Posted: 12 Sep 2008 06:26 AM CDT
I didn't know where to post my opinion about TLOS as there are so many threads on it. I haven't had the time to read any comments, because I was away for almost three weeks.
I think TLOS is a very good album. I wouldn't say "great" but still very, very good. I think Brian's voice hasn't sound this "real" on any of his solo albums. There are some bad notes, but that just makes it more human I guess and they don't bother me that much. On the whole Brian sounds much more into it than even on Smile imho. He even play a little with the phrasing from time to time.
Love the hidden track btw which seems to be a Brian solo perfomrnace (vocal-wise at least).
I think the artwork is also the best from any BW-solo-output although teh '88 one is very cool too and of course Smile.
Oh, there's something I gotta say, I think Brian's bass singing is great and gives the blend of his band what it needs, because none of them seems to get those low notes that good.
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 06:05 AM CDT
(Govt Health Warning. The picture attached to this story may be disturbing to young children)
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 05:59 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 05:55 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 05:47 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 05:46 AM CDT
Have just added the Wilson Hawthorne Home thread.
Thanks Carrie and jeffcdo.
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 05:38 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 05:11 AM CDT
The STOMP convention in 88.. (TWENTY YEARS !!!??)
I was there, two rows back from the stage ( a very nice,slightly balding chap* sat just in front and I noticed a cassette recorder in his bag 'ready to go'.. something was going to happen.. surely he was'nt recording Mr Rivers and friends?)
Tech hitch curtains close... a few fingers (THE Fingers) hit a few keyboard keys..silence.... ..curtains pull back as keyboard plays (Surfer Girl I think was the song).. My only thoughts were 'my god I can tell everyone I 've met Brian Wilson from now on !!!'.
He did three songs , S.G, N.T and L&M (w/ extra 'praying to ' verse)
There is a video of the event somewhere so I won't comment on Brians movements as such but we now know the cause which has long gone.
Great day.. I subsequently met ( in 1989) via work, another fan (still friends today) . Probably by our third conversation things turned to music -- B.W/Beach Boys - was I brave to admit I attend conventions? Only after realising what a real fan he was (i.e. he'd done Brighton early 70's, Knebworth etc) and what do you know?.. he too was there in '88! BUT.. left early and missed Brian !!!
Ofcourse I still have my signed 'Brian Wilson' poster.
*Sorry Mr G.H if your reading
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 04:51 AM CDT
I found ranking the songs very hard too. If I stick to those released as singles, a top 10 which sounds OK right now might be
california girls/let him run wild
when i grow up/she knows me too well
cool cool water/forever
you need a mess of help/cuddle up
honkin' down the highway/solar system
melt away/being with the one you love
1. In Concert
2. Smile Bootlegs
5. Pet Sounds
7. Brian Wilson 1988
8. Carl and the Passions
9. Smiley Smile
10= Wild Honey, Love You, Surf's Up
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 04:21 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 04:15 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 04:05 AM CDT
I once heard him say he liked the way the melody worked against the changing chords. The melody on the chourus repeating over the changing chords creating that interesting harmony.
Eg ( I think it's in E) As the "Be My Baby" tune plays over the E major chord, You get an E maj, E Maj7 then E maj 6th.
Very satisfying harmony, quite cool for 1963.
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 03:22 AM CDT
I actually prefer the Smiley Wind Chimes over the earlier version. It features some of the most stellar singing I've ever heard by anyone and I find the little touches of musique concrete to be nothing short of brilliant. It's one of those songs where that whole "Brian is a genius" thing really came alive for me.
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 02:55 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 02:51 AM CDT
Here's something that makes me a bit undecided on the "joke vs. really gave it an honest try" argument: according to history (or legend, as it may be), Brian had a difficult time getting the Boys on board with the SMiLE material (especially Mike, who wanted to keep the old hit formula). So, what made them so cooperative on Smiley? I mean, they do seem to be enjoying themselves on that one; what changed their minds?
this may be the single most intriguing bb question ever asked.
do we have any experts in the shadows that might lend a synapse? is agd on the bush telegraph?
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 02:06 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 02:03 AM CDT
1. Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE
2. Pet Sounds
3. Summer In Paradise
Cool! Someone else who likes SIP just as much as I do! It doesn't quite make my top 3, and it has lost a little favor with me in the past 5 years or so, but I still love it!
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 02:01 AM CDT
1. God Only Knows
2. All This Is That
3. Do It Again
After those three, it just gets too hard to rank songs because there's too many that I would want to put in the top ten!
Since I only chose 3 songs, I reserve the right to extend my album list!
2. L.A. Light Album
3. In Concert
4. Orange Crate Art
5. Pacific Ocean Blue
6. Carl & The Passions - So Tough
10. Brian Wilson Presents Smile
11. Love You
12. Like A Brother
13. Summer In Paradise
14. Surfer Girl
15. Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!)
