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Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?

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I've been chatting with a guy who works on my university campus. So far, it's been brief chats during transactions, so we haven't gotten in depth into the getting-to-know-you stuff. However, we've talked about meeting up to hang out and talk more when we both have time. I did know that he's a musician who's been busy working on an album...and therein lies the problem. He just told me today that he'd been finishing up the album, so I asked about it and got the name of his group to look up on itunes. I listened to some of the samples. I really wanted to like it, but I don't. It's a genre I usually don't listen to, and the songwriting and vocals really aren't my style at all. They're probably fine for this genre (the album's few reviews so far are very positive), but very, very different from the music I enjoy. Now I'm wondering what to say about the music next time we talk. His music is obviously important to him and bringing out an album is a huge accomplishment. I want to say something nice about the music, but I don't want to stretch the truth and have it sound false.*

Short background:
A guy I'm getting to know just brought out an album. The music is seriously not my style. I'm going to talk to him soon and I'm not sure what to say.

The question:
So, what do you say to an artist when you just don't like their work? What do you say to acknowledge an artist's accomplishment when you can't properly appreciate the finished product? (The background is my reason for asking at this particular moment, but I'm throwing it out here as a more general question.)

*BTW, I am planning to listen again later to see if it strikes me differently the second time around. The style wasn't what I expected (like I said, I have very little experience with this genre), so it might sound better once I go back without preconceptions of what it "should" sound like. I hope I'll find a song or two I like better or something else good to comment on.

I think that you could paraphrase some of the positive comments from the reviews.  Then you could tell him that you are rather unfamiliar with the genre, and ask him to talk about/explain his music.

Who knows - maybe you will tolerate it more if he is very likeable, or if you become more familiar with the style.

"i could tell that the music was really good!"

If at some point you have to explain that you don't like the genre, try it like this: "say you don't care much for tomato soup (replace with dish he doesn't like). One day, you get to eat five star tomato soup, made by a famous chef. Cream from cows that are massaged each day, tomatoes that grew on special water from a mountain spring - you get the idea. You can probably tell that it's great tomato soup, you might even somewhat like it, but you likely won't love it...because it's still tomato soup.

Perhaps ,ale a disparaging comment about your own tastelessness in music or lack of culture I'm general? Or even a comment about his own performance?

find something you *can* like about it ("i loved the skulls on the cover! >:D ", "the tunes were really lively". and you can certainly say "you know, I usually listen to hip hop and grunge. I've never really gotten into country. Could you show me what you did here and here?"

You don't have to love it - but sometimes, getting to understand an art form, helps us to appreciate it more. I know that when i went through a Jackson Pollock exhibition i felt ... spooked. but when i went thru the same exhibition with a good guide, I got to understand it a bit. I still don't *like* it, but I can understand and appreciate it a bit more.


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