Popdose Roundtable: Artists We Had To Warm Up To

Everyone has a band that just didn’t do it for them until they got to a specific song that won them over. Popdose’s very own Chris Holmes considered this idea back around Valentine’s Day, posting a Friday Mixtape extolling the virtues of bands he wound up loving after much ambivalence and courtship. He has been gracious enough to repost the mixtape this week and, in honor of it, the Staff has revisited the topic.

Dw Dunphy – Although I’m not a fan of the latest Radiohead album, I was neither a fan of Pablo Honey at that time. It wasn’t until “High and Dry” from The Bends caused me to re-evaluate.

Jeff Giles – Coldplay, with “Clocks.”

Ha ha ha! Just kidding. I wanted to see that vein on Rob’s forehead pop out.

Rob Smith – Very funny, Jeff.  That’s really … Ow! My head! (Ed. Note: Rob Smith hates Coldplay. Remember that when you’re submitting suggestions to the Rob Smith Can’t Say No column.)

The first one that comes to mind is Phish’s “Character Zero” and Trey Anastasio’s “Alive Again,” which both hooked me for reasons I cannot adequately explain and which enticed me to fall, hard, for a band I’d had zero interest in beforehand. A good friend of mine tried to get me into them in college, with poorly recorded live tapes and a worn copy of Junta, but they didn’t do the trick.  But give me songs that repeat ad nausem, respectively, “I ought to see the man Mulcahy,” and “Summer’s comin’ and I’d like a review,” and off I went.

And off I still am.  There are entire weeks when I listen to nothing else but the live shows I own.  Go figure.

David Medsker – I have several, but here are the three that spring to mind.

Ween, “Even If You Don’t,” from White Pepper

Flaming Lips, “Race for the Prize,” from The Soft Bulletin

Panic at the Disco, “Nine in the Afternoon,” from Pretty. Odd.

Will Harris – I’ll absolutely second David’s nomination of Ween’s “Even If You Don’t.” I won’t say that I’m truly a fan of the band’s work, but that song and the album surrounding it – White Pepper – sold me on regularly checking into their output just as “Push th’ Little Daisies” (from Pure Guava) made me want to stay far, far away…which, come to think of it, says just about everything you need to know about the general effect Ween’s music has on listeners.

For me, though, I’ve got to go with Tom Waits. Everyone always says that he’s a genius, but I didn’t even know who he was until right around the time Frank’s Wild Years came out, an album which I think even diehard Waits fans would agree is not what you’d call the best starting point for most newbies. Indeed, it frightened me away from his music for more than 20 years, but as a music critic, I always felt guilty about that and kept telling myself that I’d probably appreciate him more if I started from the very beginning…and, eventually, I confirmed that I was right about that. Once I heard “Martha,” from Waits’ debut album, 1973’s Closing Time, I finally got what people had been telling me all along. I’m still not quite up to testifying on behalf of Frank’s Wild Years, though. But I feel like I’m getting there.

Dave Lifton – “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash. Growing up, I had dismissed all of country music with the usual stereotypes. Even after I learned that Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello were fans, I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. To me, he was an anachronism that you’d see on the Jerry Lewis Telethon or “The Tonight Show.” But in about 1992 or 1993 I was working shipping/receiving in a retail store that played the local oldies station, and “I Walk the Line” would occasionally come on. Between the way the song keeps changing key and that incredible voice cut through the tedium of the day, I realized I had been wrong about him. Not too long after that the American Recordings album came out, and blew my mind.

Dan Wiencek – I never liked the Beach Boys growing up. They just seemed a bunch of perky, white bread guys who sang about a lifestyle I suspected even then they didn’t actually live. (I was not surprised when I found out Brian Wilson hated surfing.) Then one day I heard “God Only Knows.” I had heard it before, of course, but on this occasion I really heard it: the glorious introduction, the melody that seems to ascend higher and higher, the wise-beyond-its-years lyric. Sometime after that I splurged for The Pet Sounds Sessions box, and I was officially hooked.

 

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  • KingP

    As for myself, the Ween factor kicked in whilst looking for new tunes to spin during a particularly grueling multi-media/animation/video whatsit project some time ago.  Multiple listens to “Pure Guava,” “Chocolate and Cheese” and “The Mollusk” warped me for good.

    That said, “Daisies” wasn’t really an accurate representation of those guys even from “Pure Guava.”  They always seemed to have an aptitude for hooks n’ riffs, just more unironically so on “White Pepper” and “Quebec.”  

    Of course, if a dedicated Zappa fan happens to ask exactly what new elements Ween would add to the psycho-novelty-acid-pop-comedy landscape, I got nothin’. 

  • JT

    Coldplay- Trouble
    Pj Harvey- You said Something
    SoundGarden- Black Hole Sun

  • http://sonicweapons.net Thierry

    U2 – it was one of the Achtung Baby singles (“Mysterious Ways”, maybe?). I’d always found them pretentious and preachy, and couldn’t stand the band’s fifth member, Bono’s mullet. Then, something clicked with me during their Berlin period, and those three albums (Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop) remain – along with The Joshua Tree – my favourite U2 records to this day, and some of my favourite records of the 1990s.

  • Old_Davy

    I never really liked the Police much until I heard “Synchronicity II”.  And that wasn’t until after they had broken up!  It didn’t take long for me to warm up to them once the ice was broken.

  • Jonathan

    The first time I listened to Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyland,” I thought I’d just committed a terrible waste of money.  She couldn’t even sing on key!  But for some reason I kept listening to it, and after 10 or 15 listens I got over her pitch and slowly clued into her earthy, melodic brilliance.

    That only took two weeks.  I think I had Roxy Music’s “Avalon” in my record collection at least a decade before I started listening to it with any frequency.  Now I think they’re the best band of the entire 1970s.

  • Jonathan

    The first time I listened to Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyland,” I thought I’d just committed a terrible waste of money.  She couldn’t even sing on key!  But for some reason I kept listening to it, and after 10 or 15 listens I got over her pitch and slowly clued into her earthy, melodic brilliance.

    That only took two weeks.  I think I had Roxy Music’s “Avalon” in my record collection at least a decade before I started listening to it with any frequency.  Now I think they’re the best band of the entire 1970s.

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