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Poll
Question: Which do you prefer?
The Beach Boys Today! - 77 (74%)
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) - 27 (26%)
Total Voters: 94

Pages: 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Twofer polls #8: Today! vs Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)  (Read 29255 times)
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« Reply #100 on: August 03, 2012, 12:47:04 PM »

However where Asher's lyrics triumph is that they deal with archetypal and timeless boy/girl themes, not anchored to a place such as Salt Lake City, activity (Amusement Parks) or attitude (California Girls).

Fair enough, but Asher's lyrics get rated as triumphs because they accompany highly emotional music in a complementary manner that is easy to understand. Asher hasn't done anything else of note in his career.
Also, one simply cannot say that California Girls isn't timeless. Time, ironically, itself has proved this to be true. When we're all dead and buried, and The Beach Boys' great-grandchildren are singing their songs onstage, the audience will be singing along to that one. And as much of that appeal is based on the lyrical content as the appeal of Pet Sounds. People dig when guys sing about girls. Especially girls in the audience.
I wish people would see, as I do, that some of the group's most headchanging work is keyed to a seeming dichotomy between the content of the lyrics and how they are expressed. This dichotomy makes the band weird, three-dimensional, non-black-and-white, unique among their peers.
Every time I hear Spirit Of America, for instance, the emotion of the melody, the arrangement, the chords, Brian's heart-tugging vocal nearly brings me to tears. Then I realise that he is singing about a guy breaking the land-speed record. This doesn't diminish my appreciation, it heightens it, sends it to the skies. Because that is what reality is, the things that move us in our daily lives are stolen moments, sometimes things that others would deem entirely trivial. The story behind Spirit Of America is LITERAL trivia. But what Brian finds in that trivia, what he scores it to, is the story of a daredevil recordbreaker, smashing boundaries again the odds of naysayers, personifying the pioneer spirit of the country from which he hails. Now, I don't know about you, but I think that story may be something Brian may have personally related to in a large way, perhaps more so than say, the story of the Chinese coolie building a railroad.
But wait, that's entirely wrong. Smile's central lyrical subject is the pioneering, alternately destructive and creative, manifest destiny spirit in the story of modern civilization. Therefore, the spirit of Smile, the spirit of America itself, in all its paradoxical glory, can already be heard in Spirit Of America.
It is all an emotional mirror image, when one disregards the detail and goes for the heart value of Brian's work.

Well I can't argue with your sentiment here.
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« Reply #101 on: August 03, 2012, 12:56:06 PM »

I promise I'll stop, to the delight of many here, after this, but: one of my favorite lyrics to any song is actually in Amusement Parks USA, when Mike sings:

At first you'll be a chicken at the jackhammer ride/But you'll do it with a girl sitting right by your side

To me, this illuminates, in a clearer fashion than anything else I have heard/read, the nature of the American masculine ego, in which one can only "man up" when in the presence of what one perceives as greater "weakness". In this silly song, an essential, heavy truth is buried and unrecognised. Probably by design.
In my opinion.
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« Reply #102 on: August 03, 2012, 01:18:05 PM »

Every time I hear Spirit Of America, for instance, the emotion of the melody, the arrangement, the chords, Brian's heart-tugging vocal nearly brings me to tears. Then I realise that he is singing about a guy breaking the land-speed record. This doesn't diminish my appreciation, it heightens it, sends it to the skies. Because that is what reality is, the things that move us in our daily lives are stolen moments, sometimes things that others would deem entirely trivial. The story behind Spirit Of America is LITERAL trivia. But what Brian finds in that trivia, what he scores it to, is the story of a daredevil recordbreaker, smashing boundaries again the odds of naysayers, personifying the pioneer spirit of the country from which he hails.

