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GMC Forum _ Bands and Guitarists _ Virgin Ears: Listening To Music Without Preconceived Notions

Posted by: Mudbone Sep 5 2010, 02:41 AM

Metallica's"Load" album is a fantastic piece of hard rock music. Yes, thats right, hard rock, not metal. When I first listened to it I was expecting another metal masterpiece from Metallica, but was in fact quite disappointed when I discovered that it wasn't. The reason why I was initially disappointed was because before I even heard it I had preconceived notions of what I thought it should be. Once I dropped my expectations of what the album should be, I really began to appreciate the depth and brilliance of it. I have now been listening to it consistently since its release. Definitely one of my top 5 albums.

If you listen to Load and expect thrashing metal, you won't find much of it. Instead you'll find lush chords, bluesy solos, bombastic riffs and soaring choruses - not really balls to the wall metal. But whats wrong with that? Can't each individual piece of music be appreciated for what it is, and not what we expect it to be?

This posting isn't really about Load, I'm just using it as an example.(in fact I'm afraid this thread is gonna turn into a "which Metallica album is best" thread tongue.gif) No, this posting is about judging each individual piece on its own, regardless of who created it and what we expect it to be.

So, the question is.... Do you listen to music with preconceived notions? Or do you approach each piece with virgin ears?

Posted by: K1R Sep 5 2010, 09:50 AM

You're right. One should not compare the music with what one expects, one should listen to the music itself. Many bands chande their style during the career because they develop.

Posted by: The Uncreator Sep 5 2010, 06:53 PM

I expect nothing as much as one can. But after years and years of listening to music, we all have preconceived notions of what something might or should sound like, its unavoidable. The trick is to learn to not be dissapointed by something that catches you off guard. smile.gif

Also, the more kinds of music you listen to, the better. Less chance of you not liking a certain album or whatever because it tried something new, or adding something from a different genre, etc.

Posted by: OrganisedConfusion Sep 5 2010, 07:31 PM

Metallica Load was the start of their downfall as a band. I listened to Metallica up to that point for thrash metal. Load wasn't thrash metal and as you say it was hard rock. But I like hard rock bands bu it was an average at best hard rock album. I listen to hard rock bands for hard rock and I want Metallica to play thrash but seen as though they haven't released a good album in more than 20 years maybe I'm asking too much.

There are some bands that change and still manage to be great but Metallica certainly aren't a good example of that in my opinion.

Posted by: Fran Sep 5 2010, 07:41 PM

The thing with bands you love and them changing their style is only a problem if you don't like that "new style" I guess. Which sometimes happens sad.gif

Having said that, I really liked Load smile.gif

Posted by: Bogdan Radovic Sep 5 2010, 11:05 PM

I love the feeling of blasting a new album of a favorite band and listening to it from start to finish. Generally we do sometimes have pre-demands on what it should sound like but generally I try to listen it to with fresh ears. Of course after a first listen I will either like it and play it more and more (and like it even better) or just don't and then I won't listen to it much.
Regarding change of style, as long as it fits the bands sound and doesn't change in a big leap/rapidly its ok I guess why not. But overall bands we listen to all have "their sound/style" so that doesn't change too much.

p.s. I liked Load - even later albums as well.

Posted by: Ivan Milenkovic Sep 29 2010, 12:53 AM

I think we all have some preconceived notions when we listen to some piece of music. But I tend to listen to any music without any boundaries. For example, I can listen to almost any style of music, if it is good and quality stuff. When I hear a good song, it doesn't matter for me what "style" is in. Style and success are closely related to originality in music, and if the band has good original song - great. We can call it anyway we want.

Regarding Metallica - they changed throughout career, and their style shifted dramatically from first albums. Just remember the power they had on kill 'em all, or ride the lightning. Later on, songs became mainstream focused and mellow, but still good music. For the band who had hard core trash fans, they certainly lost some of them with change of style, but gained on some other fans. So, who can tell what is good, if we have thousands of people appreciating the same band. Highly subjective thing, no point in comparing audience tastes. There are plenty of bands out there. I like Metallica, one of my all-time favorites, as is for many.

Posted by: Adrian Figallo Sep 29 2010, 01:14 AM

very good post, the same happened to me when i first listened to Green Day's "American Idiot" i was hoping 2.30 mins punk songs talking about masturbation or panic attacks, instead i got a Rock n Roll masterpiece, took a little bit but now it's on my top 10 for sure.

Getting back to metallica, i like all their albums, they're sincere artists.

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