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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 26854 times)
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« Reply #75 on: August 03, 2012, 09:25:26 AM »

On paper, Helter Skelterís lyrics suck. McCartney clearly pulled them out of his ass over a three-drink lunch. Any social statement hidden within was applied to the song later by imaginative hippies, mass murderers and McCartney revisionists who want to make him look as socially conscious as Lennon (see also: Blackbird). I could do the same thing with Amusement Parks USA if you give me half an hour to think about it (the song is really about the Military-Industrial Complex and the automobile industry destroying a way of American life).

Well, lyrics don't have to be "socially conscious" in order to be complex. But I think if one is going to take lyricism seriously then step one would be acknowledging that lyrics are not the same as speaking in a conversation - that the form itself demands a kind of abstract way of thinking. And from my point of view, a certain degree of abstraction help me become more involved with the lyrics because it forces me to use my imagination and therefore I engage with the work on a whole other level. It also means that as a listener, we become privy to a world of experience that we don't typically engage with in our everyday life. To me, this is why McCartney's lyrics, whatever condition they were written in, are more interesting than Amusement Parks USA, which doesn't leave much room for listener engagement or imagination. But that doesn't necessarily make the song itself better.
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« Reply #76 on: August 03, 2012, 09:51:28 AM »

I've just came home from work to discover I opened a BIG can of worms this morning with my 'backwards step lyrically' remark. I still stand by it in that much of Summer Days! music deserved better lyrics than what they got.
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« Reply #77 on: August 03, 2012, 10:03:09 AM »

I've just came home from work to discover I opened a BIG can of worms this morning with my 'backwards step lyrically' remark. I still stand by it in that much of Summer Days! music deserved better lyrics than what they got.

Bob Dylan, Wordsworth and Jesus would have had to collaborate on them, then.
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« Reply #78 on: August 03, 2012, 10:19:32 AM »

Ego, The Beatles wrote about a fairground slide, and no one seems to mind that.

Haha - well, I really like Amusement Parks USA and was, in fact, defending it here a few weeks ago but it's amusing that you make a comparison to Helter Skelter. I mean the lyrics to that aren't:

There's a great big slide just a few miles away
All the kids love to go when they're ready to play
They're going down (helter skelter helter helter skelter)
They're going down (helter skellter helter helter skelter)
Helter skelter's gonna bring you to the ground

But they aren't much better than that.

On paper, Helter Skelterís lyrics suck. McCartney clearly pulled them out of his ass over a three-drink lunch. Any social statement hidden within was applied to the song later by imaginative hippies, mass murderers and McCartney revisionists who want to make him look as socially conscious as Lennon (see also: Blackbird). I could do the same thing with Amusement Parks USA if you give me half an hour to think about it (the song is really about the Military-Industrial Complex and the automobile industry destroying a way of American life).

I don't care if you like Today more, but I have to clear my throat when I hear the old "step backward" song and dance bullsh*t that people probably picked up from David Leaf liner notes or something. It's hogwash. There is clear advancement. It's a sophisticated album. And it contains their two biggest songs. If the lyrics to California Girls are so bad then why does every person on the planet know them by heart? It's like mocking the Star Spangled Banner.

The Today/Summer Days & Pet Sounds/Smile musical pendulum is reflective of the artist's (Brian Wilson) bipolar disorder.  

Well comparing Helter Skelter/Amusement Parks based on the shared subject matter is a red herring anyway and frankly absurd - We'd do well to move beyond that. But to suggest Helter Skelter is just a song about a fairground ride is ridiculous. Even if McCartney wrote the lyrics that way, by the time they lay down the track there's something else going on.

I accept that SDSN is as much a Brian album as Today or Pet Sounds. Musically of course it's more sophisticated than Today - I don't think anyone's denying that. But lyrically it falls flat in places and compared to other albums released by major artists that year it's out of step. If Brian had kept Mike as a lyricist for the following 2 albums (Party excepted) we'd have got more of the same and the BBS would be held in far lower critical regard today. Before I get piled on, I like Mike's surf/sun/fun lyrics, but they were growing tired by 65. That's my main point here.

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« Reply #79 on: August 03, 2012, 10:27:56 AM »

Quote
But to suggest Helter Skelter is just a song about a fairground ride is ridiculous. Even if McCartney wrote the lyrics that way, by the time they lay down the track there's something else going on.

