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Author Topic: Do you think the early material ('62-'65) is better than Smile?  (Read 21907 times)
Alex
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« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2013, 04:05:38 PM »

Oh please! Everybody knows that Drip Drop is the single most spiritual, moving, heart-wrenching piece of music the Boys ever committed to tape!! 15 Big Ones, not SMiLE, is Brian's true experimental/avant-garde masterpiece.  LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL
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« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2013, 04:43:29 PM »

It's all good, you eejits. Just because Friends didn't hit the top #100 doesn't mean you can't feel good about liking it.
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« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2013, 05:03:52 PM »

Actually, Friends is probably my favorite overall BBs album. It has the same heart behind it as the early stuff with added musical sophistication (by this point, Brian could easily accomplish musically almost whatever he felt like). Songs like "Be Here In the Mornin'" impart joy in a way I don't feel while listening to Smile, outside of a few songs.  I think Smile is brilliant, but it's  mostly an intellectual curio more than anything. Only a few songs like "Cabinessence" and "Heroes and Villains" truly transport me emotionally.

And from '69 on, there's only a few songs here and there where I get that feeling of joy, warmth, or peace that I get from the early material. That's what I miss later on.
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SenorPotatoHead
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« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2013, 05:04:37 PM »

I would agree that it sounds like there is more heart in many of the songs before Smile.

That's because Murry was around yelling at them to sing from their hearts.    LOL
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hypehat
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« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2013, 05:06:07 PM »

Actually, Friends is probably my favorite overall BBs album. It has the same heart behind it as the early stuff with added musical sophistication (by this point, Brian could easily accomplish musically almost whatever he felt like). Songs like "Be Here In the Mornin'" impart joy in a way I don't feel while listening to Smile, outside of a few songs.  I think Smile is brilliant, but it's  mostly an intellectual curio more than anything. Only a few songs like "Cabinessence" and "Heroes and Villains" truly transport me emotionally.

And from '69 on, there's only a few songs here and there where I get that feeling of joy, warmth, or peace that I get from the early material. That's what I miss later on.

That's funny, I get a lot of warmth and humour from Smile. I mean, Vegetables, for gods sake.
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« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2013, 05:19:22 PM »

I would agree that it sounds like there is more heart in many of the songs before Smile.

That's because Murry was around yelling at them to sing from their hearts.    LOL

lol
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« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2013, 06:54:28 PM »

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Jim V.
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« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2013, 07:39:49 PM »

Do I think the early material is better than SMiLE? I almost feel that the better question to ask is "is the best early material better than SMiLE?" And I would probably say no. I don't think either is necessarily "better". They're different

I love "Surfin' U.S.A.", "Farmer's Daughter", "Little Deuce Coupe", etc. Those are great songs that I nearly always get enjoyment from. To me, they are high points of The Beach Boys. However, so is "Heroes And Villains" and "Surf's Up". And I think even in their unfinished states, "Do You Like Worms" and "Child Is Father Of The Man" are amazing.

One point I do wanna make, and I'm sure this will be controversial, but I kinda feel like songs like "Surf's Up" and "Cabinessence" have more impact via the albums they were originally released on (Surf's Up and 20/20) more than when I listen to them on SMiLE. It's almost like SMiLE is an overload of material, and it's more enjoyable when it's taken in smaller nuggets. Maybe that makes me crazy, but so be it.
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Puggal
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2013, 08:09:27 PM »

I don't think you can articulate how much "heart" goes into a particular vocal performance. All the vocal performances in both eras of Beach Boys music sounds fine to me.

I think its clear Smile, even in its unfinished state, is a much better album than really anything before (or after) Pet Sounds. It has no blooper tracks and is full of great sounds and melodies without a filler in sight. Pet Sounds is more quintessential Brian Wilson but he was still at his best during the Smile sessions.

