Author Topic: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?  (Read 2596 times)

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Onyx_TKD

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Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« on: February 12, 2013, 11:41:13 PM »
Background:
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.

doodlemor

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2013, 11:53:52 PM »
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.

girlysprite

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2013, 01:06:51 AM »
"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.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2013, 01:47:46 AM »
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?

cicero

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2013, 04:20:30 AM »
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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yokozbornak

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2013, 09:18:43 AM »
"Listening to your album was so interesting.  I don't know much about that genre, but I could tell that it was good.  Why don't you tell me more about it?"

This opens up conversation, stays positive, and shows your interest. 

DaDancingPsych

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2013, 09:27:29 AM »
I think it's wise to admit that this is not the sort of music you usually listen to. This will help avoid future awkward situations. Then I agree that I would find SOMETHING that I liked about it. There must be something. "It has a great beat to dance to!" "It was so soothing and relaxing!" "That saxophone player was awesome." "Your song titles made me laugh; how creative!" I also agree that we don't have to love all music, but there is typically something to appreciate, even if it's no more than, "I can tell you put a ton of work into this!"

Oh Joy

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 09:31:16 AM »
I'm a fan of asking artists about their early influences.  You never know who was initially a Beatles fan or first lit up at van Gogh's watercolors, and you may have a common or pop culture thread.  Chances are, they care more about talking about their passion in general than their current work.

Tabby Uprising

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 09:47:09 AM »
I'm a fan of asking artists about their early influences.  You never know who was initially a Beatles fan or first lit up at van Gogh's watercolors, and you may have a common or pop culture thread.  Chances are, they care more about talking about their passion in general than their current work.

I like this.  The more you can get him talking about his music, the less you have to say. 

Cami

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2013, 11:16:53 AM »
I have a friend who makes jewelry. I do NOT like her style. Not one bit. But I can always find one thing to compliment -- the color, the shape, the way she twisted a piece of metal, etc.

mstigerlily

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2013, 11:47:42 AM »
"Listening to your album was so interesting.  I don't know much about that genre, but I could tell that it was good.  Why don't you tell me more about it?"

This opens up conversation, stays positive, and shows your interest.

^ this is great. Also, if you can say something along the lines of "That guitar playing was amazing" or "it must have taken you a long time to learn how to play like that" it gives you a compliment without actually saying you liked the music.

bopper

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2013, 03:02:18 PM »
If he brings it up, you could ask "Who were your musical influences?"

Gets him talkign and not you.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2013, 03:14:08 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions so far, especially the ideas on ways to get him talking about it or moving the conversation forward to more general discussion of music instead of the specific album. I'm definitely not planning to fake familiarity with the genre; I just didn't want it to become obvious that I really hadn't enjoyed the music. I was a little worried that I'd find that one thing to compliment...and then flounder, making it obvious that there wasn't anything else about it that I liked.

Good news, though: I got the chance to go back and listen to some more of the album--and it's growing on me.  :) The songs towards the end of the album are much more to my taste than the ones near the beginning that I listened to last time. And even the earlier ones were more pleasant once I'd gotten more used to the group's sound.

Marbles

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2013, 05:57:57 PM »
Also, there's always commending his effort.
"Putting out an album must be a lot of work! How long did it take?"

joraemi

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Re: Like the artist, don't like his art--what to say?
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2013, 12:04:50 AM »
I do some artwork and some design work and know others who do too. At least among the people I know, it is generally accepted that not everyone will like your work and that's ok- it doesn't speak to your ability to do what you do, it's just personal preference.

 I think complete honesty is the way to go ( I know it's what I prefer!)...

"I listened to your album the other day- it's not my style of music at all, but I can tell from all the positive feedback it's getting that you are really talented. I'll be sure to mention it if I meet someone who is into that kind of music.".




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