Archive for the ‘Brian’s Hidden Beauties’ Category

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXXI: In My Room

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

The criteria for inclusion in my Brian’s Hidden Beauties series is any song written or co-written by Brian Wilson that I feel is underrated for some reason. Given that In My Room is a staple of many compilations, it’s inclusion here may seem odd -but since it was only a B-side, I am going to rule that it qualifies as not quite a top-tier Beach Boys hit, and therefore worthy of inclusion. And it gives me an opportunity to write about this song.

The very first Beach Boys music I owned was a copied cassette of a greatest hits collection- and this was one of the songs that really impressed me, and made me realize that the Beach Boys were not just a surf novelty band. For 1963, it was an astonishingly personal song and introspective song, matched possibly only by their soon to be transatlantic rivals from the Liverpool’s There’s A Place.

Given Brian’s retreat from public life in the 70s, this song takes on an additional poignancy, but it remains one of the most perfect of the early Brian Wilson songs, and a song that many people, especially those of us with a more introverted nature, can relate to always.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXX: One For The Boys

Friday, February 15th, 2019

Whether it was a deliberate tilt at the other Beach Boys or not, One For The Boys is a beautiful track on Brian Wilson’s first eponymous solo album, showcasing acapella harmonies that would make you think that Brian was still working with the other Boys. Clocking in at under two minutes, it is short and very, very sweet.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXIX: Our New Home

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

While there was undoubtedly a lot of turmoil in Brian Wilson’s life around 1968, his music seems to reflect a level of domestic harmony -this can be seen by looking at the song titles. Another example of this has been unearthed on the recent Wake The World collection – Our New Home is another Brian Wilson instrumental idea that shows that he was still productive that year, even if not finishing off things at the same rate as before. However, again this stands alone as a great piece of music – simpler, and more reflective than the Be Here In The Morning Darling, and fitting nicely into the lo-fi ethos of that era.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXVIII: Be Here In The Morning Darling

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

One of the treasures of the new 1968 compilations  is the Brian Wilson-composed instrumental, Be Here In The Morning Darling. The title may indicate it is a derivation of one of the released tracks from Friends, but it is actually a completely different piece of music -one that stands alone well as an instrumental, and indicates that even in 1968, Brian was still doing “big band” music with interesting percussive effects -the drumming is some of the strongest in the Beach Boys canon. This song alone is a great Christmas present and an immediate inductee in our “hidden beauties.”

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXVII: No-Go Showboat

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

For our next “hidden booty”, we’ll go back to the early days of the Beach Boys and a track from the Little Deuce Coupe album.  No Go Showboat  is a dazzling example of the bands brilliant harmonies, and creating an atmospheric track about a pretty car that won’t really go very fast. The Timers released a single with this song, but it never made it anywhere in the charts -however it remains another great example of Brian’s musical development even in the early 60s.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXVI: Girl Don’t Tell Me

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

With a recent blog focus on the Beatles, it’s time to look at a song which is one of the most Beatles-esque in the Beach Boys canon, Girl Don’t Tell Me. It is a significant track for another reason -while Carl’s first lead vocal was on Pom Pom Play Girl, from this track on-wards, Carl became a regular lead vocalist for the band.

Featuring Brian playing on celeste, this 1965 track features Brian at the top of his composing game at the height of the bands commercial popularity -even if it is stylistically closer to the bands’ greatest rivals than just about every other original Beach Boys song.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXV: Spring Vacation

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Spring is coming to the southern hemisphere, even although most readers will be thinking of autumn. So it’s time to return to our hidden beauties, and with the recent Sirius XM “reunion”, remind ourselves of the brief unity within the Beach Boys in 2012.

This track has taken a bit of flack for the possibly less than poetic lyrics and the possibly cynical phrase “easy money.” Indeed, this may have been one of the tracks that one could have dreaded, having seen the tracklist.

But never judge a book by the cover, or a song by the title. Spring Vacation is a great pop tune, and an instant singalong, and the lyrical theme of unity in strength is hardly controversial.

Ultimately, pop music isn’t about the the lyrics alone, but the way the combination of melody, rhythm and lyrics makes you feel. And with the simple joys expressed by this song, it’s a singular success.

 

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXIV: When A Man Needs A Woman

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

We complete our trio of hidden beauties marking the golden anniversary of the Friends album with When A Man Needs A Woman. The fifth track of the album is Brian’s ode to the facts of life just at the point he became a father for the first time (Carnie Wilson was born in April 1968.) Like just about the entire Friends album , the song reflects the “transcendental” era of the joys of daily life, with suitable light musical background and harmonies.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXIII: Diamond Head

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

We continue our focus on the golden anniversary of the Friends album as we look at the penultimate track. Seemingly written by committee and possibly partly made-up in the studio, Diamond Head still has the hallmarks of classic Brian Wilson. He creates an impressive Hawaiian soundscape in this instrumental, showing that his production skills were still intact. The final track of the album jolts us back to reality, but on Diamond Head , the relaxing, contemplative nature of the album is at its fore.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXII: Be Here In The Morning

Friday, June 8th, 2018

With the Friends album’s 50th anniversary just a few weeks ago, it’s a good time to induct a few more tracks from the album to our pantheon of “hidden beauties.” Be Here In The Morning has one of the highest-pitched vocals on any Beach Boys record -and many fans including myself were surprised to find out that it is not Brian Wilson’s falsetto, but Al Jardine.

As with much of the Friends album, this is a laid-back track extolling the simple joys of life and love, and getting away from the increasing craziness of the world outside.