16. Surf's Up
17. Endless Harmony
18. Live In London
19. Wild Honey
20. M.I.U. Album
21. Pet Sounds
22. Brian Wilson (1988)
23. Surfin' USA
24. Smiley Smile
25. All Summer Long
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 01:40 AM CDT
Posted: 12 Sep 2008 12:00 AM CDT
The only trouble is, Pitchfork is one of the most popular music sites these days - if Brian does an interview like this in the Haywood County Gazette or whatever, that's ok, but now zillions of young hipster Pitchfork readers think that Brian Wilson is like completely bonkers.
I was just reading a blog where the Brian And Zooey interview was posted, and was amazed at how many young guys and girls (like me) are aware of Brain's drug use etc..
I guess that's Brain's rep 'the insane rockstar', which is better than nothing
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 11:19 PM CDT
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 10:55 PM CDT
Thank you Carrie! I happened to visit the Historical Monument this week on my way back from seeing Brian in Nevada, and was curious just how close they were able to get to the original location with the freeway covering it now. That Historic Aerials site is pretty cool, and you can swipe between different years to compare them; it's like a time machine. So it looks like technically the monument stands on the spot that was the front yard of the house across the street (119th) to the south, as close as possible with eastbound lanes of the 105 freeway squarely covering the site. Thanks again for the info!
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 10:29 PM CDT
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 10:18 PM CDT
Okay, here's the next batch... Be warned, I hated "Smiley Smile."
PET SOUNDS (1966)
As much as I would like to, having not enjoyed it the first time I heard it, I just can't bring myself to say anything negative about "Pet Sounds." I mean, the fact that it's one of the most landmark LP's in rock history and was a major influence on the Beatles (after having been made in response to their "Rubber Soul") didn't sway my opinion; it was the fact that the second time around, each and every note struck me as beautiful and even haunting. Each and every lyric struck me as deeply personal and relatable. There's no better way to sum it up except by saying that "Pet Sounds" is an absolute, unsurpassed masterpiece from start to finish. Here, spread out over two sides of a vinyl album, is a collection of some of the most elaborate and striking songs ever recorded by a rock band - the classic singalong "Sloop John B," the achingly eerie "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)," the stunningly beautiful 'suicide ballad' (as some fans believe it to be) "God Only Knows," and the mind-numblingly catchy title track that I guarantee will stay wedged in your subconsciousness for weeks after you hear it. More than anything though, I felt like this album was made just for someone my age, between the soul-searching lyrics of "That's Not Me," the all-too-true message of "Here Today" (that being 'love is here today, and gone tomorrow'), and the narrator's realistic situation in "I'm Waiting For The Day," in which he waits eagerly for his love interest to recover from the pain of a recent breakup. Genius lyrics all around... and of course, genius music as well! Obviously, I can't stop praising this album, so I have to quit while I'm ahead... did I mention that I think "Caroline No" and especially "You Still Believe In Me" (another hugely relatable song) are two of my favorite Beach Boys tracks *ever*? *takes a deep breath* Okay, let's give this thing a score...
MY SCORE: 10/10
LIVE IN MICHIGAN (unreleased - 1966)
The fact that this album, a pathetic display of the Beach Boys (without Brian) struggling to entertain a Michigan crowd (well, two actually) while obviously *extremely* high, was almost released, is sad. Believe me - even though it's available as a bootleg (the uncut tapes were released as "The Live Box", alongside a couple other shows), YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR THIS. Painfully strained falsettos, cracking voices, stoned giggles, on-stage banter that never fails to devolve into meaningless rambling, gay jokes, poop jokes, a criminally bad Beatles cover... God, it's bad. The renditions of their classics are just slow, boring and listless - though Mike points out that the crowd is "smashed," so apparently they felt the same way about the performances that the Beach Boys did. It's hard to pick out the worst moment, though the off-key (as in, every member is in a different key) and slightly obnoxious version of "Surfer Girl" in the first show is especially awful. Did I mention they forget the words to "You're So Good To Me"? I could go on and on about how horrible this is, I really could. They just manage to squeak somewhat enthusiastically through "Papa Oom Mow Mow", though, which is a very slight plus. However, before I wipe this unpleasant experience from my brain, I should note the early live outing of "Good Vibrations" from the second show (the performance in the first show is incomplete) - well, it could've been worse. If anything, they sound very cautious, and keep it simple; but thankfully, they didn't commit the crimes against this song that they committed against most others in these recordings, at least until the badly flubbed and out of tune theremin ending. The moral of the story? Don't do drugs, kids. This 'album' is a good example of what you might become.