You know, I just finished watching 'The Tree of Life' 15 minutes ago and goddammit if that isn't the precise notion I took away from it.  That is some profound sh*t.
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« Reply #103 on: August 03, 2012, 01:21:30 PM »

Every time I hear Spirit Of America, for instance, the emotion of the melody, the arrangement, the chords, Brian's heart-tugging vocal nearly brings me to tears. Then I realise that he is singing about a guy breaking the land-speed record. This doesn't diminish my appreciation, it heightens it, sends it to the skies. Because that is what reality is, the things that move us in our daily lives are stolen moments, sometimes things that others would deem entirely trivial. The story behind Spirit Of America is LITERAL trivia. But what Brian finds in that trivia, what he scores it to, is the story of a daredevil recordbreaker, smashing boundaries again the odds of naysayers, personifying the pioneer spirit of the country from which he hails.

You know, I just finished watching 'The Tree of Life' 15 minutes ago and goddammit if that isn't the precise notion I took away from it.  That is some profound sh*t.


Ahh, I love that movie very, very much, so that probably filtered through my thoughts without my knowing it.
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« Reply #104 on: August 03, 2012, 01:27:02 PM »

Every time I hear Spirit Of America, for instance, the emotion of the melody, the arrangement, the chords, Brian's heart-tugging vocal nearly brings me to tears. Then I realise that he is singing about a guy breaking the land-speed record. This doesn't diminish my appreciation, it heightens it, sends it to the skies. Because that is what reality is, the things that move us in our daily lives are stolen moments, sometimes things that others would deem entirely trivial. The story behind Spirit Of America is LITERAL trivia. But what Brian finds in that trivia, what he scores it to, is the story of a daredevil recordbreaker, smashing boundaries again the odds of naysayers, personifying the pioneer spirit of the country from which he hails.

You know, I just finished watching 'The Tree of Life' 15 minutes ago and goddammit if that isn't the precise notion I took away from it.  That is some profound sh*t.

Man I've never cried so much at a movie as that - was actually embarrassed in the theatre!
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« Reply #105 on: August 03, 2012, 01:30:55 PM »

Oh gawd - I had a painful knot in my throat the whole time.  The last 1/2 hour absolutely gutted me.

Back to the lyrics now.  I get it.  When I'm on my deathbed (assuming that's how I exit) it's not the big picture stuff I'll be reflecting on, it'll be the little things of no real significance to any one but me. 
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« Reply #106 on: August 03, 2012, 01:33:54 PM »

Every time I hear Spirit Of America, for instance, the emotion of the melody, the arrangement, the chords, Brian's heart-tugging vocal nearly brings me to tears. Then I realise that he is singing about a guy breaking the land-speed record. This doesn't diminish my appreciation, it heightens it, sends it to the skies. Because that is what reality is, the things that move us in our daily lives are stolen moments, sometimes things that others would deem entirely trivial. The story behind Spirit Of America is LITERAL trivia. But what Brian finds in that trivia, what he scores it to, is the story of a daredevil recordbreaker, smashing boundaries again the odds of naysayers, personifying the pioneer spirit of the country from which he hails.

You know, I just finished watching 'The Tree of Life' 15 minutes ago and goddammit if that isn't the precise notion I took away from it.  That is some profound sh*t.

That is probably the best movie I have ever seen. In fact, kinda coincidental: I watched the creation scene on youtube just a few hours ago.
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« Reply #107 on: August 03, 2012, 01:47:21 PM »

Oh gawd - I had a painful knot in my throat the whole time.  The last 1/2 hour absolutely gutted me.

Back to the lyrics now.  I get it.  When I'm on my deathbed (assuming that's how I exit) it's not the big picture stuff I'll be reflecting on, it'll be the little things of no real significance to any one but me. 

Brian Wilson is the Stolen Moment Man of music. Things like Games Two Can Play, I Went To Sleep, Busy Doin' Nothing, I'd Love Just Once To See You, Everybody Wants To Live, Still I Dream Of It, etc. to infinity. Hell, Chug-A-Lug fits the bill, it may as well be American Graffiti. A root beer run caught in time, all suspects named. I wish I was back at a time when I felt like a cold root beer could save my life.
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« Reply #108 on: August 03, 2012, 02:28:36 PM »

Oh gawd - I had a painful knot in my throat the whole time.  The last 1/2 hour absolutely gutted me.

