a record, a lot, enough to talk about _why_ you like it, i'm more likely to listen to it again. just today a friend of mine was talking about how much they love pearls before swine. i've listened to pearls before swine a number of times before and have never connected with it, but i said, you know, i'll give it another shot, what song do you recommend? and she recommended a song, and i listened to it and i fucking loved it. i'll probably listen to a little more pearls before swine this weekend. so yes, happens all the time with me.

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 28 March 2020 20:49 (two months ago) link

can we know what the song was

budo jeru, Saturday, 28 March 2020 20:54 (two months ago) link

good thread btw, still deciding how to answer.

for now i’ll say that i think there’s something to be said about difficult or boring music, the fact that different types of music might require different kinds of listening / attention.

and moreover we should ask what we’re hoping to get from music, whether we want more than pleasure or comfort, whether there’s value in being bored, perplexed, terrified, uncomfortable.

budo jeru, Saturday, 28 March 2020 21:02 (two months ago) link

music growing on me is usually a subconscious experience for me. i hear a song, don't think much of it or about it and then some time later it creeps into my subconscious and i have to hear it again.

ooga booga-ing for the bourgeoisie (voodoo chili), Saturday, 28 March 2020 21:08 (two months ago) link

I give every album I buy a minimum of 3 listens. If something is sufficiently interesting to take me to 10-12 listens but hasn't clicked yet, I'll spin it again a year or two later and sometimes that works wonders (especially for classical, since I'm a beginner; surely nobody gets into deeply unfamiliar genres if they skip around a lot and give up early?). Life is indeed short but I really believe challenges are necessary to grow into things and really really really pay off in the long term and will help you fight off the creeping rot of narrowing taste.
A possible alternative (I have no idea if it works) is listening strategically to lots of similar things in a new genre to help you break into it without listening to the same difficult pieces over and over. But would this ease you into those difficult pieces eventually?

But everyone has different priorities and it won't matter so much if you don't listen to much music. I watch a lot less films so I'm not eager to broaden as I used to be.
I think the rot of narrowing taste is deadly if you create some kind of art. Broadening your taste is your health food. But sometimes your favorite genres are so sprawling that it's hard to make time for anything else.

it would turn out to be precisely the unappealing aspects of the music which eventually turned into my favourite parts

― doorstep jetski (dog latin), Saturday, March 28, 2020 1:31 PM

I used to regularly get this when I was young and I loved it, but it rarely happens now. I think that's why I'm interested in trying power metal and glam metal and loving Jim Steinman these days because I used to find that stuff really offputting.

Last classic album I initially thought sounded lousy but ended up agreeing with the classic status was Nirvana UK's Local Anaesthetic.

Right now I'm really puzzling over why Beherit's Drawing Down The Moon is classic (sounds a bit amaterish right now) and doubting I'll come around but we'll see.

Also, we had a similar discussion a year or two ago and a lot of these factors involved contributed to less reading books.

On the other hand, I'm alarmed by how many hundreds of bands I've wanted to listen to for over a decade but still haven't begun and maybe I should be just a tad less attentive.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 28 March 2020 21:14 (two months ago) link

Genesis - Selling England By The Pound and a couple of their other albums taken a bunch of time for me.

John Peel said he was very aware of the threat of his mind/taste narrowing with age and actively fought against it but Mark Radcliffe said a while ago that he very calmly accepts that his taste is closing its doors and wont be able to understand much new music.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 28 March 2020 21:42 (two months ago) link

The thing is, there's a positive side to preemptively or summarily rejecting vast swaths of music, at least for me, which is that because I've focused on just a few areas, I have a much deeper understanding now than I did years ago of the music that I do like. I can pop the hood and see how the motor works. And there are still doors opening: for example, I've only recently started to develop a taste for big band jazz, after years of disinterest.

but also fuck you (unperson), Saturday, 28 March 2020 21:52 (two months ago) link

Yeah, there's huge areas of music I think I probably wont investigate much, but if I was a musician I think I would feel more of the need.