Quote
When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and then I go for a ride
'Til I get to the bottom and I see you again, yeh, yeh yeh

Do you, don't you want me to love you
I'm coming down fast, but I'm miles above you
Tell me, tell me tell me, c'mon tell me the answer
Well you may be a lover but you ain't no dancer.

Now Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, yeah ...

a-Will you, won't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast, but don't let me break you
Tell me, tell me, tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer.

Look out!
Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, oooh...
Look out, 'cause here she come ...

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop and I turn and then I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again, yeh, yeh yeh

Well do you, don't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast, but don't let me break you
Tell me, tell me, tell me your answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer

Look out!
helter skelter, helter skelter, helter skelter

Look out! Helter Skelter ... she coming down fast
yes she is
yes she is
coming down fast


Am I missing something? Where does this reveal deep meaning? C'mon...McCartney was riffing on the guitar and was singing some scat words and this is what came out. You probably think "Mumbo" is McCartney's "Desolation Row" (then again, it very well might be).
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« Reply #80 on: August 03, 2012, 10:31:43 AM »


Well comparing Helter Skelter/Amusement Parks based on the shared subject matter is a red herring anyway and frankly absurd - We'd do well to move beyond that.

Maybe "Being for the Benefit Mr. Kite' is a better option? Oh, but Lennon stole those off a poster. Nevermind.
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« Reply #81 on: August 03, 2012, 10:38:50 AM »


Well comparing Helter Skelter/Amusement Parks based on the shared subject matter is a red herring anyway and frankly absurd - We'd do well to move beyond that. But to suggest Helter Skelter is just a song about a fairground ride is ridiculous. Even if McCartney wrote the lyrics that way, by the time they lay down the track there's something else going on.

To suggest Amusement Parks and Salt Lake City are just songs about their lyrical subject matter was the absurdity that prompted the absurdity you are discussing. By the time the tracks for Parks and SLC were recorded, there was REALLY something else going on, something well beyond The Beatles and George Martin's musical reach. I mean, who the hell cares about the lyrics to any Stones record? Do they get judged for the nonsensical lyrics Jagger admits to writing? No, because the RECORD is the thing. Same with The Beach Boys. Same with Phil Spector. Same with the Ramones.
I love the lyrics to Pet Sounds and Smile as much as anyone, but they are the mere cherry on top of the cake, a bonus. Even Van Dyke Parks thinks that. Brian Wilson's music is the cake, and all of his great recordings are equal to one another.
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« Reply #82 on: August 03, 2012, 10:47:42 AM »


Well comparing Helter Skelter/Amusement Parks based on the shared subject matter is a red herring anyway and frankly absurd - We'd do well to move beyond that. But to suggest Helter Skelter is just a song about a fairground ride is ridiculous. Even if McCartney wrote the lyrics that way, by the time they lay down the track there's something else going on.

I love the lyrics to Pet Sounds and Smile as much as anyone, but they are the mere cherry on top of the cake, a bonus. Even Van Dyke Parks thinks that. Brian Wilson's music is the cake, and all of his great recordings are equal to one another.

Can't disagree with that.
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« Reply #83 on: August 03, 2012, 10:48:28 AM »

I think the guys had made the definitive "fun in the sun" statement with All Summer Long. Amusement Parks USA and Salt Lake City add nothing that hasn't already been said before better. You're So Good To Me uses very lazy rhyming patterns and Bugged at My Ol' Man is just a bad song period.

4 songs dragging down a record that could have otherwise surpassed Today!. I think they had to rush somewhat to meet a summer deadline, and overall the album suffers as a result.
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« Reply #84 on: August 03, 2012, 10:50:35 AM »

I think the guys had made the definitive "fun in the sun" statement with All Summer Long. Amusement Parks USA and Salt Lake City add nothing that hasn't already been said before better.

Absolutely - diminishing returns.
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« Reply #85 on: August 03, 2012, 10:55:59 AM »

Yeah, it is frustrating, isn't it?

What, that people here don't just blindly agree with your whacked out opinions? Fella, you have your own board for that.

Listen, you clueless teabag, you are what I wipe off the bottom of my shoe after I walk through my lawn. Your opinions are square and laughable, and have been cribbed off others. Me and others laughed at you when you were on The Smile Shop, we were just too nice to tell you to your face.

