When it comes to the music I
obsess over love, sometimes it takes a little time for the switch to flip from Hey, I like this to OBSESSIVE FLAILING. Sometimes it’s almost instant (Andy Grammer, Ryan Star, Ingram Hill, Darren Criss) and after a handful of listens, the fixation is in overdrive. Sometimes it takes longer (Train, 3 Doors Down, O.A.R., Sister Hazel, Matt Nathanson, Better Than Ezra) to hit that critical point. Music can be on my radar for several years before suddenly it’s constantly at the forefront in heavy rotation.
I don’t know what it is that flips that switch, but it’s usually a little jarring when it happens. A lot of the time I don’t even realize it’s happening until something like weekly Last.fm stats show up and I see I’ve listened to one artist six-hundred-some-odd-plays in seven days.
When I discovered Ingram Hill, it was pre-last.fm and pre-iTunes. (In my world at least.) I listened to their June’s Picture Show album almost exclusively for six months straight—at work on repeat, in the car at top volume, at home constantly. If I’d had Last.fm to track all of that, they would surpass every other artist on the list in play count by thousands. As it stands, they’re number two on the list behind (surprise, surprise) Andy Grammer.
Most recently that obsessive switch flipped on O.A.R.
They’d been on the radar for years. I love their All Sides album and I listened to King a lot when it first came out. I was really excited when The Rockville LP dropped at the beginning of summer. I listened to it a few times when it first came out, but about a month later, the switch flipped and it was pretty much all I was listening to. That band was all I was listening to for three straight weeks, derailed only by the new AG album. And even then, they were still high volume.
I’ve been piecing in their old albums into my collection little by little. It’s interesting, if their first album had been my introduction to the band, I probably wouldn’t have paid them any attention. Especially if it had been when it first came out. In 1998 my obsessions were heavy on the boy bands and not so much on the boys-in-bands. Alternative rock with a reggae beat wasn’t my thing. And as an album released independently by a group of college kids, The Wanderer was a little rough around the edges. Marc Roberge sounds a little bit like he’s been sucking helium—he was an eighteen-year-old kid—it’s actually kind of adorable.
If it was the first thing I heard, I probably would have shrugged it off. But filling in the gaps of the old versus the new, it’s fun to hear how much they’ve grown and honed their craft as a band. I can appreciate the rough-around-the-edges early stuff.
I’ve found this to be true of a lot of music I love. Coming in, in the middle of their library, I really like what I hear, but going back to their beginnings, I might not have been as into it if that had been my introduction. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’d be lying if I claimed otherwise.
And it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t get there eventually, it would just take longer for that switch to flip.
And then I’ll sit through a seventeen minute live version of an already nine minute song.
(That Was A Crazy Game of Poker [live] by O.A.R.)
And I am unsettlingly curious about exactly how tall Marc Roberge really is. Because if pictures of him standing with other celebrities are any indication, he looks like he could be as short as Bob, and crikey if that doesn’t just up the freaking adorable factor even more. (I don’t think he’s really quite that short but still…adorable.)
I actually had a dream about running into him in a store and the first thing out of my mouth was, “You are WAY shorter than I expected.” I think I might have also called him tiny and adorable, and somehow, that made him want to be my friend.