Why does it take two or three listens to new music before you decide if you like it or not?
You know what I mean. The first time you hear a song on the radio or Pandora or on an album, you’re not sure if it’s any good. I know I can’t be the only person this happens to.
Take, for example, Light, the latest album from Matisyahu. We bought this album in the car on a recent trip to Philly, but on the first listen, I really wasn’t sure if I would like it (tangent: it is so addictive buying crap on your phone in the middle of nowhere. Apple has to love this).
One Day, the first single off the album, was the song I knew and enjoyed. The rest of the album, at first listen, sounded like a pretty big departure from his last album.
But I somehow knew that it would take more than one listening to really evaluate it. And even though my initial reaction was a bit of surprise (considering how much I liked his last album, Youth), I listened to it more.
And I ended up really liking it.
But in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, he argues that “our initial, intuitive response to a person, object, or event — the one that transpires in the first few milliseconds of our exposure to it — is often the one that proves to be correct.”
While Blink is probably Gladwell’s weakest book, he’s basically arguing that we have a gut instinct, and most of the time, it’s right. I think we can all agree with that.
But there’s something different about music. When it’s good, we know right away. When it’s not obviously good, you need to listen to it again to figure out how you feel.
Maybe it’s because music has a way of growing on you. But I’m not sure 100%.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.