MY SCORE: 01/10
SMILE (unreleased - 1967)
And now, we reach what was undoubtedly the most significant era for the Beach Boys - the creation and eventual collapse of what was supposed to be the most magnificent and complex album ever released, Brian Wilson's magnum opus "Smile." It's hard to review "Smile" as an album, because in Beach Boys terms, it never WAS an album; it was hours upon hours of partially finished songs that were intended to be pieced together as a coherent concept album about Americana, childhood, and the elements. Of course, Brian Wilson gave us exactly that... thirty-seven years later, when he recorded the entire album over again with his new band, the Wondermints. But for this review, I listened to the closest thing to Brian's 2004 rendition of "Smile" - the reconstruction by web-based bootleg label Purple Chick, which painstakingly assembled the Beach Boys recordings (and some 2004 recordings to fill in the gaps) into something very closely matching Brian's finalized vision. I do agree with what some critics have said in the past, that given the public's luke-warm response to "Pet Sounds," "Smile" very well could have been a major flop in 1967. It certainly doesn't come close to ANYTHING the Beach Boys ever recorded before, being a tightly woven group of songs with poetic, puzzle-like lyrics, recurring melodies, and silly sound effects. And I can also say that, even though I've heard "Smile" countless times before on its own, hearing it in the context of the group's career is a completely different experience; it just seems so alien and strange, yet wonderful to say the least; because the fact remains that the songs intended for the album were certainly genius. Take for example "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" - Brian wanted to musically represent a raging fire, so he composed a song full of screeching and sliding strings, a thumping bass, discordant chords, whistles, and on one outtake, the sound of crackling flames. I dare anyone to listen to that song (Beach Boys version or Brian's version alike) and not instantly picture a cacophony of flames and fire engines. Pure magic through song. Then of course, there's Brian's miniature cowboy musical, "Heroes and Villains." (Out of all the versions of that song, I prefer the 2004 version; the 1967 single version was missing far too much, and the much longer version heard on the Beach Boys' boxed set was just far too random and bizarre.) Finally, last but not least, this album was meant to feature what was undoubtedly the most elaborate pop song recorded up to this point - "Good Vibrations," heard here with different lyrics than what we're all used to. It's just so hard to describe the high points of this album, or what could have been this album, because it's just one big masterpiece that defies explanation. What more can one say? For new fans, the 2004 remake will suffice; but for hardcore fans, hunt down the Purple Chick version (it's all over the Internet) to hear what the original tracks sounded like. It becomes depressingly clear that much of the album was in fact recorded in 1966-67, and had Brian gotten his head together, he could've put out what had the potential to be the greatest album of the Sixties. Take that, "Sgt. Pepper."
MY SCORE: 10/10
SMILEY SMILE (1967)
How quickly they fell. Mike Love got tired of singing the strange lyrics of "Smile," and Brian was going through a massive nervous breakdown, fueled in part by his constant drug usage. Oh yes, and the Beach Boys disappointed the public by announced that their revolutionary "Smile" album was cancelled. However, to make up for its non-appearance, the drugged-out group hurredly put together this half-hour collection of awkward, stoned tracks. This is mostly a collection of songs intended for "Smile," but not in their original forms - they've been re-recorded, usually as droning, slow, breathy rambles that come nowhere close to capturing the magic of the originals. ("Wind Chimes" has to be the worst casualty of the bunch, having changed from a beautiful and playful song to a hazy experimental piece with half-whispered vocals.) It's not surprising that the only two real highlights are "Heroes and Villains" (heard here without the 'in the cantina' verse intended for the "Smile" version) and the single version of "Good Vibrations" - both of them were recorded before the rest of the album. It actually seems clear that the songs fall into two distinct categories: "Smile" retreads and boring, repetitive chants. There's just not a whole lot of variation from those two themes, except perhaps the extremely bizarre "She's Goin' Bald," itself a rewrite of "Smile"-era track "He Gives Speeches." In short, this album was nothing more than a misjudged experiment that rightfully left fans bewildered. Don't bother with it.
MY SCORE: 3.5/10
LEI'D IN HAWAII (unreleased - 1967)
Unavailable for review at this time. I'll come back to it if I can find a copy of its bootleg equivalent ("Aloha From Hawaii")...
WILD HONEY (1967)
This time around, the Beach Boys accomodated Brian's increasingly weak mental state by not taking to the studio, instead recording a loose, demo-like album right at home; and despite the odds given the poor quality of the material presented on "Smiley Smile," they turned out a brief but ultimately very satisfying product. What we have here is the group at their rawest, choosing to stick with the same basic instruments (piano, organ, percussion) for each track, and putting Carl's unique, cracking vocals at the forefront. One could almost say that with this album, the Beach Boys discovered soul - evidenced the most in "Darlin'," a high energy track easily reminiscent of classic Motown. This harder-edged sound also shines through on both the title track, which is brightened by a searing use of the theremin; and my absolute favorite track on the album, the cover of Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made To Love Her" that *easily* far surpasses the original. (Although, as much as I've heard it, I'm still uncertain why people thought the backing vocals were saying "You son of a bitch"...?) Nearly every song is a highlight, from the surprisingly naughty punchline of "I'd Love Just Once To See You", to the haunting and instantly memorable "Country Air." The only song that didn't necessarily stand out for me was the short "Mama Says," which struck me as a little too reminiscent of the repetitive chants from 'Smiley Smile' - but on the other hand, it's nice that they found a good use for the 'sleep a lot, eat a lot' section of "Vegetables" that was senselessly excluded from the 'Smiley' remake. This truly is homegrown music at its best - I just wish there was more of it, because I could certainly listen to the boys groove like this forever.
MY SCORE: 9/10
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 09:49 PM CDT
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 09:16 PM CDT
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 08:26 PM CDT
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 06:47 PM CDT
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 03:33 PM CDT
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