Posted: 08 Sep 2008 06:51 AM CDT
Better marketing would definitely have helped the sales - with the success of Dennis's release, Capitol should have promoted TLOS as by "Dennis Wilson's talented older brother" and the album as a "natural successor to Pacific Ocean Blue - another celebration of California and the California lifestyle that Dennis Wilson embodied."
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 06:37 AM CDT
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 06:01 AM CDT
Just played my mono LDC LP for the first time for a long time and noticed a Brian falsetto right at the end of the title song which is cut off by the stereo mix (both LP and CD). Fun Fun Fun is a more obvious example, but what other mono tracks from this period were cut off early for stereo (and why?). And is the LDC mono mix available on CD?
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 05:52 AM CDT
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 05:31 AM CDT
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 04:27 AM CDT
The current UK album list is dated September 8 and it must've been based on sales figures from a few days earlier. TLOS was officially released on September 2, so when the list was made it had been available for just a few days, not even a full week... Could that have something to do with the low ranking?
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 04:14 AM CDT
Yes I think the review says a lot more about the Guardian's arts coverage these days than the album, increasingly depending on cheap youngsters to write up quick content, thinly spread between the weekday edition and the Observer on a Sunday. The book reviews can still be OK though. If Brian and a sympathetic artist ever decided to do a children's picture book (or even a "Für Kinder" album) then it would get a more serious review.
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 03:58 AM CDT
The reviews do count for quite a lot in the UK market, when you move past die-hard fans. And whatever your views on individual reviews and reviewers, the overall impression was that, whereas Smile had been something of a peak or plateau, we were now beginning the slow descent ...
For me the most significant feature of the infamous Guardian review was not the single star or the 'please let this be the end' comment, but the fact that Alexis Petridis, who'd been a huge supporter of BW over the last few years and gave Smile a stonking review, copped out of writing this one.
Prevailing economic conditions might have something to do with it, though I suppose chart positions are relative sales only.
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 03:22 AM CDT
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 02:32 AM CDT
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 02:29 AM CDT
TLOS is the featured album of the week for the second week running in Borders UK. I'm pretty sure this has to be paid for by the record company.
I don't think sales at Borders (where i bought mine) count toward the UK chart.
(btw i am not suggesting that 10,000 people bought their copy at Borders, thus denying TLOS a higher chart entry.)
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 02:16 AM CDT
I don't like the added organ and car keys, Carl's voice with not enough grief in it...
The car keys AWS part of the original arrangement - listen to the sessions. And BW's music, to my ears, has never needed an expressive voice to put across the intended emotion, which is actually expressed by the melody and the arrangement, and of course the production.
Carl nailed that vocal. Immaculate.
You are right, the car keys were in the 1967 recording. I even remember having read years ago about the original session that Brian at one time says about the car key player (hee hee): "Now THAT sounds like jewelry!" Recently I read the Badham book, where it says on page 293 about the 1971 sessions: "Two organ overdubs are made, along with Brian's car keys providing percussion." So I thought they were all 1971. But anyway, the point is the keys are really loud in the 1971 mix, too loud for my liking, no matter if additional car keys were recorded of if they're all from 1967. They're not THAT loud in the track only version on the 1993 GV box set and hardly audible at all in the famous Anne Wallace version.
What you and me have written about Carl's vocal is of course both totally subjective, so I can't argue with that. I think he sang too sweetly. IMHO expressive singing adds to the quality of the arrangement.
Talking about subjectivity, I think the 1967 version of Surf's Up is played too fast... And subsequently, the 1971 version too.
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 01:55 AM CDT
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 01:36 AM CDT
Agreed - it was a nice change up in tonight's show. Jeff sounded great and it rested Brian's pipes. We need maybe a couple more 'rest stops' like that for Brian. No harm in that, since he can drop in a verse or two instead of a lead. It works.
Close to full tonight btw, with a capacity of around 600 in the theater.
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 01:30 AM CDT
I recently decided to "relive" (despite the fact that I was born in 1987) the Beach Boys' entire career as a group by listening to their catalog from start to finish. :-) I'm writing detailed reviews for each one, so I thought I would share them here. So far, I'm up to "Smiley Smile", and I'm waiting to get a copy of the Hawaii concert so I can have a stand-in for the MIA "Lei'd In Hawaii" album.
