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Author Topic: Analyzing The Beach Boys's lyrical content  (Read 3557 times)
Don_Zabu
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« on: February 18, 2011, 07:32:57 PM »

I went through all the singles they released in the 60's, both A-Side and B-Side. This gave me a total of 60 songs. Then I started going through them and sorting them by their lyrics into six categories: Surfing, Cars, Relationships (good and bad), Christmas, Instrumental, and Other. My findings were thus:

Surfing: 5
Cars: 5
Relationships: 23
Christmas: 4
Instrumental: 2
Other: 21

Here's what that means statistically:

Surfing: 8%
Cars: 8%
Relationships: 38%
Christmas: 6%
Instrumental: 3%
Other: 35%

Conclusion: out of all the singles The Beach Boys released in the 60's, less than a quarter of them had anything to do with their whole surf-and-hot-rod image. How's that for irony?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 07:34:19 PM by Don_Zabu » Logged
Myk Luhv
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 07:56:35 PM »

This thread needs more graphs and charts. Post your charts and graphs, son.
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Don_Zabu
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 08:07:02 PM »

This thread needs more graphs and charts. Post your charts and graphs, son.


« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 08:12:38 PM by Don_Zabu » Logged
Myk Luhv
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 08:42:43 PM »

This is an awesome thread!
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Don_Zabu
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 08:48:52 PM »

It's about to get awesomer:



(waka-waka-waka-waka)
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Myk Luhv
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 09:01:32 PM »

:v:
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Chris Brown
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2011, 09:11:04 PM »

It's about to get awesomer:



(waka-waka-waka-waka)

 Well played sir  Cool
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Jay
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011, 09:25:16 PM »

I like pac-man . Grin
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Don_Zabu
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2011, 09:39:13 AM »

So if The Beach Boys are Pac-Man, then who are the ghosts?
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STE
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 11:07:47 AM »





Yes, it should rather say Mike Love
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Jonas
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 11:25:35 AM »

LOL @ No data

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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2011, 12:10:09 PM »

I went through all the singles they released in the 60's, both A-Side and B-Side. This gave me a total of 60 songs. Then I started going through them and sorting them by their lyrics into six categories: Surfing, Cars, Relationships (good and bad), Christmas, Instrumental, and Other. My findings were thus:

Surfing: 5
Cars: 5
Relationships: 23
Christmas: 4
Instrumental: 2
Other: 21

Here's what that means statistically:

Surfing: 8%
Cars: 8%
Relationships: 38%
Christmas: 6%
Instrumental: 3%
Other: 35%

Conclusion: out of all the singles The Beach Boys released in the 60's, less than a quarter of them had anything to do with their whole surf-and-hot-rod image. How's that for irony?
I think the data is flawed to draw a conclusion that is labeled "ironic". First off the numbers seem off...Car singles (409, Shut Down, LDC, Fun Fun Fun, I Get Around + Don't Worry Baby (about a drag race), and Be True To Your School (mentioning cruising around) both evoke the car culture as key parts of their lyrical thrust. So Cars number could be 7, or at least 6 with those two previously mentioned getting a 1/2 each. More importantly, the reason the BB's surf and hot-rod image is so prevalent and so deeply ingrained is that those 16% (or adjusted to the larger correct %)  of their '60's releases were major hits that have become constantly recycled standards, getting airplay year after year, decade after decade. You cannot say that about Little Girl i Once Knew or Caroline No or Wild Honey or Darlin or I Can Hear Music...all great songs, but songs that have had a fraction of the exposure that the Surf/Car songs have had, therefore to weight them equally when concluding there is an irony is skewed. Little Richard released a lot of gospel/spiritual stuff but we'll always think of him as Rock and Roll, McCartney released way more McCartney solo than Beatles but we'll always think of him as a Beatle, The Beach Boys released way more music that has nothing to do with Surfin and Cars than does, but will always be thought of as the "Endless Summer" band...Because all of those things had bigger and more lasting impact than simple quantity can define. Wait, maybe that is ironic!
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Don_Zabu
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2011, 05:35:20 PM »

I still think it's funny, though.
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Roger Ryan
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2011, 05:45:38 AM »

It's always struck me that the Beach Boys had a fairly wide range of subject matter, or at least approaches, for their songs beyond what a lot of their contemporaries were doing. Specifically, the Beatles during '62 - '65 seem content to write "you and me, girl"-type songs with little variation. By HELP we start to see a little more introspection creeping in and by REVOLVER the band is pretty much ready to write about anything. But when critics talk about how amazing it is that Lennon appears to be singing about his own insecurity in HELP's title track, I think how well Brian and Gary Usher captured this feeling two years earlier with "In My Room". Even writing within a narrow genre like the "car" songs, we get unabashed declarations of love ("Ballad of Ole Betsy"), suspense-filled narratives ("Shut Down"), even comedy ("No Go Showboat").
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 05:46:38 AM by Roger Ryan » Logged
Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2011, 05:56:57 AM »

But when critics talk about how amazing it is that Lennon appears to be singing about his own insecurity in HELP's title track...

One has to always bear in mind that these critics think The Beatles invented the phonograph (and recording studio, and indeed, the entire recorded music industry) purely so that we could gratefully sample the fruits of their genius. Before The Beatles, there was nothing - just an empty, silent void crying to be filled.
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Don_Zabu
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2011, 08:13:05 AM »

But when critics talk about how amazing it is that Lennon appears to be singing about his own insecurity in HELP's title track...

One has to always bear in mind that these critics think The Beatles invented the phonograph (and recording studio, and indeed, the entire recorded music industry) purely so that we could gratefully sample the fruits of their genius. Before The Beatles, there was nothing - just an empty, silent void crying to be filled.
Which, as we all know, is a bald-faced lie; it was The Beach Boys that did all that.  Grin
</irony>
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drbeachboy
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 09:01:02 AM »

The Beatles "There's A Place" is very similar in theme to "In My Room". Both written within months of each other. The one thing with rock and roll, it deals with all teenage issues.
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Thou Art In Hawthorne,
Harmonied Be Thy name
Your Kingdom Come,
Your Steak Well Done,
On Stage As It Is In Studio,
Give Us This Day, Our Shortenin' Bread
And Forgive Us Our Bootlegs,
As We Also Have Forgiven Our Wife And Managers,
And Lead Us Not Into Kokomo,
But Deliver Us From Mike Love.
Amen.  ---hypehat
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