The early work is just a buncha great pop songs, but the Smile material is great art. I listen to both.
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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2013, 08:24:09 PM »

I don't know about 'heart', but the early songs sounded like they were having fun. Pet Sounds and SMiLE sounded like they were working hard to reach perfection. I love them both for different reasons. How ever, I feel more 'heart' in Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. After that they began to strive to make good music, or hit songs. With the exception of Dennis and Carl, I don't sense that a lot of heart went into the post Friends songs. A few exceptions, Al sang a heart felt lead in All This is That, and Mike in All I Wanna Do. Brian in Til I Die, but really didn't much again until TLOS. Not to say they didn't care (except Brian much of the time), because they were still trying to make good music, or hit music.
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"Over the years, I've been accused of not supporting our new music from this era (67-73) and just wanting to play our hits. That's complete b.s......I was also, as the front man, the one promoting these songs onstage and have the scars to show for it."
Mike Love autobiography (pg 242-243)
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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2013, 10:29:50 PM »

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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2013, 10:37:56 PM »

To answer the original question in black and white terms with my own personal opinion: No.  However I see it as one straight line from "Surfin" right through to "Surf's Up", realizing that we couldn't have had the latter without the former.
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« Reply #37 on: April 16, 2013, 01:43:51 AM »

Smile = Brian & Van Dyke Parks

Give me the 69-74 period instead. The Sunflower sessions for example prove that all of them have/had talent. Probably their best group effort. Plus, their live performances were top-notch in this period.
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« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2013, 02:52:44 AM »

Smile is a gorgeous anomaly but it is all beautiful surface and doesn't have the heart of the earlier stuff.

That's an interesting point of view. I'm not sure if SMiLE has less "heart", but it sure has a lot more "head". It has probably more head than for its own good. That's why SMiLE for me is a more intellectual than emotional experience.

Though Brian's vocal performance on "Surf's Up" has as much heart as you can get, the instrumental track IMHO has not any way near as much heart as the one to "Dance, Dance, Dance"... as I said, IMHO, feel free to disagree.
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« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2013, 05:57:33 AM »

Do I think the early material is better than SMiLE? I almost feel that the better question to ask is "is the best early material better than SMiLE?" And I would probably say no. I don't think either is necessarily "better". They're different

I love "Surfin' U.S.A.", "Farmer's Daughter", "Little Deuce Coupe", etc. Those are great songs that I nearly always get enjoyment from. To me, they are high points of The Beach Boys. However, so is "Heroes And Villains" and "Surf's Up". And I think even in their unfinished states, "Do You Like Worms" and "Child Is Father Of The Man" are amazing.

One point I do wanna make, and I'm sure this will be controversial, but I kinda feel like songs like "Surf's Up" and "Cabinessence" have more impact via the albums they were originally released on (Surf's Up and 20/20) more than when I listen to them on SMiLE. It's almost like SMiLE is an overload of material, and it's more enjoyable when it's taken in smaller nuggets. Maybe that makes me crazy, but so be it.

I can agree with your sentiment that some Smile songs work very well outside of Smile.

Most strikingly is Surf's Up. The entire album basically clings to that mountain of a track. The album is called Surf's Up and upon listening to it you just know it wil culminate in something great, that fantastic mythical beast of a song, the opus magna of Brian Wilson's Smile puzzle.

In this sense I fully understand why Carl insisted on it being the final track, it works inextricably well in that configuration following the haunting ADITLOAT and 'Til I Die. Also the organ overdub puts it more in context with the rest of the album. Carl's vocal is very good although I understand many have a preference for Brian's original voc.

On a sidenote; it is quite amazing how SDT ruins the progression of the album, and the placement of DGNTW as the opener is strange. However imagine what the album would be even without the fabled WIBNTLA but with SDT removed and 4th coming in or Sound of Free.
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« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2013, 06:01:32 AM »

I think a lot of people are a little embarrassed about the early, "simpler" fun, surf n' cars era of the Beach Boys. A lot of Beatles fans also have this problem; there are many who disregard anything pre-Rubber Soul, which is astonishing to me. Man, are they missing out. Same deal with the pre-Today or pre-Pet Sounds (depending on how you measure it) Beach Boys.
One of the best things about listening to what Brian was doing in 1963 is to see how much he matured as a writer and producer, in just 3 years. It's staggering to think about and nobody else in pop music had his competitive drive, sheer talent or wide scope. That's one of many, many reasons why the early stuff is essential.
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« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2013, 06:57:15 AM »

Differs from song to song. Something like All Summer Long beats the pants off of stuff like Barnyard or Vegetables for me but songs such as Surfs Up and Good Vibrations are obviously superior to something like Denny's Drums or Carl's Big Chance. I'd say the best of the early days can stand proud with all but the very best of the Smile era.

