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I will explain a few situations :

  1. It is often the case that I listen to a song which doesn't impress me in the first minute or so but as it progresses, I like it
  2. A trained batsmen struggles in the initial overs to score, even to hold the wicket but as the game progresses, he 'sets' himself on the pitch and then is invincible

So if I take the situation 1, how would I say :

"That song is ...."

The above situations, logically, seem unrelated so we may not have same/similar phrase or idioms.

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1. The song

We say, "At first I didn't think much of it but as I continued to listen the song grew on me."

grow on someone. — phrasal verb with grow us /ɡroʊ/ verb (past tense grew /ɡru/ , past participle grown /ɡroʊn/ ) › to become increasingly liked or enjoyed by someone: Living in a small town was tough at first, but the place grows on you.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/american-english/grow-on-someone

2. The sportsperson

We say, "To begin with the batsman appeared to be struggling but as time went on he found his form.

The idiom is that the batsman has temporarily lost his form but as the match progresses he finds (or regains) it.

A competitor's form is their ability to be successful over a period of time:

Both horses have shown good form over the last season.

After a bad year, she has regained her form.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/form

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    Yes -- I think there's a distinct difference here. Is there an etic change (the batsman's form actually does improve) or a subjective one (my evaluation, not the music, changes). – Edwin Ashworth Jul 22 '15 at 9:51
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    Finds/found his form: books.google.com/ngrams/… – user66974 Jul 22 '15 at 9:55
  • @EdwinAshworth - +1 for introducing me to the word etic! I'm wondering though, wouldn't 'objective' have been more accurate? – chasly from UK Jul 22 '15 at 10:13
  • Music is subjective(some may like in the first 20 sec., the others after a min. but the composition is the same). In this case, if I would like to say 'For me, the song was unappealing till 00.20 but later it gripped me', how do I put it ? Form in the ex. I mentioned is more of a character/style/habit - the batsman takes time but shines later. But for a person watching(for the first time) him bat would say 'First 4 overs he struggled but took off later', how would he say it(in phrase/idiom) ? – Kaliyug Antagonist Jul 22 '15 at 11:19
  • Merriam-Webster: etic of, relating to, or involving analysis of cultural phenomena from the perspective of one who does not participate in the culture being studied >> There's an obvious large overlap, but OP did mention a human assessor ('unimpressive') whereas 'objective' focuses on inherent qualities. Objective's first-listed definition at AHDEL is ' 1.a. Existing independent of or external to the mind; actual or real. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 22 '15 at 12:42

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