But, without further ado, here's where I've been so far! Just remember... these are just my opinions; no need to start a flame war over something I said. :-)
SURFIN' SAFARI (1962)
First, I feel it necessary to point out here... THE BEACH BOYS WERE NOT SURFERS. That fact alone makes the first batch of Beach Boys albums particularly irritating, but it's forgivable once you realize that they obviously had a great talent for writing songs on the subject. The real irritation with this first album, though, is the fact that the songs all basically sound the same - same harmonies, same "TICK-a TICK-a TICK-a TICK-a" drumbeat from Dennis. While it's mandatory to give the album some credit for the hits it produced ("Surfin' Safari", "409"), the Beach Boys' first attempt at a long-playing commercial product just comes off as juvenile and childish. There's a song about trying to win a doll at the county fair, an ode to cold root beer, and a surf-style version of "Ten Little Indians." The only real lyrical gem is the gambler-slang filled "Heads You Win, Tails I Lose"; otherwise, the album just seems tame and a little embarrassing by the standards that the Beach Boys would eventually adopt. I suppose, as their debut album, it works as a curiosity item; it's just not particularly entertaining.
MY SCORE: 5/10
SURFIN' USA (1963)
In just a short time, the Beach Boys managed to turn out a considerably superior product than their debut. Of course, there are the obligatory, stereotypical Beach Boys hits ("Surfin' USA" and "Shut Down"), but it's the more obscure tracks here that come off as the most attractive; and Brian certainly deserves the most credit for bringing these to life. "Stoked" is a great instrumental piece, while "Lonely Sea" shines as perhaps the earliest example of the direction in which Brian was heading that would eventually lead to the creation of "Pet Sounds." "Farmer's Daughter" is another hidden beauty, displaying the best of the Beach Boys' trademark falsetto, and even the silly pun-filled "Noble Surfer" manages to stand out thanks to a unique, uncharacteristic celeste solo. Only two tracks manage to be a disappointment - the weak cover of instrumental surf classic "Misirlou", and the silly "Finders Keepers." These two tracks, however, certainly don't prevent "Surfin' USA" from being a genuine classic.
MY SCORE: 8/10
SURFER GIRL (1963)
The Beach Boys continue to improve their vocal and musical skills (despite their insistence on sticking with the "we love surfing"/"we love cars" songs), though unfortunately, these skills are not consistent throughout this album. Thankfully, the album manages to pack in a number of classics such as the signature tune "Surfer Girl," one of the finest examples to date of the Beach Boys' golden harmonies, and Brian's deeply personal "In My Room." "Catch A Wave" and "Little Deuce Coupe" also make their debuts here - and I must admit that, having never liked "Catch A Wave" before, hearing it in stereo for the first time was an incredible experience that drastically improved my opinion of the song. The now-obligatory instrumentals are also a delight, particularly the instantly memorable "Rocking Surfer." However, there are too many low points - "South Bay Surfer", a surf-themed parody of "Swanee River", naturally comes off as a far too cheesy idea; "Surfers Rule" is just another entry in the long line of Beach Boys surf-rock tracks (which seem to be getting less and less creative); and above anything else, Mike's nasal vocal on "Hawaii" is honestly one of the most grating things I've ever heard. Overall, the album has some absolute gems, but it also has some truly awful songs mixed in.
MY SCORE: 6.5/10
LITTLE DEUCE COUPE (1964)
Yep, the Beach Boys *definitely* recorded for Capitol - home of the famous American line of rip-off Beatles albums. That mentality is shown here - an album rush-released just a month after "Surfer Girl", shamelessly featuring FOUR songs rehashed from old albums. (Yes, even a couple from "Surfer Girl," which makes it that much more disappointing.) Thus, there's not a whole lot to review here; the songs that are actually new are basically just similar, repetitive slow numbers, usually discussing cars - take for example the unintentionally humorous "Ballad of Ol' Betsy," which finds the boys moaning about their beloved car which sadly (*cough*) is getting older. "A Young Man Is Gone" also finds the Beach Boys at their maudlin worst, being a surprisingly morbid acapella tale of James Dean meeting his end among "screaming tires and flashing fires." Spare me, please. Even the original version of "Be True To Your School," one of the several Beach Boys songs that would become a hit single in a totally different form, is painfully unimpressive and weak. The only thing saving this from a terminally low score is "No Go Showboat," which boasts a pleasantly complex melody and unique, ear-catching harmonies. Otherwise, this cheesy, cobbled-together album just doesn't deserve a listen.