Are you 6 years old?

I'm telling you the truth. You think you can say what you said, and not get it back threefold, you little poncy reject? Why didn't you speak to Bubba Ho-Tep that way?

I like Bubba Ho Tep.

Me too. Especially that bit when Bruce Campbell whacks the giant bug with his bed pan!
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« Reply #86 on: August 03, 2012, 11:03:55 AM »

Ya'll are listening to Beach Boys records, specifically a heartfelt, soulful tune such as You're So Good To Me, one of the GROOVIEST pop records ever made, and thinking about "lazy rhyming patterns"? Seriously?
Amusement Parks and Salt Lake City are about specific things not covered by ASL, as 'Til I Die is about a specific emotional state not entirely covered by Pet Sounds. Both entirely valid when suffused by the incredible music and arrangements of Brian Wilson.
There is AS MUCH VARIATION to be explored when dealing with "fun" subjects, if not more so, as there is when dealing with "weightier" topics. Let's just admit it: folks who come to Brian Wilson through the anguish of Pet Sounds and the dizzying beautiful insanity of Smile do not like the earlier material as much simply because they do not relate as much to being outside and having a great time, in the sun, with a pretty girl (or guy, depending on your sex/preference).
Mike Love's "fun" lyrics of the era are excellent artistic successors to the collected works of Chuck Berry, the true greatest lyricist in rock and roll.
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« Reply #87 on: August 03, 2012, 11:07:19 AM »

Ya'll are listening to Beach Boys records, specifically a heartfelt, soulful tune such as You're So Good To Me, one of the GROOVIEST pop records ever made, and thinking about "lazy rhyming patterns"? Seriously?

Now this I agree with 100 percent.

And every night/you hold me so tight/when I kiss you goodbye
You're so good to me/and I love it/love it.

If that's a lazy rhyming pattern......
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« Reply #88 on: August 03, 2012, 11:09:23 AM »

I think the guys had made the definitive "fun in the sun" statement with All Summer Long. Amusement Parks USA and Salt Lake City add nothing that hasn't already been said before better. You're So Good To Me uses very lazy rhyming patterns and Bugged at My Ol' Man is just a bad song period.

4 songs dragging down a record that could have otherwise surpassed Today!. I think they had to rush somewhat to meet a summer deadline, and overall the album suffers as a result.
You're right, maybe it is just the 1965 version of Shut Down Volume 2. Brian was always under the gun from Capitol for new product or maybe he was going for a lighter vibe than what was presented on Today.
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« Reply #89 on: August 03, 2012, 11:19:49 AM »

Ya'll are listening to Beach Boys records, specifically a heartfelt, soulful tune such as You're So Good To Me, one of the GROOVIEST pop records ever made, and thinking about "lazy rhyming patterns"? Seriously?
Amusement Parks and Salt Lake City are about specific things not covered by ASL, as 'Til I Die is about a specific emotional state not entirely covered by Pet Sounds. Both entirely valid when suffused by the incredible music and arrangements of Brian Wilson.
There is AS MUCH VARIATION to be explored when dealing with "fun" subjects, if not more so, as there is when dealing with "weightier" topics. Let's just admit it: folks who come to Brian Wilson through the anguish of Pet Sounds and the dizzying beautiful insanity of Smile do not like the earlier material as much simply because they do not relate as much to being outside and having a great time, in the sun, with a pretty girl (or guy, depending on your sex/preference).
Mike Love's "fun" lyrics of the era are excellent artistic successors to the collected works of Chuck Berry, the true greatest lyricist in rock and roll.

I rank Surfin' USA ahead of Smile and Pet Sounds in my personal BB's top 10, so it's not as if I hold a predudice towards the earlier stuff. It's just that there are average summertime songs as well as great ones and Summer Days (IMO) holds a couple of the former.



4 songs dragging down a record that could have otherwise surpassed Today!. I think they had to rush somewhat to meet a summer deadline, and overall the album suffers as a result.
You're right, maybe it is just the 1965 version of Shut Down Volume 2. Brian was always under the gun from Capitol for new product or maybe he was going for a lighter vibe than what was presented on Today.

