gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
logo
 
gfx gfx
gfx
652113 Posts in 26054 Topics by 3716 Members - Latest Member: Smile_Essence1 November 14, 2019, 11:11:45 PM
*
gfx*HomeHelpSearchCalendarLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Do you think the early material ('62-'65) is better than Smile?  (Read 22605 times)
Lee Marshall
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1638



View Profile WWW
« Reply #125 on: December 27, 2014, 06:35:41 PM »

"The early stuff was great as the fans got to grow with the creativity of the art and artist...It was a growth experience - an evolution - not intended for some impossible comparison, as best I can tell. If you prefer to jump off at some point and not go for the entire ride, fine.  I'm still stunned I got to live to see "Smile," and that Brian is still at it.  We are truly blessed to be listening to any part of it." Cool Guy
 
Oh YA....and thanks too for the inside insight Debbie.  REALLY great to know that...'cause as we sat, listened, marvelled and appreciated I'm sure we all hoped MAJORLY  that BRIAN was reading the reaction.  It was important to me that he knew exactly how much we 'got' Smile...and even more...how much we LOVED it.

Extraspecially and extraordinarily nice to be there for the "home run".  Glad we got the ball back to the man who hit it.
Logged

"Add Some...Music...To Your Day.  I do.  It's the only way to fly.  Well...what was I gonna put here?  An apple a day keeps the doctor away?  Hum me a few bars."   Lee Marshall [2014]

Donald  TRUMP!  ...  Is TOAST.  "What a disaster."  "Overrated?"... ... ..."BIG LEAGUE."  "Lots of people are saying it"  "I will tell you that."   Collusion, Money Laundering, Treason.   B'Bye Dirty Donnie!!!  Adios!!!  Bon Voyage!!!  Toodles!!!  Move yourself...SPANKY!!!  Jail awaits.  It's NO "Witch Hunt". There IS Collusion...and worse.  The Russian Mafia!!  Conspiracies!!  Fraud!!  This racist is goin' down...and soon.  Good Riddance.  And take the kids.
Debbie Keil-Leavitt
Guest
« Reply #126 on: December 27, 2014, 06:38:09 PM »

"The early stuff was great as the fans got to grow with the creativity of the art and artist...It was a growth experience - an evolution - not intended for some impossible comparison, as best I can tell. If you prefer to jump off at some point and not go for the entire ride, fine.  I'm still stunned I got to live to see "Smile," and that Brian is still at it.  We are truly blessed to be listening to any part of it." Cool Guy
 
Oh YA....and thanks too for the inside insight Debbie.  REALLY great to know that...'cause as we sat, listened, marvelled and appreciated I'm sure we all hoped MAJORLY  that BRIAN was reading the reaction.  It was important to me that he knew exactly how much we 'got' Smile...and even more...how much we LOVED it.

Extraspecially and extraordinarily nice to be there for the "home run".  Glad we got the ball back to the man who hit it.

An absolute honor, wasn't it?
Logged
Fire Wind
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 299



View Profile
« Reply #127 on: December 28, 2014, 07:21:49 AM »

You didn't say anything about "pop music" -- the point is, can abstract art "shake up the world?" History proves that it absolutely can - in fact, if history tells us anything, it's that abstract art can perhaps have an even bigger impact on the world than other forms of artistic representation. If you think pop music can't do what other forms of art do, that's you placing a limitation on it. Personally, I don't believe pop music to be an inferior art form.

Obviously, there are pronouns in Smile songs.  The point is how they are used and what surrounds them.  Barring Vegetables, the Smile lyrics do not create the connection to the listener that my examples do.  The Beatles' ones are pretty much just addressing the listener, easing them into a psychedelic world.  Smile lyrics do no such easing.

If I wasn't talking about pop music, what field could I have been talking about?  This is all about pop music, as far as I was aware.  When making Smile, did Brian want it to top the charts?  I would have thought he'd have been extremely keen for its commercial success.

I think pop music works best according to its strengths, that is, accessibility, and in taking difficult stuff and making it palatable, and in doing so, innovating the pop field at the same time.  I'm not saying there's no place for abstractedness in pop, just that there's a dividing line as to how far you can go with the lyrics without losing the wider public.  Other acts managed this.  Popular music can match other art forms, but it needs to connect and to sell.