MY SCORE: 4/10
SHUT DOWN, VOLUME 2 (1964)
First, I suppose the bizarre title requires some explanation - not long before this, a couple Beach Boys tunes were included on an all-car compilation called "Shut Down." For whatever reason, when Capitol Records decided to put out a follow up, they just had the Beach Boys record the entire thing. That's the best explanation I can come up with. (Of course, since that one included their song "Shut Down", they tried to be cute by including a song called "Shut Down Part 2" on here... which doesn't really have any resemblance or relation to the first one.) Content-wise, the album is another mixed bag; but thankfully, there are a number of highlights that definitely deserve a listen. "Fun Fun Fun" and "Don't Worry Baby" are obviously very representative of the group's hit-making ability, while the slower "Warmth Of The Sun" and "Keep An Eye On Summer" offer the album's token harmony-filled ballads. The inclusion of a "Louie Louie" cover has the potential to raise a few eyebrows, but it manages to be fairly entertaining, though obviously lacking the power of the Kingsmen's classic version. (Hey, at least the Beach Boys kept the lyrics clear and understandable!) I must admit that, while other fans tend to look down upon the spoken skits that appeared in a few of the Beach Boys' early albums, I happen to find this album's "Cassius Love vs Sonny Wilson," a staged argument that presents Mike and Brian berating each other over their vocal styles, particularly hilarious, because it's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of Mike's nasal voice. On the whole, "Shut Down, Volume 2" isn't necessarily the best album for a hardcore fan, but it would make a good introductory album for someone just getting into the group. Just make sure they turn it off before the awful "Denny's Drums," or else their first impression of Dennis's abilities may not be very pleasant...
MY SCORE: 7/10
ALL SUMMER LONG (1964)
What, more surfing and car songs? Okay... but we're getting very close to the end here. Obviously, the most important tracks on this album are those that became genuine Beach Boys classics - "I Get Around," "All Summer Long," and "Little Honda" (which I somehow didn't even realize was the Beach Boys until hearing it on this album). Like its predecessors, though, this album suffers from sounding considerably dated - "Drive-In", the subject of which should be obvious, sounds like it would've been dated at the time, with its very-Fifties tales of activities such as sneaking your buddies into the drive-in via your trunk (remember "Grease"?); and, dare I say it, "All Summer Long" has lost its innocence thanks to the passing of time, because nowadays it's just hilarious to hear the Beach Boys sing their praises of "a pair of thongs." (See children, back then, that word had a different meaning...) Surprisingly, the slower songs were the ones that caught my interest the most (though "The Girls On The Beach" comes a little too close to "Surfer Girl" to be truly noteworthy), with the cover of the Fifties hit "Hushabye" being the most powerful and beautiful of the group. In the end, while "All Summer Long" is an entertaining album, it's just not a stand-out casualty of the Beach Boys' now very, very tired formula.
MY SCORE: 6/10
CHRISTMAS ALBUM (1964)
And all of a sudden - the Beach Boys COMPLETELY change their style! I'm not usually a big fan of Christmas albums, mainly for the fact that they're corny and just rehash the same songs (with the same arrangements) over and over. So, I was dreading when I had to hear this album in my marathon. Surprisingly, it's nowhere near as bad as I expected - in fact, it's probably a genuine highlight among all the Christmas albums released by popular bands. While a couple songs near the start stick too close to the tired style of their first couple albums (particularly "Christmas Day", which Brian notably referred to once as a "friggin' piece of poopy"), the orchestral tracks that make up a majority of the album are true masterpieces. "We Three Kings" is absolutely brilliant and flowing, and the upbeat and over-the-top "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" breathes new life into a song that has been dreadfully worn out by the hundreds of near-identical versions released since its composition. More than anything, the group pulls off the slower tunes especially well - "I'll Be Home For Christmas," with its bed of lush harmonies, is the best of the bunch. While it's not perfect (ending with Dennis's flubbed spoken message was probably a mistake), this is an album you'll want to revisit the whole year through. (Technical gripe though - I don't yet have the more recent "Ultimate" version, so I had to settle for the old CD edition - and the vocals on "Little Saint Nick" are in horrendous shape, sounding like they came from a badly crinkled cassette. I hope they fixed that on the updated version.)
