The Herd – “Hated… Until You Loved”
On a weekly to bi-weekly basis (depending on our motivation) Dead Horse March will be giving its contributors a music related prompt to answer. They will cover a variety of topics and will hopefully act as a window into our minds, hearts, and souls, showing what we like and the path that led us there.
This weeks (or month with the current pace I’m getting these out) prompt is: “What’s a song, album or band you disliked at first only to love at a later date?”
LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver (album). I know, I know. It’s ridiculous to write those words now, but the first time I heard “North American Scum” shortly after the album dropped in ’07, I thought my ears were going to bleed. I went to drink with my buddy and his girlfriend, with whom I’d always shared musical taste. They were so fired up on this album they wouldn’t even greet me; they just ushered me into the apartment, sat me down, and blasted it. They were SO stoked on this song, but I was probably a little late to the post-punk show (I wasn’t even at the punk show to begin with, so go figure), so when James Murphy started wailing “aahhh—aaayyyyyyy!!!!!”, I wanted to unplug the speakers. I may have asked them to turn it down or to move to the next track. What a dummy. It took a long drive to Crystal Mountain for me to hear the “Yeah (Pretentious Mix)” and realize how transformatively kick-ass LCD was. That album fundamentally changed my relationship with music, and I loathed it the first time I heard it. Hopefully my tastes have become more refined…
In high school I had a friend who insisted he found the best new music that I “Had to listen too!” I trusted his musical tastes, so I got into his car where he had the CD as he turned it up and let it blast. What came from the speakers sounded like a terrible mix of random noise and vocals resembling the sound that comes from scratching nails down a chalkboard. Ends up I was hearing the musical stylings of Animal Collective and I disliked them to the degree that everyone else seemed to love them. My hatred of them continued throughout the majority of college and every time I read an article or heard someone speak highly of them it only made me dislike them more.
It wasn’t until I was looking up crazy music videos for a Power Hour I was making that I came across “Peacebone” from Animal Collectives 2007’s album Strawberry Jam. I don’t know if it was the weird ass music video that accompanied “Peacebone” or if my musical tastes had changed over the years but whatever the reason was, I definitely liked what I was hearing. I still don’t like some of their work, but Strawberry Jam and Sung Tongs are both albums that I love. If 17 year old Alex knew about this he would not be happy, but that kid was kind of an idiot.
I didn’t get it. The level of melodrama felt forced & inauthentic, which, in turn made the entire auditory experience feel as boring as a faked orgasm. Then, against my will, I had the pleasure of seeing M83 play the sun down on a side stage at Sasquatch. Funny how the right lighting cue (nice work, nature) can enhance the epic-ness of a moment. I’ve come to the conclusion that 73.2% of that which attaches us to a particular song, album or artist has little to do with the quality of the music. Whether it’s our fondness for the person who recommended it, the time in our lives we think of as we listen, or the memory of where we were when we did “get it,” experience really is everything.
When I excitedly got my hands on Bon Iver’s latest album Bon Iver I had admittedly sky high expectations. Being a pretty big Bon Iver fan, I pretty much counted down the days until Bon Iver got released. What I found when I first listened to it though, was a lot of disappointment. How dare Justin Vernon show us that he has another voice other than the high falsetto we’ve all come to know and love? And what are all those saxophones doing mucking up everything? I was bummed. It wasn’t what I had expected. I had to go listen to “Skinny Love” to clear my head. I didn’t listen to the album again for about a month, until one day I thought, you know I should try this again. And thus began the process of Bon Iver’s Bon Iver slowly sneaking into my soul. The quiet beauty of the album is breathtaking. The densely layered choirs, the widespread usage of delay peddles, the mix of acoustic strings with blown out electric guitars, the quivering saxophones, and big, juicy choruses- I could go on. This album is beautiful in a stark, gray sort of way. Listening to is like that moment when you first wake up in your warm bed and there’s rain pattering down on the roof. Delicious.
What are some songs, albums or artists that you initially disliked only to grow to love?