A while back, my friend Stanklin suggested we come up with a term to describe the those artists that take a while to grow on you. The most flagrant example in our own lives needed no mention â€” Crowded House, of course.
I bought Woodface at a used CD store with Stanklin back in high school. I was blown away by the Beatlesque “It’s Only Natural” (which we’d heard on the then-independent KGSR) and thought it might be worth the $6. An old guy was scouring the bin next to me and couldn’t contain himself. “That’s a great record!”
“Oh… cool, thanks…”
“I don’t know why anyone would return it! I just wish I could go back to when I first discovered it!”
“Wow, well, great, I’m looking forward to it… Um…”
So we took the disk home, pleased at the find and the story about the old man, but also concerned at his zeal. One listen to the record’s disjointed and cheeky opener, â€œChocolate Cake,â€ (â€œTammy Baker’s got a lot on her plateâ€… you get the idea) and we knew this wasn’t going to go well. By the time I got to the syrupy “All I Ask,” I just wrote it off.
Some year or so later, for some unknown reason, I put the disk back in. I skipped track one. And then the record came to life. This time, I heard the brilliant bridge (â€œthe finger of blame has turned upon itself”) in “Fall at Your Feet” (hear it yourself, by the way, over on the band’s website). The plaintive “Four Season in One Day” (most tasteful cursing in a song) seemed poignant and poetic. And I couldn’t get the songs out of my head.
It wasn’t long before Stanklin was on board, too. By the time the follow-up was released, we were hungry converts, pestering people in used CD stores, and praising a wise old man who had once tried to show us the light…