A couple weeks ago, I saw pop culture writer Rob Sheffield speak at NYU. One of the topics he discussed was the absurd pace of music criticism these days. We’re all in such a rush to post our opinion that we don’t get a chance to truly soak in the record first. I’m guilty of this too. While I may not be writing for Rolling Stone, I often judge an album after one or two listens, and if I’m disappointed, I’ll dismiss it and move on to something else. Rob decided to shake this trend by writing his review of the new My Bloody Valentine after listening to it 100 times. And I decided to give his method a try.
As anyone who reads this blog already knows, I absolutely adore The Airborne Toxic Event. But for some reason, their albums always take a while to click with me. Eventually I come to love the songs so much that I can’t understand what took me so long to appreciate them. But there’s always that initial listen where I feel mildly disappointed.
So when their new album, Such Hot Blood, came out two weeks ago, I expected to be a little wary at first. And that’s exactly what happened. I liked it—but I wasn’t wild about it. Not yet. But I was inspired by Rob’s talk, and I was determined to love this album, damn it. So all week, I’ve had it on repeat, waiting for the magical instant when everything becomes clear. And it’s finally starting to pay off. Yesterday at work, I found myself pausing to enjoy “This Is London.” On the train, I started craving yet another listen to “Bride & Groom.” And today I’m listening to the whole album on repeat because I actually want to. This album and I are still getting acquainted, but I think things just got a whole lot friendlier.
Here’s to slowing down and enjoying the music.