I'm not trying to diminish Smile in any way (I don't see why some people posting here have to take it all so black-and-white).  Do I think a completed Smile have been the best album that year?  If it matched in quality the ambition behind it, then certainly.  Would it have had the immediate sales and influence upon the wider consciousness that Sgt. Pepper had?  I'm less than certain.  If released, it might have had the sort of impact like the VU and Nico, a big thing among a certain set, influencing other musicians etc, which is fine, but I doubt that's what Brian was aiming for, either in sales or in initial impact.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 07:50:40 AM by Fire Wind » Logged

I still can taste the ocean breeze...
Dancing Bear
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1371



View Profile
« Reply #128 on: December 28, 2014, 08:03:28 AM »

Good Vibrations would have been a hit even with Van Dyke Parks' "artsy" lyrics in the verses, as long as the chorus was straight and direct ('I'm picking up good vibrations' fits the bill).

Heroes and Villains wouldn't have been a big hit even if Mike had written his best personal-relatable-boy-girl lyrics ever for it.

Smile dodn't have a appropriate single to carry it and Brian knew it. That's why he wasted months trying to fix H&V.

Logged

I'm fat as a cow oh how'd I ever get this way!
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2869


View Profile
« Reply #129 on: December 28, 2014, 08:49:25 AM »


Obviously, there are pronouns in Smile songs.  The point is how they are used and what surrounds them.

Then why did you give a song like Strawberry Fields as an example which includes just as much nonsense and abstraction as any song on Smile? Yes, the song has some lines that build connections no more or less than a song like Cabinessence which has verses that are largely built as a love letter.

Quote
If I wasn't talking about pop music, what field could I have been talking about?

Lots of artistic forms can have an impact on the world.

Quote
When making Smile, did Brian want it to top the charts?

I'm sure he did, and I'm sure he was also smart enough to realize that all but one of the Beach Boys albums had failed to top the charts - and that wasn't even a Wilson studio effort.

Quote
I think pop music works best according to its strengths, that is, accessibility,

OK, but now we are talking about your personal opinion. And as we've also discovered, what you think is accessible and inaccessible is very subjective.

Quote
Popular music can match other art forms, but it needs to connect and to sell.

You don't think Picasso wanted to sell his art?

Quote
I'm not trying to diminish Smile in any way (I don't see why some people posting here have to take it all so black-and-white).  Do I think a completed Smile have been the best album that year?  If it matched in quality the ambition behind it, then certainly.  Would it have had the immediate sales and influence upon the wider consciousness that Sgt. Pepper had?  I'm less than certain.  

Of course it wouldn't have. But that's not just because of the lyrics. Did any Beach Boys album with Mike Love lyrics ever have "the immediate sales and influence upon the wider consciousness" that any competing Beatles album had?

Quote
If released, it might have had the sort of impact like the VU and Nico, a big thing among a certain set, influencing other musicians etc, which is fine, but I doubt that's what Brian was aiming for, either in sales or in initial impact.

I doubt it. The Velvet Underground were nobodies without a huge mega hit single. Branding means a lot, unfortunately.

I think it's remarkable that you question whether the album would have sold well when you have an actual verifiable case that shows that, when released, the album can actually do well chart wise. In 2004, Smile hit #13 on the US charts and #7 on the UK charts. You don't think it would have done a bit better than that had it been released in say January 1967 on the heels of Good Vibrations and with all the positive press the Beach Boys were getting at the time, a good deal of which was engineered beautifully by Derek Taylor?
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 08:50:17 AM by rockandroll » Logged
Lee Marshall
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1638



View Profile WWW
« Reply #130 on: December 28, 2014, 09:24:18 AM »

And from the exact time-frame in question...I give you...'A Whiter Shade of Pale'   [aka 'The Bleached Bucket'. Wink

This 'point' about Smile's lyrics and their supposed accessibility is EVER so weak.  What?  We were too stupid in 1967?  But by the time 20/20 came out we were ready for Cabinessence?  Or was it the 'Our Prayer' lyric which was too much for Beach Boys fans and the general public to absorb?

"influencing other musicians etc, which is fine, but I doubt that's what Brian was aiming for, either in sales or in initial impact."...

Brian [and the Beach Boys] had ALREADY had a huge, siginificant and ongoing IMPACT on other musicians and on the industry.  It had been going on for several years...so the point was actually made before it's being denied retroactively here.