Exactly. What was the tiimeframe between Today! and Summer Days!, four months?
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« Reply #90 on: August 03, 2012, 11:28:50 AM »


I rank Surfin' USA ahead of Smile and Pet Sounds in my personal BB's top 10, so it's not as if I hold a predudice towards the earlier stuff. It's just that there are average summertime songs as well as great ones and Summer Days (IMO) holds a couple of the former.
 

Fair enough and right on, glad to hear you're not one of the folks I was speaking of in my blanket statement.
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« Reply #91 on: August 03, 2012, 11:35:31 AM »

I'm throwing in the towel. Gonna go over to the Shut Down II/All Summer Long thread and start some sh*t over there.
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« Reply #92 on: August 03, 2012, 11:50:55 AM »

Mike Love's "fun" lyrics of the era are excellent artistic successors to the collected works of Chuck Berry, the true greatest lyricist in rock and roll.

At Mike's peak on songs such as Fun, Fun, Fun, I'd agree with you ... almost. Mike didn't have the genius for syncopation and rhythm that Chuck Berry displayed in songs such as Nadine - in that respect Berry is closer to Dylan than Mike Love.

But in 65, Chuck's lyrics weren't cutting it anymore, save the occasional hip resurrection by the likes of The Stones that would come several years later. I don't understand why it's so hard to grasp this change in trend of lyrical subject matter from superficial themes of sun, fun, school to the more introspective, naval-gazey stuff. I'm not arguing that one is necessarily better than the other but that they belong in their respective time frames, and Mike's approach in the latter half of the 60s was outdated - All Summer Long/Today having been his high water mark. He was the perfect lyricist up to 65 because he was the Californian everyman in touch with the teens he was writing for. But from 65 onwards people wanted something more poetic, abstract, less literal, which was not Mike's forte.

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« Reply #93 on: August 03, 2012, 11:58:33 AM »

Mike Love's "fun" lyrics of the era are excellent artistic successors to the collected works of Chuck Berry, the true greatest lyricist in rock and roll.

At Mike's peak on songs such as Fun, Fun, Fun, I'd agree with you ... almost. Mike didn't have the genius for syncopation and rhythm that Chuck Berry displayed in songs such as Nadine - in that respect Berry is closer to Dylan than Mike Love.

But in 65, Chuck's lyrics weren't cutting it anymore, save the occasional hip resurrection by the likes of The Stones that would come several years later. I don't understand why it's so hard to grasp this change in trend of lyrical subject matter from superficial themes of sun, fun, school to the more introspective, naval-gazey stuff. I'm not arguing that one is necessarily better than the other but that they belong in their respective time frames, and Mike's approach in the latter half of the 60s was outdated - All Summer Long/Today having been his high water mark. He was the perfect lyricist up to 65 because he was the Californian everyman in touch with the teens he was writing for. But from 65 onwards people wanted something more poetic, abstract, less literal, which was not Mike's forte.



I think that's a huge generalization. Not that I was alive, but the teens were the main record buyers primarily, and I don't think they cared either way. They were buying up Herman's Hermits records at the same time as Summer Days. Hardly absract.

I just have a problem with some of Mike's lyrics on this album, not the fact that they weren't doing an album of 12 "Kiss Me Baby"s. Look at something like Gary Lewis and The Playboys "She's Just My Style", which was a huge 1966 hit - same fun territory that California Girls mined, it's just a really good record with groovy lyrics - they scan perfectly. I can't say the same for Amusement Parks or Salt Lake City - but that's my hang up, not anyone else's.
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« Reply #94 on: August 03, 2012, 12:05:36 PM »

People start these type of threads, but then get pissed or defensive if you post different than the norm. It happens in almost every "versus" thread.

Hang on, I'm Norm and I don't mind what anyone else posts (not that I have to like it, of course, you understand  Smiley ).
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« Reply #95 on: August 03, 2012, 12:06:10 PM »

But from 65 onwards people wanted something more poetic, abstract, less literal, which was not Mike's forte.