I disagree with Vegetables, but Barnyard isn't meant to be part of a play list, or a song to hear in its own. It fits better in the context of the SMiLE album. Same with Old Master Painter/You are My Sunshine, Mrs O'Leary's Cow, Our Prayer and I Love to Say Da Da. I rarely listen to those songs on their own either. Where as with Pet Sounds I can listen to any song on its own.
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"Over the years, I've been accused of not supporting our new music from this era (67-73) and just wanting to play our hits. That's complete b.s......I was also, as the front man, the one promoting these songs onstage and have the scars to show for it."
Mike Love autobiography (pg 242-243)
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« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2013, 09:00:41 AM »

My god.
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Cam Mott
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« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2013, 09:10:19 AM »

Smile is a gorgeous anomaly but it is all beautiful surface and doesn't have the heart of the earlier stuff.

That's an interesting point of view. I'm not sure if SMiLE has less "heart", but it sure has a lot more "head". It has probably more head than for its own good. That's why SMiLE for me is a more intellectual than emotional experience.

Though Brian's vocal performance on "Surf's Up" has as much heart as you can get, the instrumental track IMHO has not any way near as much heart as the one to "Dance, Dance, Dance"... as I said, IMHO, feel free to disagree.

I agree with you on my brilliance. Oh, not what you said. Must have read it wrong.

I think that alone is what brought Brian to bag SMiLE against all objections. It was exciting to show off and be cerebrial and hip, it was exciting to think out and make, but as the results felt less and less heart and more and more head he was less and less into it.
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« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2013, 09:11:19 AM »

When it comes down to it, I appreciate the early stuff for the vocals (especially Brian's) and the Smile-era material for the music.
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« Reply #45 on: April 16, 2013, 12:59:09 PM »

On a sidenote; it is quite amazing how SDT ruins the progression of the album

It is quite amazing that you feel that way. I think DG ruins the progression.

I agree with you on my brilliance. Oh, not what you said. Must have read it wrong.

Huh?!? I have no idea what you mean by that. Forgive me, I'm not a native English speaker, I didn't mean to say your point was invalid or something.
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« Reply #46 on: April 16, 2013, 01:54:00 PM »

On a sidenote; it is quite amazing how SDT ruins the progression of the album

It is quite amazing that you feel that way. I think DG ruins the progression.

I agree with you on my brilliance. Oh, not what you said. Must have read it wrong.

Huh?!? I have no idea what you mean by that. Forgive me, I'm not a native English speaker, I didn't mean to say your point was invalid or something.

No worries. I was poking fun at myself.
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« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2014, 11:49:30 PM »

No way in hell! lol.

The early period from 61 to 64 (As well as Party! from 1965) had it's moments with the occasional brilliant song (Songs like Surfin' Safari, Little Girl, Cuckoo Clock, Lonely Sea, Surfer Girl, In My Room, Be True To Your School, The Warmth Of The Sun, Don't Worry Baby, Keep An Eye On Summer, Wendy, All Summer Long, I Get Around, We'll Run Away, Little Saint Nick, Santa's Beard, etc.). But overall, it's not even close to their work from Pet Sounds to Holland.

This comment sums it up best:
I guess everyone is entitled to their opinions but the musical quality of the beach boys 65-73 is just some of the best music you'll ever hear. In my opinion, starting from Today, overall the music is better
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shelter
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« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2014, 12:17:32 AM »

I'm not a huge fan of the early material, I rarely listen to the pre-Pet Sounds albums. The Beach Boys from 1966-1973, that's my favorite band.
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« Reply #49 on: April 11, 2014, 07:34:16 AM »

Not better, or worse. Just different. Music evolves, matures, de-evolves and reinvents itself.  I think we can see all of that in this band.

I respond to music as a soundtrack to my own life. When I put the convertible top town on a sunny day, it ain't SMiLE in the CD player, because I want the music to fit the experience.  I'm cruisin' to the fun n sun period, then. When I want to connect at an emotional level, Pet Sounds comes out.  When I want to enjoy something from an artistic standpoint, there's SMiLE. And, when I want to lose myself in a sonic flood , 'Til I Die goes on loop.
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