Archive for the ‘Brian’s Hidden Beauties’ Category

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLVII: Our Special Love

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

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The first taster of No Pier Pressure was this collaborative track, featuring Peter Hollens. It was released on September 28, 2014, more than six months before the album saw the light of day. Peter Hollens is known as an a capella artist, and although this song does feature some instumentation, it is the lovely vocals that are a standout on the track. Once again, it’s a Brian-related track which has a very special transcendental feel which takes romantic love from the mundane to a very spiritual place.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLVI: That’s Why God Made The Radio

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

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Hearing this song played in a restaurant recently reminded of the Beach Boys 2012 reunion, which looks like it now won’t be replicated. So here is what I original wrote about the title song of the Beach Boys last album just after its release.

It might look it was written by committee, but sometimes committee’s do produce decent results especially when Brian Wilson is a member (Sail On Sailor and Isn’t It Timeare other examples). This song is symbolic of the 2012 Beach Boys comeback, being the first single and the title track from the comeback album.

That’s Why God Made The Radio works because it is a nostalgic, heartfelt look at the classic era of pop music -it’s a ballad with an understated arrangement, bar a cranked-up guitar in the middle, which may be a sop to the newer generation of listeners. And with Brian back on the lead vocals and the magic harmonies, you know that the Beach Boys are back.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLV: The Little Girl I Once Knew

Monday, January 9th, 2017

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When Brian Wilson commenced his return to the road in 1999, his opening track was The Little Girl I Once Knew - chosen it seems as a balance between a minor chart hit/Beach Boys classic and an avant-garde track showcasing Brian’s production skills. Certainly, after California Girls (intro notwithstanding)  and Help Me Rhonda, the silences and unconventional song structure were something of a shock, leading to a subdued chart performance.

In retrospect, this single-only track was an important stop  on the road to Pet Sounds and SMiLE, with the pocket symphony approach and loss-of-innocence lyrics. As at the start of the 1999 tour, the song is a clear testament to the creativity and genius of Brian.


Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLIV: Tell Me Why

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

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For this writer, this is one of the highlights of the No Pier Pressure album, featuring enough vocal interplay between Brian and Al that Mike Love may have been persuaded that he could have just missed a session for another Beach Boys album. Anyway it’s down as a Brian Wilson solo song, but Al’s still strong voice is an important part of it. The imagery of the lyrics and lovely harmonies certainly take this song to a special place.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLIII: What Ever Happened

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

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Many of the stronger songs on No Pier Pressure have enough Beach Boys on them to persuade you that this is just the follow-up to That’s Why God Made The Radio. What Ever Happened is ft. Al Jardine and David Marks, who are certainly not rap stars, but bona fide Beach Boys.

Regardless of who is on the track, it’s a lovely nostalgic song which reflects on the change happening around us, and in our lives, without being sappy or over-sentimental. It’s definitely a credit to all of Brian, David and Al’s body of work.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLII: Going Home

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

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The penultimate track on That Lucky Old Sun starts off as a pretty standard rocker, but then has an astonishing acapella break where Brian mentions “at 25 I turned out the light, cause I couldn’t handle the glare in my tired eyes.” Although Brian never really went away in 1968/1969, there is a sense of completion in this wonderful work, where Brian returns to his origins in Southern California and the roots of all the things that made him great.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLI: The Right Time

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

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In a perfect sane world, this would have been the album’s massive hit. Brian’s ability to write a perfect pop song hasn’t  been diminished by time , and neither has Al Jardine’s voice. Together, they combine on one of the album’s highlights, with a tune that you won’t easily get out of your head, but also with some transcendental moments, especially at the instrumental break at the end.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXL: Guess You Had To Be There

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

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Doing a collaboration with edgy country star, Kacey Musgraves, may not have given No Pier Pressure the hip quotient that it really deserved, but it remains a track which grows on the listener quite a lot -as does much of Musgraves’ music.  The vocal interplay between Wilson and the country belle is quite engaging, masking somewhat what is actually quite a melancholy breakup song.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXXXIX: Sail Away

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

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As Brian’s American tour ends for 2017, we add to our hidden beauties a song featuring the two former Beach Boys who were an integral part of the tour’s success.

This track could make you believe that we’ve sailed back to the Holland-era Beach Boys , with lead vocals traded between Brian, Al and Blondie Chaplin. It’s another slice of pop perfection, which certainly invokes Sail On, Sailor in more than one way, while still sounding fresh and original. The only injustice is that this wasn’t a big hit (or even a small one).

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXXXVIII: This Beautiful Day

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

It’s time to induct some of No Pier Pressure into the hidden beauties pantheon. Here is what I wrote last year on the opener.

The quiet invocation is a feature of a number of Beach Boys albums, but this is the first time we see one on a Brian Wilson album. In the spirit of Our Prayer, Meant For You or Think About The Days, the overall mood is more important than the lyrics. As with some of Brian’s great work, the feeling of beauty and joy, that elusive moment, is captured by the loveliness of nature.