The Madonna Effect

AKA-The mold effect, AKA-It will grow on you.

As a young man, I always knew what I liked and disliked. I had specified and rock-solid preferences. You couldn’t convince me otherwise. If it wasn’t in my wheel house of cool, then it didn’t get the time of day. But then a young female singer changed all that for me. Madonna’s new album MDNA is coming out on the 26th of March and I will probably buy it, and I won’t like it, and then I will. Let me explain, I call it the Madonna effect, because growing up every Madonna album that came out I would buy or get a copy from someone, and the first few times I listened to it, I wouldn’t like it. But then something magical would happen. Melodies would get catchier, harmonies would sound fuller and I would be singing these songs at work, around the house, and tapping my foot in spite of myself. It had worked its way into my psyche. It had grown on me. I realized that you had to experience something a few times before it became apparent to you what you liked about it. So I would always by a Madonna album with an open mind knowing it was like a bottle of fine wine, that with age and patience, I would come to love it.

The sad thing is that the album experience isn’t as good as it used to be. Sure iTunes has come out with the digital album experience, complete with album art, videos, themed interface and even photos. But it isn’t the same as sitting in your buddies living room with the record player on, and passing the record sleeve back and forth, talking about the band, the rumours, and what it would be like to be a rock star. Some of my greatest album experiences have been bands that I’d never heard of, and that someone recommended, or albums I found by accident. Like I have said before, you never know what could come around the corner and inspire you.

I have even had this experience with people in my life, I have met friends that I didn’t necessarily have much in common with at the beginning of our relationship, but as we got to know each other better, we became great friends. I find as I get older it is harder to meet new people and make new friends. I’m not an old curmudgeon or anything, I just find when you are young, you go out more and tend to travel in packs. As a twenty-something you go to a bar, and part of your pack knows part of someone else’s pack. You then meet new people and do the dude meet and greet. “Hey what’s up?” you say trying to sound tough and not too gay at the same time. “What’s up?” the other guy answers trying to use the same tone, neither answers and you’re not supposed to. It’s like two dogs circling each other, sizing each other up. You shoot the shit about how you know who, and who is where, and what you do, and if he likes the cut of your jib, and you his, you have a new friend. But no numbers are exchanged you just meet at the next gathering or your friend tells her friend where you are going and everyone goes together. I am surprised I ever met new people at all, It feels complicated just writing it.

As a kid I didn’t really enjoy cottage cheese, now I don’t know what I would do without it, same with grapefruit, The Beatles, beer, oysters, barbershop quartets, Toyotas, my good friend Claudio, reality TV, writing…I could be here all day. Suffice it to say, tastes can change, so can social scenes. So whether it is an album or a new friend, don’t judge to quickly. Leave your options open, let stuff grow on you, like a fine wine or a nasty infection. Either way you will be getting something you didn’t expect.

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