May 11, 2010

The First Listen

So what's with the first listen? You know, the first time you spin a brand new disc (or hit play on the iTunes or however you get your music). It's never what it's cracked up to be...but then, all of a sudden, you realize your stupidity and small-mindedness as the first listen becomes the second and the third.

For me, new music is an occasion. I try not to buy new music too often, the stuff can get expensive, but I have my kicks and it's hard not to indulge. I usually head to a place like Best Buy and immediately rip the case out of it's plastic prison once I get in the car so I can roll down the windows and enjoy a nice, slow ride home to rock some new tunage that I so crave.

But, it never fails. That first listen is never what I expect. Beside the one radio single I might recognize, the rest usually does nothing for me and I'm left wanting something more when the speakers have spit out the last notes.

Then comes the second listen. Whether it's right there in the car the same day, the next day, in my apartment, or in my headphones, something just clicks. The bland, unrecognizable songs morph into something totally different. The hooks pop out at me and the melodies sing their sweet sounds. The new disc becomes a totally new disc. Almost every time.

Maybe it's my expectations. Or maybe that first listen I always just zone out and don't get a hold of the big picture of what the whole album is about. In a way, it's insanely frustrating always having that initial let down. Even new albums from my favorite bands like Our Lady Peace and Three Days Grace do this to me even though I know they never disappoint and keep me listening year after year, album after album. Does this happen to anyone else, or am I just crazy?

Anyway, I think it's about time I just accept the inevitable truth that every cd that I buy is going to suck the first time around, but I should find comfort knowing that the second listen is most likely going to end up blowing my mind.

Thank you to Thousand Foot Krutch and their new album Welcome To The Masquerade for inspiring this post.  I have listened at least 4 times and I definitely enjoy...now.
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