One thing I wasn't ready for...when 'she' started going bald.  There was no hair-club for women then.  I couldn't relate.  Oh...wait...that was a different album.  The one with stoned 'wind-chimes'.
Logged

"Add Some...Music...To Your Day.  I do.  It's the only way to fly.  Well...what was I gonna put here?  An apple a day keeps the doctor away?  Hum me a few bars."   Lee Marshall [2014]

Donald  TRUMP!  ...  Is TOAST.  "What a disaster."  "Overrated?"... ... ..."BIG LEAGUE."  "Lots of people are saying it"  "I will tell you that."   Collusion, Money Laundering, Treason.   B'Bye Dirty Donnie!!!  Adios!!!  Bon Voyage!!!  Toodles!!!  Move yourself...SPANKY!!!  Jail awaits.  It's NO "Witch Hunt". There IS Collusion...and worse.  The Russian Mafia!!  Conspiracies!!  Fraud!!  This racist is goin' down...and soon.  Good Riddance.  And take the kids.
Debbie Keil-Leavitt
Guest
« Reply #131 on: December 28, 2014, 11:37:28 AM »

Is there some point at which an artist earns the right to be their best and do their best, or must they always have to pander to the lowest common denominator?  I'm serious when I ask this, as it seems to be a crisis for all the public figures that we-the-masses either destroy or nearly destroy in a world where art has to appeal to the vast public to survive, and the money for distribution is controlled by people who think they know what the public wants, often lacking a single clue.  And it seems to be the primary argument of some very insistent people here that whatever might have sold the absolute most is the correct path, no matter what - as if anyone honestly knows what that might be now or might have been in the past.

Brian wrote beautiful, fun and fabulous music in the beginning and continued to grow in sophistication as he mastered his craft with equal joy and beauty.  Is that a crime?  And are that relentless-few-of-you seriously going to continue trying to argue the idea that Brian is incapable of writing a hook on his own, after he's proven what he can do over and over and over again?  

Appealing to people who just want to pop open a six-pack and be mindless can sometimes do well on one commercial level.  We all like to relax and get stupid on occasion.  I'll give you that.  I'm just not certain that's what a smart artist wants as their final accomplishment and voice when they know their body eventually will leave this planet and all that is left is their work and whomever they loved, inspired and nourished.  That artist might want to think that he/she did some good.  I tend to think Brian brought in enough $$$ to have earned that privilege.  

Can't there be some sort of balance and a little gamble on the part of the industry that the best work might also sell?  It seems that artists who cling to an old style without growing end up forgotten in the dust more than the ones with some imagination, versatility and guts.  It's hard to list examples of such artists who didn't grow, as their names don't come to mind in most cases.  If their "brand" doesn't push a boundary here and there, the public moves on, aside from a niche who loves nostalgia.

I don't speak for Brian, obviously.  But, just looking at Brian's work and knowing what he's said, I think he wants people to feel love and joy and hope - as many of them as possible - and he wants to get people to think, too.  I'd like to think that humanity is capable of more love, harmony (a gift for which Brian is acknowledged as an amazing master) and thoughtfulness as to what human life might be about.  I hear that in Brian's music.  I certainly saw the results when he had the courage to complete "Smile" after so many years.  That was a true hero's journey completed, and people - his musical commercial peers and us regular fans - were moved to tears when we saw the courage and beauty of spirit that required - and how it generated some of the same in all of us.  And it didn't end with "Smile" - there's more coming...That's pretty exciting.
Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2869


View Profile
« Reply #132 on: December 28, 2014, 11:50:17 AM »

Absolutely, Debbie! Spot on.

How many artists had to fight against financial backers to get their own personal vision out and ended up creating what was probably the most enduring work of their career? It's such a familiar narrative that one wonders why anyone has any faith anymore in anyone who thinks they know what will sell and what won't.
Logged
LostArt
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 914



View Profile
« Reply #133 on: December 28, 2014, 12:36:33 PM »

Wonderful post, Debbie.  I agree wholeheartedly.
Logged
Dancing Bear
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1371



View Profile
« Reply #134 on: December 28, 2014, 12:59:25 PM »

Is there some point at which an artist earns the right to be their best and do their best, or must they always have to pander to the lowest common denominator?  I'm serious when I ask this, as it seems to be a crisis for all the public figures that we-the-masses either destroy or nearly destroy in a world where art has to appeal to the vast public to survive, and the money for distribution is controlled by people who think they know what the public wants, often lacking a single clue.  And it seems to be the primary argument of some very insistent people here that whatever might have sold the absolute most is the correct path, no matter what - as if anyone honestly knows what that might be now or might have been in the past.

