Albums! Remember those?
Some of the chat in the "guess the band" got my thinking of this question - What's the one album that you listened to that at first left you feeling decidedly one way, before making you dramatically reconsider your initial thoughts and opinions?
We've all had it happen to us: you give something a chance based on reviews, other's opinions or the reputation of the record, or maybe you've just wanted to hear something that's widely reviled - and you're left thinking... "yeah?"
But, then, something changes...
It's generally an experience that means a bit more if you grow to love something, rather than the opposite: just growing bored or out of something that you initially thought was pretty good, because, quite frankly, that's frequent enough IMO - For instance, I thought I liked Deafheaven's new record; now I think it's bang average. I prefer a happy ending to these tales.
Personally I find that some records I can't get my head around at first, but then I grow to slowly appreciate are the ones that eventually end up occupying a special place in my heart. You know the ones.
Number One for me has to be Pink Flag by Wire
I was working my way through the "classics" at the time. Getting acquainted with the canon I suppose. This was one of those albums that frequently popped on lists of the best punk/best 70's rock/best this, that and the other. So I did the decent thing and bought the CD - those were the days! - and gave it a good few spins in my ever faithful discman.
And I was left confused. How did this thing have such a reputation? While it never actually topped any lists I'd come across, it was definitely a fixture in enough of them to suggest that some people somewhere did rate it somehow. I couldn't understand that, even after about ten listens.
There seemed to be nothing to it really; a seemingly endless amount of songs that were all pretty short and had the same laughably basic sound to them. Okay, maybe some were a bit longer or a bit faster, but it was pretty hard to distinguish one from the other; did those afficiandos of this album actually have no functional ears to speak of?
But, back then - at least for me anyway - if you blew twenty quid on an album you'd try to wring every last drop out it before you said, no, not for me thanks. For sure, I was approaching that point, but I was giving it another spin to be certain and as I was listening to one of the seemingly interchangeable songs, which I now know to be "Ex-Lion Tamer", it dawned on me that the song had a decent enough hook in its chorus - "Stay glued to your TV set!" - and there was definitely something in the way the guitars played off against each other in the songs outro...This song might actually be pretty good y'know.
I was at the races after that. From then on the more I listened, the better the album got. There was something in every tune, no matter how short or basic it seemed. And, fck me, even if the general musical approach or instrumentation never fundamentally changed, there was clearly huge differences from one song to another once I began to notice them - some were dark and threatening, others were joyous, others full of attitude and there was a few that were basically flawless pop songs drenched in guitar. Eventually it was the only album I listened to for about a month straight and I did not care one bit. Every song was a killer and some were absolute genius. The album never stopped giving. I was converted into a zealot about the band for a while and would get borderline evangelical about their singular genius to anyone who would listen - and a lot who wouldn't.
To this day I don't know how they pulled it off. It's an incredibly minimal album in many ways but there's such depth to it at the same time. It feels cold and distant, but also very human. It's a special record, and to think I couldn't stand it at first.
So what's your story?