Misconception= Missed Opportunities

As is probably the case with most music folk out there, I have been taking a listen to The National's New album, High Violet, which Matt wrote about earlier in the blog. I've enjoyed it, and have been taking in their discography as well to absorb and compare their music chronology. It's too early for me to say that Violet is one of the best of the year( in my mind), but I really have enjoyed it and am willing to bet a large number of publications will have it in their best-of- the-year, and with a surprising amount of promotion I would be shocked if this album didn't end up being their best selling to date.

What's been frustrating for me regarding The National is the realization that while I've heard of them for at least three years, I never listened to them because of what I thought was their style of music: I was under the immediate and mistaken impression that they were one of the neo-punk/screamo (I'll have to add that to my labeling list, along with "post-screamo" and "post new screamcore") metal groups from the early 2000s- bands like (at least by my definition) Fall Out Boy, Brand New, New Found Glory, The Starting Line, My Chemical Romance, etc.

This was a type of scene that I was not into, so any band in that genre I generally tuned out. My assumption is that because a few of these bands started off with a "N" I assumed- WITHOUT EVER LISTENING TO THEM- that The National were in this movement, so despite any article that clearly stated the kind of music they played, I would skip over it. I don't feel that I necessarily missed out on something that may have redefined myself or my musical tastes, but by doing the very thing musical purists hate- discounting someone based on assumption without ever giving them a chance- I missed out on perhaps building a musical relationship with a solid group. Now I have to play catch-up, and often it's hard to ever get that connection when you're late to the show (not always, but sometimes the moment can pass). I'm also guilty of this in relation to major pop acts, but after hearing Kate Nash's new album, I vow to be more open to the more obviously well-known artists as well: Sometimes there's a reason an artist is known by everyone.

What also irritates me is that this is something I've done in the past, and fear it may eventually lead me to miss out on the next big band in my life, like what happened to me in the fall of 1992. It was sophomore year, and I was riding on the bus next to Alex Smith, who would always share earbuds with me and we would listen to music on the way to school (we had been listening to REM's Green and Van Morrison's Moondance) and he slips in Smashing Pumpkin's Gish. I liked it, but since it was too new and hard and dangerous, I didn't purchase it myself. Then, five years later as I'm studying in the library listening to Siamese Dream, I realize that I screwed myself out of five years of awesomeness and feeling really cool about myself.

And damned if I don't keep heading down that same road again.

What artists have you missed out on due to your assumptions?



Poindexter said...

You pose a great question with...
"What artists have you missed out on due to your assumptions?" I can't really think of any artists or bands at the moment but I can put this in a genre question. I really don't give a lot of new punk much of a chance. But after seeing Rise Against at Uptown Theater (back in June of '09), I realized the genre or the dream is still alive. While I'm not a huge fan of this band, I still appreciate what they're getting at which is political/anti-authority hardcore punk infused with metal. Speaking of a genre that's far from dead but I left bleeding on the corner of Junior & High School Street is METAL. Recently attending the Volcom Tour (Mastodon, Between The Buried and Me, Baroness, & Valient Thorr at Liberty Hall), my first love/obsession for music was completely re-juvinated. Your music is out there. You just gotta go looking for it.

Matt said...

I skipped over listening to Explosions In The Sky because I thought the name was really pretentious and dumb. This was also after someone recommend their album The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place to me...that album name didn't help on the pretentiousness factor. I finally gave it a chance a year or two later and now it's one of my top 10 favorite albums from the last decade.