Back to the lyrics now.  I get it.  When I'm on my deathbed (assuming that's how I exit) it's not the big picture stuff I'll be reflecting on, it'll be the little things of no real significance to any one but me. 

Brian Wilson is the Stolen Moment Man of music. Things like Games Two Can Play, I Went To Sleep, Busy Doin' Nothing, I'd Love Just Once To See You, Everybody Wants To Live, Still I Dream Of It, etc. to infinity. Hell, Chug-A-Lug fits the bill, it may as well be American Graffiti. A root beer run caught in time, all suspects named. I wish I was back at a time when I felt like a cold root beer could save my life.
And that, folks, settles the lyric debate as far as I'm concerned.  Absolutely on the mark.  Sign me up! 
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« Reply #109 on: August 03, 2012, 02:35:45 PM »

My vote has to be Today! quite easily.  I think Today! is a near perfect album while Summer Days is merely good with notable highlights.  Summer Days fits more naturally after All Summer Long than Today did stylistically, and if I didn't know any better I would think the order of the two was reversed.  Nevertheless, while Today! is a landmark and the better album, Summer Days does demonstrate some notable steps forward in comparison to anything before Today (though I'd probably say All Summer Long and Surfer Girl are more well-rounded)  I'm pleased to have both.  That two albums of this level can be put out in a year is an achievement in itself.  As usual, here are my song rankings...

Kiss Me, Baby
Please Let Me Wonder
She Knows Me Too Well
Let Him Run Wild
In the Back of My Mind
I'm So Young
When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)
You're So Good To Me
California Girls
Do You Wanna Dance
Then I Kissed Her
Summer Means New Love
Girl Don't Tell Me
Dance, Dance, Dance
Good to My Baby
Help Me, Rhonda
Don't Hurt My Little Sister
Salt Lake City
The Girl From New York City
I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man
And Your Dream Comes True
Help Me, Ronda
Amusement Parks U.S.A.
Bull Sessions with "Big Daddy"

I should also point out as someone who doesn't care that much about lyrics that my vote is based on the music, in particular the breathtaking, sonically unpredictable ballads of side two.  I don't always favour melancholic songs, but I tend to find as far as the Beach Boys go the ballads take me to places very few songs can.
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« Reply #110 on: August 03, 2012, 02:57:43 PM »

Oh gawd - I had a painful knot in my throat the whole time.  The last 1/2 hour absolutely gutted me.

Back to the lyrics now.  I get it.  When I'm on my deathbed (assuming that's how I exit) it's not the big picture stuff I'll be reflecting on, it'll be the little things of no real significance to any one but me. 

Brian Wilson is the Stolen Moment Man of music. Things like Games Two Can Play, I Went To Sleep, Busy Doin' Nothing, I'd Love Just Once To See You, Everybody Wants To Live, Still I Dream Of It, etc. to infinity. Hell, Chug-A-Lug fits the bill, it may as well be American Graffiti. A root beer run caught in time, all suspects named. I wish I was back at a time when I felt like a cold root beer could save my life.
And that, folks, settles the lyric debate as far as I'm concerned.  Absolutely on the mark.  Sign me up! 

But that wasn't the debate, at least it didn't start out that way. Ian originally raised the question why "fun" lyrics/songs aren't held to the same level and esteem as the serious, "emotional" themes and songs.

Nobody is arguing with Ian or anyone else about the merits and how enjoyable it is to listen to the early stuff. A very, very large percentage of Beach Boys' fans LOVE the early recordings. They respect it, defend it, and consistently pull it out and listen to it. But, for some reason, we (whoever that might be) tend to rate/judge/argue that the later, non-fun, "emotional" music is somehow superior. That was the question, not whether we can still enjoy and appreciate the surf & turf tunes. They are two separate issues.
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« Reply #111 on: August 03, 2012, 03:46:50 PM »

Oh gawd - I had a painful knot in my throat the whole time.  The last 1/2 hour absolutely gutted me.

