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Where Have I Been All Your Life?

January 27, 2012

In the course of writing my analysis of my own listening habits, it tangentially occurred to me that I became a fan of several artists very late into their careers.

stack of CDsTake Elbow, for example. They are currently one of my favorite bands. I’ve seen them live and will sing their praises to anyone who will listen. Their 2010 album, Build a Rocket Boys, is their 4th 5th major release but I only became a fan via their 3rd 4th album, The Seldom Seen Kid. They had 2 3 other albums, both all excellent, that I never gave any credence until recently. It’s not as though Elbow radically changed their style between albums to something that I find more appealing. I like the earlier material, but it sailed perfectly under my radar until I was finally exposed to the band by fellow Tweedster Lloyd.

Another example is Super Furry Animals. (Another reco by my dear friend Lloyd.) The album that finally got my attention, Rings Around the World, was their 5th. They had half a decade of material before that album came out in 2001, including an album entirely in the Welsh language! Granted, I’ve been marginally disappointed by their output of late, but I absolutely love Rings and am always willing to give a new Super Furry Animals release a fair listen.

I have other examples from my own experience, but I’ll not belabor them here. You get the point. It’s important to remember that Elbow, and bands like them, are not Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin; bands whose primary output was decades ago and the only way to consider yourself a fan is to parse the back catalog. And they are not The Flaming Lips or Deftones; bands who really did significantly alter their musical style, or even managed to jump genres, and thus reached a wider audience. (Honestly, in my opinion, most Flaming Lips before The Soft Bulletin and Deftones before White Pony is not worthwhile.)

Am I the only one who finds this interesting? Is this bizarre phenomenon due to my personal taste, or is it just a matter of timing?

What say you, dear reader? Can you think of any artists who were well into their careers before you became a fan? And now, as a fan, have you checked out their earlier material and enjoyed it? Have you given any thought to how this artist managed to get by you for so long?

  1. Esquirette permalink
    January 27, 2012 10:47 pm

    Elbow actually has 5 albums (Asleep in the Back, Cast of Thousands, and Leaders of the Free World were all released before Seldom Seen Kid). I know what you mean, though. I didn’t discover them until SSK was old news, and now I feel like I’ve been listening to them all my adult life. Their music has definitely matured over the years as they have, but it hasn’t changed drastically, and their earlier work is really great.

    • Paul the Geek permalink*
      January 27, 2012 10:54 pm

      I stand corrected.


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