What an artist creates and releases is his choice. Art is completely subjective, who's to say that 'Cabinessence' is objectively a better song than 'The Little Girl I Once Knew'?

Brian wrote beautiful, fun and fabulous music in the beginning and continued to grow in sophistication as he mastered his craft with equal joy and beauty.  Is that a crime?  And are that relentless-few-of-you seriously going to continue trying to argue the idea that Brian is incapable of writing a hook on his own, after he's proven what he can do over and over and over again?

He couldn't write a great hook immeadiately after Good Vibrations, and for months after that. And to be fair neither could any other member of the band. It happens. I certainly don't think he owed his audience a proper follow up to Good Vibrations in early 67. Life goes on. Brian moved on, stumbled with Smiley Smile and was back on his game with Wild Honey.

Appealing to people who just want to pop open a six-pack and be mindless can sometimes do well on one commercial level.  We all like to relax and get stupid on occasion.  I'll give you that.  I'm just not certain that's what a smart artist wants as their final accomplishment and voice when they know their body eventually will leave this planet and all that is left is their work and whomever they loved, inspired and nourished.  That artist might want to think that he/she did some good.  I tend to think Brian brought in enough $$$ to have earned that privilege.

Brian probably drank some six-packs while writing songs with Van Dyke.  Smiley

Can't there be some sort of balance and a little gamble on the part of the industry that the best work might also sell?  It seems that artists who cling to an old style without growing end up forgotten in the dust more than the ones with some imagination, versatility and guts.  It's hard to list examples of such artists who didn't grow, as their names don't come to mind in most cases.  If their "brand" doesn't push a boundary here and there, the public moves on, aside from a niche who loves nostalgia.

Sometimes record companies print thousands of record covers to be filled with an artist's best work. Sometimes the record isn't finished and those same record covers gather dust for years.

I don't speak for Brian, obviously.  But, just looking at Brian's work and knowing what he's said, I think he wants people to feel love and joy and hope - as many of them as possible - and he wants to get people to think, too.  I'd like to think that humanity is capable of more love, harmony (a gift for which Brian is acknowledged as an amazing master) and thoughtfulness as to what human life might be about.  I hear that in Brian's music.  I certainly saw the results when he had the courage to complete "Smile" after so many years.  That was a true hero's journey completed, and people - his musical commercial peers and us regular fans - were moved to tears when we saw the courage and beauty of spirit that required - and how it generated some of the same in all of us.  And it didn't end with "Smile" - there's more coming...That's pretty exciting.

I don't know Brian and I can't begin to guess how he is in real life behind the public persona. Being limited to just litening to his records, I'd say that Smile 2004 didn't move me that much, having listened to all the old recordings and all. I liked TLOS better. You see, it's all good. I expect some good and some great in his next CD.
Logged

I'm fat as a cow oh how'd I ever get this way!
bringahorseinhere?
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1220



View Profile
« Reply #135 on: December 28, 2014, 01:02:53 PM »

to the original question...

no way.

the 65 period to 73 era was the best

RickB
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 01:04:46 PM by Rick Bartlett » Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2869


View Profile
« Reply #136 on: December 28, 2014, 02:08:57 PM »

He couldn't write a great hook immeadiately after Good Vibrations, and for months after that.

The Bicycle Rider theme is as good of a hook as any that Brian has written in his career.
Logged
Lee Marshall
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1638



View Profile WWW
« Reply #137 on: December 28, 2014, 02:16:54 PM »

I kind of get the impression that DB is a one trick Bear.  He Dances...but he needs a LOT more practice when it comes to the beating of that dead horse he's trying to flog. Wink

Didn't really like BWPS???  Really?  Just a so-so effort was it?

R   I   G   H   T .
Logged

"Add Some...Music...To Your Day.  I do.  It's the only way to fly.  Well...what was I gonna put here?  An apple a day keeps the doctor away?  Hum me a few bars."   Lee Marshall [2014]

Donald  TRUMP!  ...  Is TOAST.  "What a disaster."  "Overrated?"... ... ..."BIG LEAGUE."  "Lots of people are saying it"  "I will tell you that."   Collusion, Money Laundering, Treason.   B'Bye Dirty Donnie!!!  Adios!!!  Bon Voyage!!!  Toodles!!!  Move yourself...SPANKY!!!  Jail awaits.  It's NO "Witch Hunt". There IS Collusion...and worse.  The Russian Mafia!!  Conspiracies!!  Fraud!!  This racist is goin' down...and soon.  Good Riddance.  And take the kids.
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2869


View Profile
« Reply #138 on: December 28, 2014, 02:39:55 PM »

I would agree that Brian's obsessive tinkering with H&V came from an anxiety about how the single might perform in the charts. And I would certainly suggest that the song was never destined to be in the same league as Good Vibrations in terms of commercial success - but that's a difficult standard to reach.

