Any time I hear a piece of music I don’t like, I just assume it’s my problem.
John Congleton, in his interview on All Songs Considered, says that this is his mantra. He borrowed it from none other than John Peel, who said this shortly before he died.
I haven’t been able to find where John Peel said this, but I like it. Congleton gives a bit more on why he chosen this quote as his mantra.
Somebody spent the money, spent the time. They put everything they had into this. No matter how bad he thinks it is, it’s just a bummer for him that he can’t enjoy it. And I think it’s very brave to feel that way.
I’ve been doing something similar of late. For books, music, movies, television programs I don’t like, I’ve been saying “It’s just not for me” and moving on. (In my more cynical moments, I say, “I’m not the target demographic.”)
I like the Congleton/Peel mantra more, though. I like the fact that it honors the effort people have put into creating something, whether it appeals to me or not. I like that it implies that with a bit of effort, I can understand why other people enjoy something I don’t. I like that it acknowledges that as I grow and change, so do my tastes, that something I strongly disliked before can become something that I love.