Saturday, February 13, 2010

Take your time

There are two ways to choose when become a fan of something.

First, you can become a fan of something right away, getting in on the ground floor. And sometimes, it's really great, because you can "grow" with the target of your fandom, change in-sync with them, and the influence it/they have over you will last your entire life.

It doesn't always work out that nicely and neatly. You're human, so change can potentially frighten you. And when your idol changes for the worse, you're disappointed. You don't like that change, you complain "it's not like it was before". Eventually, you're not a fan anymore, because they don't stand for what they originally did.

Worse yet, if you remain a fan, accepting the change of your heroes, you could become overpossessive. I knew a guy in college who was (and probably still is, to my knowledge) a big Barenaked Ladies fan. Even before they broke through in America with "One Week". And he was ultra-critical of those more recent fans who only liked BNL because of "One Week". He was kind of a hateful douchebag about it. So angry. You'd think a true fan would be glad when their heroes make it to the top and get more fans. You know, to validate the time and money they've invested in following their pursuits and have someone to share it with.

Or secondly, you can wait before you hop on the bandwagon. Wait until someone has been out there for a while before you decide if you want to be a fan or not.

I recommend this approach. It's way less stressful. When you look back at something that's been out there for a while, you can be more objective about the things that entity has done. Sure, you can say "Oh, they changed". But that change happened YEARS ago. It's done, it's over. Looking at something in retrospect, you don't have that emotional attachment, so you can judge things with a clearer mindset.

For example, my two favorite bands are Weezer and The Donnas. In both cases, I didn't become a fan of them until they'd already been around for nearly 10 years (or more). Sure, I did have one of their albums each for a few years before I became their fan, but I was only a fan of the album (or even just a few of the songs). Then one day, something just clicked, I started digging through their catalogues, and fell in love.

If you want to understand how I got to this point, you can read my "Levels of Music" post, but to quasi-summarize: Weezer released the Blue Album in '94; I got it as a freshman in college. They released their Video Capture Device DVD containing all their videos and some behind-the-scenes stuff in '04, and I absolutely loved it. I then proceeded buy their other three albums (at the time) and their three albums since then shortly after their release dates. The Donnas released "Spend the Night" (their major-label debut, but fifth album overall) in October '02, I bought it in October '05. I got Rock Band 2 last summer, featuring their song "New Kid in School". The last weekend of August, after a brutal week at work and still waiting for my replacement drum pads to come back from EA, I surfed the Internet and became entranced by those beautiful sirens. Since then, I bought 6 of their albums, watched countless videos of them online, and read anything I could find about them.

In both instances, I can look back at all their albums and see the evolutions in their respective styles and sounds. Each album from both bands represents not only a different sound, but a different maturity level and emotional state. I could get into a big long thing about what I think each album stands for, but that'd take too long. What I can say is, "I can appreciate each one in their own special way. Just because X doesn't sound like Y, and neither sounds like Z, doesn't mean I can't like them all."

So, if you're considering becoming a fan of something, take your time. This isn't a limited time offer. You don't have to act now. Wait. Days, weeks, months, years; doesn't matter. The targets of your affection will be there for you, if and when you become a fan.

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