Back to the lyrics now.  I get it.  When I'm on my deathbed (assuming that's how I exit) it's not the big picture stuff I'll be reflecting on, it'll be the little things of no real significance to any one but me. 

Brian Wilson is the Stolen Moment Man of music. Things like Games Two Can Play, I Went To Sleep, Busy Doin' Nothing, I'd Love Just Once To See You, Everybody Wants To Live, Still I Dream Of It, etc. to infinity. Hell, Chug-A-Lug fits the bill, it may as well be American Graffiti. A root beer run caught in time, all suspects named. I wish I was back at a time when I felt like a cold root beer could save my life.
And that, folks, settles the lyric debate as far as I'm concerned.  Absolutely on the mark.  Sign me up! 

But that wasn't the debate, at least it didn't start out that way. Ian originally raised the question why "fun" lyrics/songs aren't held to the same level and esteem as the serious, "emotional" themes and songs.

Nobody is arguing with Ian or anyone else about the merits and how enjoyable it is to listen to the early stuff. A very, very large percentage of Beach Boys' fans LOVE the early recordings. They respect it, defend it, and consistently pull it out and listen to it. But, for some reason, we (whoever that might be) tend to rate/judge/argue that the later, non-fun, "emotional" music is somehow superior. That was the question, not whether we can still enjoy and appreciate the surf & turf tunes. They are two separate issues.

It also ignores the fact that, as with any genre, there are varying levels of quality.  A song with juvenile lyrics can be great if it manages to speak to the listener in a way that resonates.  Fun Fun Fun and I Get Around are among the best examples of that.  And California Girls is arguably the culmination of all of the Beach Boys' songs to that point.  But it doesn't make sense to simply claim that *all* early Beach Boys songs are great.  They're not.  Salt Lake City, despite a fantastic instrumental track, fails due to ludicrous lyrics.  Any chance that Amusement Parks had to be a good song was defeated by Hal's carnival barker routine.  And I'm Bugged is a not-funny novelty tune that wears out its welcome very quickly.
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« Reply #112 on: August 03, 2012, 04:39:26 PM »

A lot of these "lightweight" early lyrics are really clever. Mike and Brian both had (have) a really good sense of humor and could weave that into their lyrics while they were telling stories or relating a feeling or experience to a listener. Like Sheriff alluded to above, a huge majority of people that are Beach Boys fans love those songs. As much as we value all the Boys music across their career, there is a reason the early hits are the most well-known and accessible lyrics are a big part of that. On their surface they may be singing about girls, cars or absolutely nothing, but they really do an amazing job drawing a listener in and are usually a great compliment to Brian's music.

Besides, "She shimmies, she shakes, she's got the biggest asp in town." That is awesome.
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« Reply #113 on: August 03, 2012, 06:29:29 PM »

Today! for me. SDSN is really, really good, in fact, great, but there is just something about that transition Brian made with Today that is just fantastic.
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« Reply #114 on: August 03, 2012, 09:57:12 PM »

But, for some reason, we (whoever that might be) tend to rate/judge/argue that the later, non-fun, "emotional" music is somehow superior. That was the question

Yes, and that was the subject of the debate, the whole way through. Every post of mine was attacking the heart of that notion. How did you miss that?
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« Reply #115 on: August 03, 2012, 09:58:19 PM »

Salt Lake City, despite a fantastic instrumental track, fails due to ludicrous lyrics.  Any chance that Amusement Parks had to be a good song was defeated by Hal's carnival barker routine.  And I'm Bugged is a not-funny novelty tune that wears out its welcome very quickly.

