Ironically, I had a similar experience earlier today while listening to Fleetwood Mac's "Mirage," which seemed a trifle at the time it was released in the early 80s, especially after the back-to-back classics, the great eponymous LP and "Rumours." Agreed, "Tusk" doesn't measure up to those records, but it has some good stuff on it. Still, I figured the band was artistically played out and didn't even buy "Mirage" (which came after 'Tusk', I believe) until recently, when I found it in a used record store for three bucks. What the hell, I thought. I cleaned it up, applied the Gruv Glide, and put her on. What a nice surprise! The songs bounce along one after another on the strength of Lindsay Buckingham's studio mastery, and several times I stopped wrapping Christmas presents long enough just to smile and admire the craft and exuberance of it all. Plus, the recording is so good, I would consider using it as a reference to show off my system. I had expected product, a weak effort from a tired and frayed band. But it was anything but. If anything, the band sounds more relaxed than they ever did, and as if they are actually having fun. While I wouldn't call "Mirage" a great work of art, I do think it's a very good record.
In short, I expected little to nothing from this LP--after all, I've ignored it for twenty years. Now, lo and behold, I am humming it in the aisles at WalMart and looking forward to hearing it again.
And that's what I love about this hobby. This kind of thing happens a lot. New discoveries. Buried treasures. Unexpected pleasures when something catches us off guard and makes us sit up and take notice. Trifles that keep us humming in the aisles and smiling in our chairs. Which ain't so trifling, after all.