MY SCORE: 9/10
BEACH BOYS CONCERT (1964)
"Concert" was another album that I wasn't too anxious to hear, for two reasons - one, it's a well-known fact that live albums are usually far from "live"; and two, that this is the first of several live albums I'd have to endure in my Beach Boys journey. To my shock, the album ended up being extremely entertaining. Sure, it has its flaws - the edits are painfully obvious (especially the tacked on ending to "Fun Fun Fun"), and a couple songs are just bad choices (the cover of "Long Tall Texan" sounds eerily close to what Garth Brooks must sound like drunk); but it's best to just take the album for what it is: a time-capsule representation of the Beach Boys at their live best, plowing through their hits with full energy while struggling to hear themselves over the Beatlemania-esque screams. There are, thankfully, enough great tracks to almost completely weigh down the poor ones - "Fun Fun Fun" is a highlight, managing to be a whole lot better than the original album version; and even the totally unnecessary cover of "Monster Mash" manages to keep the listener glued to their speakers with its sheer energy and sense of fun. It can honestly be said that, in their younger days, the Beach Boys truly knew how to keep a crowd on their toes. Shame, though, that "Hawaii" still ends up being a painful, whiny mess...
MY SCORE: 7.5/10
THE BEACH BOYS TODAY! (1965)
1965 marked a very significant year for the Beach Boys, as their music finally started to move in a different direction (despite Mike Love's incessant bitching about "f**king with the formula"), showing their songs to be considerably more personal and introspective - and, dare I say it, considerably more entertaining. "Today!" is a fairly weak start for that era, however, being another messy jumble of varying quality that fits unfortunately well alongside the more unpredictable pre-'Christmas' albums. "Do You Wanna Dance" (a cover - something I wasn't aware of) and "Dance, Dance, Dance" are very similar tracks and sound like rejects from 'All Summer Long', while "Don't Hurt My Little Sister", while certainly good in its intentions, manages to be rather creepy - most notably, the line where the girl's boyfriend is told, by her brother, to "love her like her big brother does." *shudder* This album also notably features "Help Me, Ronda," which is *not* the famed hit of a similar title - just one album later, "Ronda" would gain an 'h' and a new arrangement. This version is alright, but the elements that would bring the hit version to life are notably missing, particularly the lead guitar in the (here rather bland) solo. While none of the aforementioned tracks struck me as particularly bad, because they certainly had their individual merits, the album really shone for me with its wealth of Brian-penned ballads. "When I Grow Up" is particularly striking, being the thoughts of a man who, at a rather young age, realizes that he 'won't last forever.' "In The Back Of My Mind" delves even deeper into Brian's subconscious, presenting his innermost fears about how quickly he feels the positive parts of his life could change. The fact that the song is sung by Dennis, whose life changed rather quickly and in the most negative way possible, gives it an extra air of eeriness. All in all, while it is uneven, "Today!" is a fine album that shows considerable promise for the future. That said, "Bull Session With Big Daddy" (a brief track of the Beach Boys sitting in the studio, eating hamburgers) is completely unnecessary.
MY SCORE: 7.5/10
SUMMER DAYS - AND SUMMER NIGHTS!! (1965)
In my opinion, the first truly great Beach Boys album; and not just because it features the debut of the Beach Boys' seemingly most popular song "California Girls." 'Summer Days' just has a whole lot going for it - besides the aforementioned concert staple, there's the new and improved "Help Me, Rhonda" (this time, the version that became a hit), there's the flowing and engaging instrumental "Summer Means New Love", there's the Brian classic "Let Him Run Wild"... I could just go on and on. Unlike the previous albums, there is no filler - gone are the spoken skits and the mindless, repetitive surf songs. This time, we get nothing but quality, even if it required revising a song from the previous album. While I could endlessly compliment the merits of the songs from this LP that became certified hits, the lesser-known tracks deserve just as much play. "Amusement Parks USA" is a fun trip through a number of popular American theme parks (what, no Kennywood?!), even managing to throw in a sly reference to the dreaded sledgehammer game from 'Surfin' Safari''s "County Fair." "Then I Kissed Her" is a slightly altered rendition of girl group classic "Then He Kissed Me," which, even as a cover, has the ability to fill the listener's ears with its powerful, Spector-esque sound and keep them completely engaged in its melody. Even the silly track "I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man" stands out, despite its dark back story. The song tells of a pitiful Brian being locked in his bedroom by his father, who boards up the windows and feeds Brian mere scraps. Charming, if it wasn't for the fact that none of these horrendous activities would have actually been beyond the incredibly harsh parenting of Murry Wilson. Still, Brian's sense of humor is *very* evident, and the song becomes a genuine, undiscovered classic. In short, grab a copy of 'Summer Days and Summer Nights' if you truly want to hear the Beach Boys at their Sixties best. Hey, it has "California Girls" - where could you go wrong? :-)
