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I have this quirk. I tend to hate things that I wind up falling in love with.

It happens a lot with new apps. I think an idea is stupid and write it off, then it comes back around to woo me. Twitter is one example. I signed up in 2008, but didn't start using it until 2010. Now it's the first app I go to on my phone.

It's happened even more often with music.

Back around 2000, a good friend wanted me to download & burn him a copy of this new British band he had just heard of. For some reason, I instantly couldn't stand them. Something about their sound irked me, like they were just sampling The Bends era Radiohead.

A few years later, I heard "In My Place" on a TV show and had to know what band it was. Well, it was obviously Coldplay. I had missed the boat, they were pretty good. After that, I couldn't get enough. And then I had to get caught up on Parachutes, which everyone was sick of back in 2000.

And then there was Springsteen. I didn't have any friends into The Boss, I just hated him on mostly political grounds. I was a fairly heavy conservative back around 2004 and he was prominent in the Democratic opposition to The Iraq War and George W. Bush. Something about his political activism struck me the wrong way, so I wrote him and his American-blue-collar-rock off.

Fast forward to the spring of 2008. I had just started course-correcting myself back to being a moderate. I was beginning to think towards voting for Barack Obama. But it wasn't anything political that turned me on to The Boss, it was purely a chance musical encounter: I was at a Margaritaville in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The cheesiest place you can be, really. I overheard a live version of "Waiting On A Sunny Day" on the restaurant radio. The cheesiest Boss song you could play (though you could debate that award goes to "Cadillac Ranch" just as easily).

Something about it hooked me. His live show energy. The huge E-Street sound. Something. I went back to our vacation condo and downloaded every Springsteen album I could. From that moment, I was a Boss fan. He's become one of my all-time favorite artists. I've seen him live twice and hope to again many times.

Now, if those were the only two examples of this phenomena, I wouldn't think much of it. But I could recite similar stories of heavy distaste for many of my favorite bands/artists now: mewithoutYou, Beirut, Broken Social Scene, The National, and on and on. With varying levels of initial distaste.

It's the strangest thing to me. Maybe I am just too skeptical. Maybe it just takes a second and a third try to sway me around. And honestly, I can't tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe it just takes that much more to convince me that something's worth more than one listen.

So if you want to know if you have a really great idea or a hot new sound, let me take a gander. If I don't like it, you probably have something worthy on your hands there. In the meantime, I'll just take stock of the things I hate right now and prepare myself for a few years down the road when they'll be the only thing I talk about.

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Ryan Straits


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Sinner/Saint

"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future." - Oscar Wilde

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