About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Popular Columns

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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Do you know what the difference is between a hater and a fan? It’s one word. A hater asks "how can you like that artist," while a fan asks "how can you not like that artist?"

When I first heard Millionaires back in 2009 I didn’t like them. I wouldn’t ever classify myself as a “hater,” but I certainly wasn’t a fan. As they continued to tour, however, they created both a fan base, and a group of haters, that were equally rabid. Seeing an act generate that kind of visceral reaction fascinates me to no end, so when the opportunity to interview them for Substream came, I was all in (*blatant plug* that issue will be on newsstands late summer). Part of my preparation for the interview involved listening to the group’s latest mixtape, which had just recently been released. Something funny happened midway through that mixtape - I noticed they’d grown as artists, and I became a fan. For me this was a lot bigger than simply liking an artist. It served as an example, and a reminder, of something far greater that music fans should do more often - give artists second chances, and accept that they can grow.

Not liking one song, one performance, or even one album shouldn't result in an eternal condemnation of an artist, yet, for many listeners that’s their exact reaction. Listeners, for the most part, act like major labels, dismissing an act if their first song offends their senses. Nobody who disliked Soulja Boy’s first single was going to give his second one a chance, or his second album a spin. In fact, if he were to write the greatest political anthem of all-time tomorrow, people would ignore it and spin a Kanye West song about nothing instead.

Some of you may be thinking “Adam, there are a bazillion artists out there, why waste time keeping up with ones we don’t like?” First of all, I'm by no means saying you should be checking out every artist you’ve ever disliked. What I’m saying is, if there’s an artist you didn’t like, and they keep coming up in conversation, don’t dismiss them because of something they recorded four years ago. It only takes a couple minutes to give them a second chance. Lots of artists grow. Besides, you’re already listening to music you don’t like, you’re just doing it under the guise of listening to your favorite artist, who just happened to have three straight crappy releases that you bought, and then realized weren’t nearly as good as their earlier albums.

While we still support the artists we've historically liked when they release sub-par work, we're hesitant to even give a listen to someone we disliked in the past, even if it's been years since we heard them and they have people talking. By acting in this way we routinely give ourselves the opportunity to be disappointed, but rarely give ourselves the opportunity be impressed. That’s the perfect recipe for missing out on great music.

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:30 AM  
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