No. All those songs are great. I, and other don't find these classic Beach Boys songs ludicrous, defeated or unfunny. The Beach Boys rule, I defend their great material on a Beach Boys message board, I win, the people who truly love the band win.
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« Reply #116 on: August 03, 2012, 10:07:44 PM »

I'll go with Today..."She Knows Me Too Well," "Kiss Me Baby," and "Please Let Me Wonder" by themselves put it among the band's top five for me. But Brian has been talking about SD(ASN) a lot in interviews lately, apparently hinting that whenever that rock'n'roll album gets made, it might serve as a kind of model. Which'd be all right with me if it means going in a "Salt Lake City" or "Help Me Rhonda" direction.  Even some of the lesser tracks on it have impressive moments - like the utterly inspired variations on the "Palisades Park" hook in "Amusement Parks USA."
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« Reply #117 on: August 03, 2012, 10:50:55 PM »

47 years later and I still don't know what makes "Salt Lake City"'s lyrics ludicrous
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« Reply #118 on: August 03, 2012, 11:25:42 PM »

Salt Lake City, despite a fantastic instrumental track, fails due to ludicrous lyrics.  Any chance that Amusement Parks had to be a good song was defeated by Hal's carnival barker routine.  And I'm Bugged is a not-funny novelty tune that wears out its welcome very quickly.

No. All those songs are great. I, and other don't find these classic Beach Boys songs ludicrous, defeated or unfunny. The Beach Boys rule, I defend their great material on a Beach Boys message board, I win, the people who truly love the band win.

Fun, fun, fun is a great Mike Love lyric. I Get Around and Warmth Of The Sun, and All Summer Long similarly great. It's difficult to pin down exactly what makes them work as for the most part they're dumb and sound like they were written in the car on the way to the studio, but there's an immediacy with Mike's best writing that, coupled with Brian's effortlessly joyous backing tracks, have an instantaneous effect and universal appeal. They're of their time but in a way that becomes iconic, emblematic of a 50s utopian ideal, representative of youth in all its invincible glory. This is why I get Around ends up on a British washing detergent commercial 50 years after it was written and still sounds energized.

Amusement Parks is not a great Mike Love lyric. You think its fabulously pictorial, I think the combination of track, lyrics, sound effects and Hal's routine are overdone and leave nothing to the imagination. It's like a child's picture book where the pictures and words both repeat each other, rather than working in harmony to reveal secrets depicted in neither. The characters and scenes hinted at in the songs I mention above, on the other hand, take on a life of their own, fully realised in the listener's imagination.

Salt Lake City is not a great Mike love lyric:

Down in Utah
The guys and I dig a city called Salt Lake
It's got the grooviest kids
That's why we never get tired of Salt Lake
And the way the kids talk so cool
Is an out of sight thing
And the number one radio station
Makes the town really swing yeah
Salt Lake City we'll be coming soon


No explanation needed there. To suggest all Mike Love lyrics are great (which you're not far off here) is an insult to Mike Love and the band. To suggest those who don't appreciate the lyrics to these songs don't 'truly love the band' is, at best, twaddle.
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« Reply #119 on: August 04, 2012, 02:03:41 AM »

Salt Lake City, despite a fantastic instrumental track, fails due to ludicrous lyrics.  Any chance that Amusement Parks had to be a good song was defeated by Hal's carnival barker routine.  And I'm Bugged is a not-funny novelty tune that wears out its welcome very quickly.

No. All those songs are great. I, and other don't find these classic Beach Boys songs ludicrous, defeated or unfunny. The Beach Boys rule, I defend their great material on a Beach Boys message board, I win, the people who truly love the band win.

People who truly love music have the ability to distinguish between "great" and not great.
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« Reply #120 on: August 04, 2012, 11:27:53 AM »

Hal's laugh in "Amusement Parks USA" is like the best thing ever. I wish the multitracks would be released as to make it sound more demonic. I attempted it with the original version, but I don't have it on this computer.