And those type of people would never accept that type of abstract poeticism from The Beach Boys on any mass level. Pet Sounds didn't sell to a new audience, it sold to a lot of their older audience. Smile would have sold to even less. And those people of that era who would never have accepted the band as a serious entity are below consideration. Those are the type of people to, in fact, avoid like the plague. Also, Pet Sounds itself features very linear, plain, straight-ahead lyrics that mostly reflect guy/girl concerns (in fact, I have personally experienced more non-BB believers rolling their eyes to the lyrics of Pet Sounds and Smile than to say, Be True To Your School). The MUSIC is what makes Pet Sounds a transcendent work that surpasses previous albums. If Van Dyke Parks' abstract wordplay could have sold the band to a newer audience, why has he sold about 200 copies each of all his own albums? Everyone loves Sunflower, but are the lyrics to many of those songs truly better than those of Mike Love's mid-60's work? One of the only songs from that album that everyone agrees upon as being great is All I Wanna Do, with lyrics by Mike Love. Or is it the SOUND of Sunflower that people love? Does the sound and feel sanctify the plain, naive lyrics? If so, the same courtesy should be extended to the earlier stuff.
The Beach Boys were NEVER going to compete with Bob Dylan, and there was no reason to attempt doing so. Because when it comes down to it, pretty much everyone's else's "heavy abstraction" seems foolish. Compare even Cabin-Essence to Visions Of Johanna. What makes Cabin-Essence the arguably better record of the two? The music.
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« Reply #96 on: August 03, 2012, 12:07:14 PM »

Oh yeah, I voted for Today. I just love Dance Dance Dance.
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« Reply #97 on: August 03, 2012, 12:15:59 PM »


The Beach Boys couldn't compete as cultural or political commentators from 65 onwards, but in exploring emotional depth they were second to none. This is why albums such as Pet Sounds and Today where emotional songs predominate have stood the test of time far better than the surf & turf albums.

The last thing i ever wanted from the Beach Boys was for them to be cultural or political commentators.

And as spectacular as Pet Sounds  - the best album of all time - and Today  - right up there, too - may be, I still go straight for surf and hot rods when I need an emotional high and want to just feel good about life and my youth.
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« Reply #98 on: August 03, 2012, 12:26:30 PM »

But from 65 onwards people wanted something more poetic, abstract, less literal, which was not Mike's forte.



And those type of people would never accept that type of abstract poeticism from The Beach Boys on any mass level. Pet Sounds didn't sell to a new audience, it sold to a lot of their older audience. Smile would have sold to even less. And those people of that era who would never have accepted the band as a serious entity are below consideration. Those are the type of people to, in fact, avoid like the plague. Also, Pet Sounds itself features very linear, plain, straight-ahead lyrics that mostly reflect guy/girl concerns (in fact, I have personally experienced more non-BB believers rolling their eyes to the lyrics of Pet Sounds and Smile than to say, Be True To Your School). The MUSIC is what makes Pet Sounds a transcendent work that surpasses previous albums. If Van Dyke Parks' abstract wordplay could have sold the band to a newer audience, why has he sold about 200 copies each of all his own albums? Everyone loves Sunflower, but are the lyrics to many of those songs truly better than those of Mike Love's mid-60's work? One of the only songs from that album that everyone agrees upon as being great is All I Wanna Do, with lyrics by Mike Love. Or is it the SOUND of Sunflower that people love? Does the sound and feel sanctify the plain, naive lyrics? If so, the same courtesy should be extended to the earlier stuff.
The Beach Boys were NEVER going to compete with Bob Dylan, and there was no reason to attempt doing so. Because when it comes down to it, pretty much everyone's else's "heavy abstraction" seems foolish. Compare even Cabin-Essence to Visions Of Johanna. What makes Cabin-Essence the arguably better record of the two? The music.

 I agree on the problems of VDP's lyrics commercially. Pet Sounds lyrics are apparently straight ahead, apparently not superficially more complex than Mike's SDSN lyrics. 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). There is also poetic depth and ambiguity in God Only Knows that is light years ahead of anything Mike could do at this point. Wouldn't It Be Nice perfectly captures the naivety of youth, the potential for disappointment. Real human characters are sketched in a song such as That's Not Me. The lyrics are far more sophisticated and subtle than anything Mike could manage. Married to Brian's incredible tracks you have THE boy/girl teen angst record that will resonate for all time.

To give Mike his dues, ironically he smashes Asher's GV lyrics - Asher's are too time-bound with all that "working on my brain" stuff whereas Mike's somehow manage to be timeless. Mike also got one over on VDP in this respect - the most successful Smile era release has lyrics by Mike.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 12:27:49 PM by buddhahat » Logged

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I. Spaceman
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« Reply #99 on: August 03, 2012, 12:43:46 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.
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