Ultimately, while Heroes and Villains wasn't as hook-laden as, say, Good Vibes or California Girls, it is absurd to say it is completely bereft of hooks. On the surface, it might be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the hooks are in Wouldn't it Be Nice - and yet they are there - in the rhythms, the tone of the song as a whole, the "Wouldn't it be Nice" line, etc. Similarly, the hooks are there in Heroes and Villains - as Brian points out in the demo of the song, it has a great feel (yes, largely copped from recent Spector tracks) and it had a lively melody in the verses. Maybe not a #1 with a bullet, but certainly a track with several hooks.
Logged
Fire Wind
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 299



View Profile
« Reply #139 on: December 28, 2014, 03:07:33 PM »

(quotes by rockandroll)

Quote

Then why did you give a song like Strawberry Fields as an example which includes just as much nonsense and abstraction as any song on Smile? Yes, the song has some lines that build connections no more or less than a song like Cabinessence which has verses that are largely built as a love letter.

I don't find SFF to contain nonsense and abstraction.  The singer might be feeling to be in a world of abstraction, but the identifying subject (the 'I', the chap singing) is very solidly there and lets us in, emotionally.  Apart from that, what about my other three examples?  Is my wider point nullified by what you see as a flaw in one example out of four (five, to include Dylan's)?

Quote
Lots of artistic forms can have an impact on the world.

I was speaking rhetorically.  Wasn't actually asking a question.  All this time, I've just been talking about the Beach Boys, about pop music.

Quote

"I think pop music works best according to its strengths, that is, accessibility"

OK, but now we are talking about your personal opinion. And as we've also discovered, what you think is accessible and inaccessible is very subjective.

I would be happy to remove the 'I think', if that's distracting.  Do you think that accessibility isn't one of pop music's chief strengths?

Quote
 
Of course it wouldn't have. But that's not just because of the lyrics. Did any Beach Boys album with Mike Love lyrics ever have "the immediate sales and influence upon the wider consciousness" that any competing Beatles album had?

No, but in the production race of the time, I would assume Brian wanted to knock them off the top as the best band.  I see this as a factor here.  He wanted to beat the Beatles.  The music was up to it.  The publicity was also making it happen, thanks to Taylor.  Surely, he wanted big things for what he called his 'teenage symphony to God', not just again to be second to the Beatles.  With VDP lyrics, it would've gone down as an interesting album by the Beach Boys, another also-ran, not really for everyone.  At the same time, the Beatles still made music for everyone (while still leaping forward, musically) and now their reputation is untouchable.  That's my point.  It's not that anyone made better music than Brian, but that some acts, like the Beatles, knew how to stay top of the game.

Quote
I think it's remarkable that you question whether the album would have sold well when you have an actual verifiable case that shows that, when released, the album can actually do well chart wise. In 2004, Smile hit #13 on the US charts and #7 on the UK charts. You don't think it would have done a bit better than that had it been released in say January 1967 on the heels of Good Vibrations and with all the positive press the Beach Boys were getting at the time, a good deal of which was engineered beautifully by Derek Taylor?

BWPS had 37 years of hype and myth-making and sold well to baby-boomers and younger hipsters.  Totally different scenario.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 03:08:31 PM by Fire Wind » Logged

I still can taste the ocean breeze...
Fire Wind
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 299



View Profile
« Reply #140 on: December 28, 2014, 03:16:22 PM »

This 'point' about Smile's lyrics and their supposed accessibility is EVER so weak.  What?  We were too stupid in 1967?  But by the time 20/20 came out we were ready for Cabinessence?  Or was it the 'Our Prayer' lyric which was too much for Beach Boys fans and the general public to absorb?

Who's 'we'?  You're talking about yourself.  Just because you were game for something doesn't mean the average pop fan would have bought it in droves.