I find it quite refreshing when writers insist that writers should read as many styles and landmark books as possible, because too many writers are happy to be insular; but nobody can do it all.

Luckily for me, visual art history is easier to at least glance through and get something out of it. Those 1000 images to see before you die books automatically get you more acquainted than the similar books about music and film.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 28 March 2020 22:06 (two months ago) link

I very much doubt I'll ever get much into blues, hiphop, skiffle, swing, crooners, mod, country that doesn't have any alt rock appeal and traditional punk but I feel I'm missing out on dance, jazz and world.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 28 March 2020 22:21 (two months ago) link

can we know what the song was

― budo jeru

"raindrops"

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 28 March 2020 22:46 (two months ago) link

The thing is, there's a positive side to preemptively or summarily rejecting vast swaths of music, at least for me, which is that because I've focused on just a few areas, I have a much deeper understanding now than I did years ago of the music that I do like. I can pop the hood and see how the motor works. And there are still doors opening: for example, I've only recently started to develop a taste for big band jazz, after years of disinterest.

― but also fuck you (unperson)

i'm not one of those people who smugly claims they like "all kinds of music". certainly there are genres i particularly like and genres i particularly dislike. i will grant that there is some theoretical benefit to my having an exceptionally in-depth knowledge of, say, 1970s progressive rock, and honestly? i hate most country music, and don't spend a lot of time listening to it. but for myself... i gotta ask what's of more value to me, being familiar with the 1977 s/t by hands, or being familiar with richard dobson's 1979 album _the big taste_? if i had to choose a record to never listen to again, it wouldn't be the hands lp.

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 28 March 2020 22:54 (two months ago) link

I very much doubt I'll ever get much into blues, hiphop, skiffle, swing, crooners, mod, country that doesn't have any alt rock appeal and traditional punk but I feel I'm missing out on dance, jazz and world.

― Robert Adam Gilmour

there's this young person on rym who went through and did a cursory review of the top-rated album in every genre on that site. it's from that list that i discovered that "world" covers a lot of genres, and also that there are a _lot_ of genres i really don't have any interest in.

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 28 March 2020 22:56 (two months ago) link

My listening habits have def changed. Now with lockdown I have way more time. So yes some shit is growing on me.

nathom, Saturday, 28 March 2020 22:59 (two months ago) link

This thread may be interesting for some:

Can You Force Yourself To Like A Record Through Blunt-Force Repetition?

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:08 (two months ago) link

i discovered that "world" covers a lot of genres, and also that there are a _lot_ of genres i really don't have any interest in.

― Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, March 28, 2020 10:56 PM

Definitely, there's a lot of that music I wouldnt even know if it fell under a kind of classical or folk. I really don't have the foggiest of just how much Dance might cover either.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:17 (two months ago) link

If I were to come up with two columns – subgenres I like/dislike – chances are the latter would outweigh the former.

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:20 (two months ago) link

i discovered that "world" covers a lot of genres, and also that there are a _lot_ of genres i really don't have any interest in.

Editing a world music magazine for two years taught me a few things:

1) People all around the globe love shitty pop, they just want it in their native language;
2) Music from hot countries > music from cold countries, BUT
3) Music from deserts > music from jungles

but also fuck you (unperson), Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:34 (two months ago) link

1) is true, but 2) and 3) are just... I hope you're being facetious. (Spoiler: there is good and bad music from countries hot and cold; also, some countries are both, some neither.)

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:49 (two months ago) link

i want to hear more world mixtures, like

black metal reggae

sorry for butt rockin (Neanderthal), Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:50 (two months ago) link

Here you go, kind of:

https://oranssipazuzu.bandcamp.com/track/dub-kuolleen-porton-muistolle

coco vide (pomenitul), Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:54 (two months ago) link

of COURSE it'd be oranssi

sorry for butt rockin (Neanderthal), Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:55 (two months ago) link

finland delivers

ban laggy jazzer (imago), Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:58 (two months ago) link

good, i'm not driving all the way over there for fucking carryout

Kate (rushomancy), Sunday, 29 March 2020 01:44 (one month ago) link


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