But yeah. I am a fan.
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« Reply #121 on: August 04, 2012, 01:14:48 PM »

Hal's laugh in "Amusement Parks USA" is like the best thing ever. I wish the multitracks would be released as to make it sound more demonic. I attempted it with the original version, but I don't have it on this computer.

But yeah. I am a fan.

It's an insane song - i love it! I've always loved the creepy music you get at fairgrounds and Amusement Parks USA, whether intentionally or not, perfectly represents that. (Isn't it Brian doing the crazy laugh by the way, not Hal? And who says 'She looks like a fake to me'? It always makes me laugh! I've always thought it was Dennis...)
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« Reply #122 on: August 04, 2012, 02:13:05 PM »

I'm gonna get flamed all to hell for this, but these two albums always felt very "cut from the same cloth" to me, so much so that, sans a few songs, I generally forget which song is from which album. I know Summer Days was an attempt to write more typical Beach Boys songs than Today, but they're still just kind of one big blur of greatness, to me. That's why it's impossible for me to choose.

Hal's laugh in "Amusement Parks USA" is like the best thing ever. I wish the multitracks would be released as to make it sound more demonic. I attempted it with the original version, but I don't have it on this computer.

But yeah. I am a fan.

It's an insane song - i love it! I've always loved the creepy music you get at fairgrounds and Amusement Parks USA, whether intentionally or not, perfectly represents that. (Isn't it Brian doing the crazy laugh by the way, not Hal? And who says 'She looks like a fake to me'? It always makes me laugh! I've always thought it was Dennis...)

^_^ yerp.
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« Reply #123 on: August 04, 2012, 02:15:38 PM »

Salt Lake City, despite a fantastic instrumental track, fails due to ludicrous lyrics.  Any chance that Amusement Parks had to be a good song was defeated by Hal's carnival barker routine.  And I'm Bugged is a not-funny novelty tune that wears out its welcome very quickly.

No. All those songs are great. I, and other don't find these classic Beach Boys songs ludicrous, defeated or unfunny. The Beach Boys rule, I defend their great material on a Beach Boys message board, I win, the people who truly love the band win.

People who truly love music have the ability to distinguish between "great" and not great.

Exactly. Maybe someday you'll be able to, though. I have faith in you.
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I. Spaceman
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Revolution Never Again


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« Reply #124 on: August 04, 2012, 02:20:17 PM »


Amusement Parks is not a great Mike Love lyric. You think its fabulously pictorial, I think the combination of track, lyrics, sound effects and Hal's routine are overdone and leave nothing to the imagination. It's like a child's picture book where the pictures and words both repeat each other, rather than working in harmony to reveal secrets depicted in neither. The characters and scenes hinted at in the songs I mention above, on the other hand, take on a life of their own, fully realised in the listener's imagination.

Salt Lake City is not a great Mike love lyric:

Down in Utah
The guys and I dig a city called Salt Lake
It's got the grooviest kids
That's why we never get tired of Salt Lake
And the way the kids talk so cool
Is an out of sight thing
And the number one radio station
Makes the town really swing yeah
Salt Lake City we'll be coming soon


No explanation needed there. To suggest all Mike Love lyrics are great (which you're not far off here) is an insult to Mike Love and the band. To suggest those who don't appreciate the lyrics to these songs don't 'truly love the band' is, at best, twaddle.

They're both great lyrics. Again, I am tired of defending the band on a message board dedicated to them, against people who have no soul. If it was a face-to-face conversation at some Beach Boys fan gathering, I would walk away laughing from anyone who told me they disliked those two tracks and I wouldn't have any interest in anything they would have to say. That's my prerogative, as it is for you to dislike great Beach Boys music and think of yourself as somehow "discerning". Using the example of a child's picture book as a negative when describing Brian Wilson music, for me that just says it all. He is the Adult Child. And focusing on lyrics as a definitive element when discussing the band is missing it entirely as well.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 02:22:40 PM by I. Spaceman » Logged

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