By the time 20/20 came out, the public didn't give a toss about the Beach Boys and the psychedelic era was in full swing.  it didn't matter if anybody was 'ready' at that point.
Logged

I still can taste the ocean breeze...
runnersdialzero
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 5143


I WILL NEVER GO TO SCHOOL


View Profile
« Reply #141 on: December 28, 2014, 03:54:48 PM »

I would agree that Brian's obsessive tinkering with H&V came from an anxiety about how the single might perform in the charts. And I would certainly suggest that the song was never destined to be in the same league as Good Vibrations in terms of commercial success - but that's a difficult standard to reach.

Ultimately, while Heroes and Villains wasn't as hook-laden as, say, Good Vibes or California Girls, it is absurd to say it is completely bereft of hooks. On the surface, it might be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the hooks are in Wouldn't it Be Nice - and yet they are there - in the rhythms, the tone of the song as a whole, the "Wouldn't it be Nice" line, etc. Similarly, the hooks are there in Heroes and Villains - as Brian points out in the demo of the song, it has a great feel (yes, largely copped from recent Spector tracks) and it had a lively melody in the verses. Maybe not a #1 with a bullet, but certainly a track with several hooks.

"Heroes" was the song I heard by the Beach Boys that totally sold me on them. Like, that's the song that pushed me from "Hrm, some of this stuff is pretty interesting" to "Holy sh*t, this is incredible and I'm really looking forward to hearing anything by these guys that I can get my hands on." That melody was stuck in my brain for months.
Logged

Tell me it's okay.
Tell me you still love me.
People make mistakes.
People make mistakes.
luckyoldsmile
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 61



View Profile
« Reply #142 on: December 28, 2014, 04:11:17 PM »

"Heroes and Villains" stole my mind for weeks at a time.

I remembered my first hearing, from the "Good Vibrations" box set. The "Cantina" version and then the Smiley version both just had me, like ... DUDE.

I sat in class, writing out the lyrics. I had the song playing constantly in my head. Didn't need it playing. It was the first song that ever just stole my head. This was probably around the time I was 17, when I was writing the lyrics down on a notepad when I should have been listening to the professor more closely. Whatever. I stand by my priorities, even now. Wink

I found the notebooks a couple years back. Pages of notes, often getting patchier as the page next to it or after it started becoming "Heroes and Villains" notes and lyrics and rearrangements. I still passed the class, but boy ... It wouldn't be the last time that the music of the Beach Boys overtook the "more important" priorities of my life. Smiley

I grew up loving the Beatles and knocking the Beach Boys. It took a while for me to learn the error of my ways, but by the time I was 16-17, I was wising up. As enraptured and in love with the music of the Beatles as I was, and still am, no song (not "A Day in the Life," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Hey Bulldog" or any of my other favorites) just grabbed me and held me and took me over the way "Heroes and Villains" did.

The intro. The loping introduction. "You're under arrest!" The build to the tape explosion. My children were raised. Often wise? I mean ... Damn. Damn, damn, damn.

So much of that song still owns me.

Bits of it almost hypnotize me at points (like some of the parts of the Fairytale Music ... another thing that grabbed me from the Good Vibes box).

"Heroes" has hooks. If anything, maybe it has too many of them. It's a big tapestry piece. I get so much out of the song. I never get tired of it, no matter the mix, version, live performance, etc.

What a miracle of a song, that "Heroes and Villains."

Logged

Won't you help me find the key?
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2869


View Profile
« Reply #143 on: December 28, 2014, 04:40:06 PM »

I don't find SFF to contain nonsense and abstraction.

Well, as the wise Rockman once said, "You see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear. Dig."

Quote
The singer might be feeling to be in a world of abstraction, but the identifying subject (the 'I', the chap singing) is very solidly there and lets us in, emotionally.  Apart from that, what about my other three examples?  Is my wider point nullified by what you see as a flaw in one example out of four (five, to include Dylan's)?

You are cherry picking examples. Yes, during the 1966/67 period, there were artists, like The Beatles who sometimes wrote lyrics that were not abstract or contained certain aspects that weren't abstract. There were other examples where the lyrics were almost entirely abstract, or were mostly abstract. That didn't stop them from being hits. Another poster gave the example of Whiter Shade of Pale. In that respect, Van Dyke Parks's lyrics were entirely in-keeping with the most successful songs of the times - they contained elements that were abstract and they contained elements that were relatable.

Quote
Do you think that accessibility isn't one of pop music's chief strengths?