MY SCORE: 8.5/10
BEACH BOYS PARTY! (1965)
"Party" is definitely a unique item in the history of rock, because as far as I know, there has never been another album that attempted a concept like this. The Beach Boys' idea was to create an album that was supposedly recorded at a party, where the boys and their friends engaged in impromptu sing-a-longs. Of course, the truth behind the album is less interesting - the songs weren't as spur-of-the-moment as one would believe, as several takes were recorded of some of them; and the "party" atmosphere was overdubbed onto the album after the fact. Even still, the concept does somehow manage to come off wonderfully, which gives the album a distinctly engaging charm. We hear the boys sloppily rambling through a number of clumsy yet very entertaining Beatles covers ("I Should Have Known Better" does sound rather odd without the trademark harmonica), and even a hilariously bad remake of "I Get Around." The big finale to the album is "Barbara Ann," which, while still entertaining in its original full-length form, was thankfully edited down for the hit single version in order to render an extremely sloppy track considerably more listenable. The only real faults of the album are the songs that break from the "improvised" style and sound far too polished and rehearsed to have been recorded at a party - the cover of the Everly Brothers' "Devoted To You" suffers the most from this, sticking out like a sore thumb among the messy tracks that surround it. Still, the song is so wonderful that the sudden change in style doesn't really matter. "Party" is a great album through and through, and certainly a pleasant half hour's worth of music.
MY SCORE: 9.5/10
COMING UP NEXT... Goodbye surfing, hello ZOO! (I'm kidding... I didn't review that. I was so tempted, though. :-P)
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 01:25 AM CDT
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 01:24 AM CDT
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 11:52 PM CDT
Unless both the surfermoon site and I have missed something... aside from the highly exceptional perfect storm that was "Smile", this is the first regular album Brian's done in more than thirty years to make the UK top 40.
Imagination charted at #30 in the UK in 1998. I was just expecting more because it's good product. Top 20 was my expectation. Oddly, it seems the US chart placing may be, for once, better.
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:47 PM CDT
This is the very first post on my new laptop. I wanted to rave and celebrate TLOS. I'm disappointed with the concert sales and chart position.
However, I have to say, I've been listening to TLOS all weekend and I'm in love with this music and it is the most emotionally satisfying piece of new music I've experienced in a couple of years. This album stands on its own despite chart success or sales. Anyone who ever seriously loved the Beach Boys and appreciates the lore of the California dream, who appreciates an inspired piece of art, and eventually discovers this, is going to love it.
Sometimes something really great is not appreciated in its time. Remember Pet Sounds?
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:35 PM CDT
Pleasure Island: A Rock Fantasy . . .
I can see it now. Palisades Park (A Rock Opera).
Why not . . . Carnival of Sound . . . picking up where Jan Berry left off ?
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:34 PM CDT
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:34 PM CDT
I'm sorry...as great of a vocalist as Jeff is, when I go to a Brian show, I want Brian to be singing lead.Not me. I'd be pissed if Brian sat there using his voice as much as he uses his keyboard, of course. But spreading the wealth a little, especially for lines here and there, a song here or there, I think is no problem at all for the betterment of the overall show. But I know there are a lot of different opinions on that.
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:29 PM CDT
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:26 PM CDT
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:14 PM CDT
What gives with this? Jeff singing a lead.
This was not mentioned!
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:04 PM CDT
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 10:03 PM CDT
If nothing else, I love Brian's enthusiasm. It seems like after Smile, Brian actually has a desire to create again that doesn't seem to be coming from external influences.
It's really great to see Brian excited about creating music again...obviously very exciting for us too, given the quality of TLOS.
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 09:53 PM CDT
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 08:57 PM CDT
Posted: 07 Sep 2008 05:11 PM CDT
|You are subscribed to email updates from Beach Boys Network |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email Delivery powered by FeedBurner|
|Inbox too full? Subscribe to the feed version of Beach Boys Network in a feed reader.|
|If you prefer to unsubscribe via postal mail, write to: Beach Boys Network, c/o FeedBurner, 20 W Kinzie, 9th Floor, Chicago IL USA 60610|