I'm not even sure what you're arguing here. Pop music is, by definition, accessible to a wide audience. You might as well ask, "Do you think that moving pictures isn't one of cinematic film's chief strengths?" I mean, yes, of course, pop music is going to be accessible. If it isn't accessible, it isn't pop music. Full stop. That being said, nobody has ever been able to successfully predict what will be accessible to the public and what won't.

Quote
 
e production race of the time, I would assume Brian wanted to knock them off the top as the best band.  I see this as a factor here.  He wanted to beat the Beatles.  The music was up to it.  The publicity was also making it happen, thanks to Taylor.  Surely, he wanted big things for what he called his 'teenage symphony to God', not just again to be second to the Beatles.  With VDP lyrics, it would've gone down as an interesting album by the Beach Boys, another also-ran, not really for everyone.  At the same time, the Beatles still made music for everyone (while still leaping forward, musically) and now their reputation is untouchable.  That's my point.  It's not that anyone made better music than Brian, but that some acts, like the Beatles, knew how to stay top of the game.

At the time, those in the "race" didn't get to the top by emulating others.

Quote
BWPS had 37 years of hype and myth-making and sold well to baby-boomers and younger hipsters.  Totally different scenario.

You're right. Totally an apples and oranges situation. In late 1966/1967, The Beach Boys had just scored their biggest hit, the massive-selling #1 Good Vibrations which was being used to market the album and creating a fervour as to what the band was going to release next. There was a massive PR campaign that was hyping the band in a way that had never been seen before. As Brian puts it on the Heroes and Villains demo, 1966 was "the year that was." In 1966, The Beach Boys were a major part of the cultural zeitgeist working in the most culturally relevant genre making music that was very much of its time. In 2004, Brian Wilson was not considered a major commercial artist, was not at the commercial forefront of his musical peers, had not had a nationally unparalleled string of successful hits, did not have a huge mega-hit single to help sell the album which was full of music that was completely out of step in both substance and style to the pop music of the day, as created by artists like Usher, OutKast, and Alicia Keys. You're completely correct - totally different scenario. Despite the 37 years of myth-making, when all things are considered, Smile was far more prepped to sell records in early 1967 then it was in 2004. And yet the album went to #13 in the US and #7 in the UK. Given all the facts, it more than likely would have done much better chart wise in 1967.

But I'm glad you're admitting that there are factors that can go into making a record very successful even when the lyrics are as abstract as they are on Smile.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 05:13:14 PM by rockandroll » Logged
Dancing Bear
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1371



View Profile
« Reply #144 on: December 28, 2014, 05:46:37 PM »

Despite the 37 years of myth-making, when all things are considered, Smile was far more prepped to sell records in early 1967 then it was in 2004. And yet the album went to #13 in the US and #7 in the UK. Given all the facts, it more than likely would have done much better chart wise in 1967.

I think in 2004 CDs were already selling far less than ten or five years before, then when a group of diehards supported a release in its first week it was easier to make it chart top 5 or 10. Neil Diamond had a career first #1 CD in 2005 - a Rick Rubin production hyped as a 'return to form' - do you think he was at a commercial peak in 2005 or in the 70s?

PS: I do believe Smile would have charted easily in the top 10 in both sides of the Atlantic in 1967.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 05:51:54 PM by Dancing Bear » Logged

I'm fat as a cow oh how'd I ever get this way!
KittyKat
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1466



View Profile
« Reply #145 on: December 28, 2014, 05:51:05 PM »

Where was the radio airplay for Smile in 2004? Nowhere that I ever heard. It didn't fit any of the formats of the time, anyways. It sold due to publicity generated over decades. More publicity than it got back in the days anticipating its release in the '60s. It sold out of people's curiosity after reading about it on the internet, books about the Beach Boys, and renewed publicity on mass media outlets. It had a core audience who already heard the 60s versions via bootlegs, and another audience who bought it based on reading about it rather than hearing it, apart from being familiar with GV.
Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2869


View Profile
« Reply #146 on: December 28, 2014, 05:54:53 PM »

Where was the radio airplay for Smile in 2004? Nowhere that I ever heard. It didn't fit any of the formats of the time, anyways. It sold due to publicity generated over decades. More publicity than it got back in the days anticipating its release in the '60s. It sold out of people's curiosity after reading about it on the internet, books about the Beach Boys, and renewed publicity on mass media outlets. It had a core audience who already heard the 60s versions via bootlegs, and another audience who bought it based on reading about it rather than hearing it, apart from being familiar with GV.

And yet, it was still far more prepped to be a hit album in 1967 than it was in 2004. Given FireWind's argument, the album shouldn't have sold well in either year.
Logged
SMiLE Brian
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8141



View Profile
« Reply #147 on: December 28, 2014, 09:17:25 PM »

Remember, the smile sessions won a Grammy! Grin
Logged

And production aside, Id so much rather hear a 14 year old David Marks shred some guitar on Chug-a-lug than hear a 51 year old Mike Love sing about bangin some chick in a swimming pool.-rab2591
Don Malcolm
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 804



View Profile
« Reply #148 on: December 28, 2014, 10:22:23 PM »

A point that might further amplify what Debbie is saying is that Capitol had some crazy idea that SMiLE was just another LP to be cranked out ("we're sure to sell a million units in January"). This, despite the fact that Brian had resorted to some creative subterfuge to buy more time to produce PET SOUNDS by cutting PARTY.

It's certainly clear to us now that songwriters/bands/composers should be cut more slack (i.e., given more time) in order to explore their muse and expand their work. However, that doesn't stop the process by which a huge amount of slickly produced product winds up cluttering the airwaves. Even the Internet has not brought that phenomenon to its knees.

But the pressure that Brian and so many of his contemporaries were under to keep cranking out material was beyond insane in the mid-60s. It was the recognition of this that brought Brian together with people like David Anderle, who wanted to find a way to give the artist more say-so. That's the often overlooked underside of the SMiLE period, which clearly took its toll on Brian and the band.

Artists on the cutting edge were trying to push past the paradigms of pop form. Brian was at the cutting edge of that cutting edge. "Good Vibrations" is still the greatest example of that attempt to explode those boundaries. It was a tall order for anyone to surpass that moment. To do it, Brian found himself moving into the realm of "art song"--"Surf's Up," "Cabinessence." Songs too ornate and complex to have chart success--not even, probably, with the endorsement of Leonard Bernstein (who, after all, was trying to bridge what was increasingly being seen as a "generation gap").

One can imagine that the battle (as David Anderle alluded to in various interviews) was that SMiLE had to have a single. And that discussion seems to have been as much a part of what threw off the creative process as any internal band dissension. It certainly appears that Brian wanted to do something more elaborate with "Heroes and Villains." But the pressure to conform to industry reality was suddenly omnipresent from all directions--including the folks that had up to that point wanted to move into the most avant-garde directions possible.

By pushing things in that direction, all those forces conspired to make Brian back away from the initial idea. It's likely that he couldn't get his head around any of those "shotgun" versions of "Heroes and Villains" because it was no longer about the music, but instead about "the product." It took him months to come back to the track and retool it into the 45 version. After that ordeal, he didn't seem to want to think about the track, or play it at the piano, or anything: for him, the track became "lost and gone and unknown for a long, long time"--about thirty-five years, according to the account in Peter Ames Carlin's CATCH A WAVE. It's really possible that we owe BWPS to that randomly timed request from David Leaf's wife Eva that Brian play "H&V" when he was holding forth on the piano.

And all that modularity that had been more than a bit disconcerting during the SMiLE era had a silver lining when it came time to (re)create it in 2003. "H&V" became another version of itself--an "art song" version--for the 21st century SMiLE. That was both a "safe" choice and a "gutsy" choice, and it helped redeem the entire effort for Brian, I suspect. It gave him back a crucial piece of artistic license that had been taken away from him in early 1967.
Logged
Lee Marshall
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1638



View Profile WWW
« Reply #149 on: December 29, 2014, 05:54:08 AM »

That's an interesting look at it Don. Cool Guy
Logged

"Add Some...Music...To Your Day.  I do.  It's the only way to fly.  Well...what was I gonna put here?  An apple a day keeps the doctor away?  Hum me a few bars."   Lee Marshall [2014]

Donald  TRUMP!  ...  Is TOAST.  "What a disaster."  "Overrated?"... ... ..."BIG LEAGUE."  "Lots of people are saying it"  "I will tell you that."   Collusion, Money Laundering, Treason.   B'Bye Dirty Donnie!!!  Adios!!!  Bon Voyage!!!  Toodles!!!  Move yourself...SPANKY!!!  Jail awaits.  It's NO "Witch Hunt". There IS Collusion...and worse.  The Russian Mafia!!  Conspiracies!!  Fraud!!  This racist is goin' down...and soon.  Good Riddance.  And take the kids.
gfx
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Page created in 0.969 seconds with 21 queries.
Helios Multi design by Bloc
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!