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Author Topic: No Pier Pressure (board member reviews)  (Read 105016 times)
Ron
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« Reply #375 on: April 09, 2015, 08:36:21 AM »

I think what's going on with that is, it has nothing to do with the customers, and everything to do with the distribution deals.  It's a negotiating trick to get big box places to carry it (which is where most of the albums get sold).  So they tell Wal-Mart they have a new 13 track CD coming, but they'll offer Wal-Mart the opportunity to carry the deluxe version (which of course is a little more), etc. 

The standard is purposefully crippled to make it less desirable, but the 'cheap' (to the distributor) version of the album, they'll have to pay... .50 more each album for the Deluxe because it's DELUXE.  Target maybe had to pay .80 more for each album because it's a special Target edition, etc.

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ArchStanton
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« Reply #376 on: April 09, 2015, 08:58:45 AM »

I recall that at the time of the first deluxe editions, the reasoning was it had been so successful with DVDs that they wanted to apply it to CDs as well. Of course, special features on DVDs and Blu-Rays have been pared down considerably and it appears CDs have for the most part followed suit.
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EgoHanger1966
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« Reply #377 on: April 09, 2015, 09:32:05 AM »

The best stuff on this album (Whatever Happened, Tell Me Why, One Kind of Love, Last Song) rank with the best of his solo career.
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« Reply #378 on: April 09, 2015, 10:16:50 AM »

I’ve listened through the 16-track Deluxe version several times now, in a variety of contexts, and I’ve tried to come to terms with my thoughts and opinions on NPP.  Unfortunately, they are not nearly as positive as the prevailing sentiment around these parts.

I just can’t get into this album for the most part, apart from a song here and there.  A lot of it is the production; the terms “adult contemporary” and “70s soft rock” have been thrown around a lot in descriptions of NPP’s sound, in both positive and negative reviews, and unfortunately, those are two of my most-loathed genres, so I’m already facing an uphill battle.  I just do. not. like. the (IMHO) super-slick, saccharin, oft-cheesy, glossy sheen that Joe Thomas brings to the proceedings.  It’s significantly toned-down from “Imagination,” thankfully (that album is down at the bottom of the barrel for me in Brian’s solo catalogue), but it still grates on me.  (This is also one reason why TWGMTR didn’t resonate with me all that much, and yes, I realize I’m probably in the minority on that one.)

Please note that I’m NOT complaining or talking about any there-or-not presence of pitch correction on vocals.  There may be some here and there, or there may not, but whatever - that’s not my issue with the album’s sound at all.

I’m surprised by how non-memorable I find a lot of the songs.  Songs like “Tell Me Why” are pleasant-sounding under all the gloss, but also don’t stick in my head at all - I’ve forgotten them when they’re over.  Pleasant but bland.  “The Right Time” is more memorable, and Al sounds legitimately GREAT, but the soft rock instrumental production grates at me (especially those ‘70s light-rock guitar riffs, a guitar tone that always makes my skin crawl - not a knock at David Marks as a guitarist, I just don’t like the guitar tone used on this album at all).  “Sail Away,” despite the SJB-quoting flutes, is also more memorable, and transcends the production a bit (and it’s great having Blondie, Al, and Brian on a song together).  “Whatever Happened” is also a nice, solid song.  “The Last Song” I don’t enjoy much - it feels like it’s trying too hard, somehow (and again, that production doesn’t work well with my tastes), and doesn’t hit me nearly as sharply as, say, “Midnight’s Another Day,” which I feel is one of Brian’s career peaks, solo or otherwise.

The outside artist collaborations veer wildly around the quality spectrum, ranging from (again, all in my humble opinion) utter train wrecks (“Runaway Dancer,” “Our Special Love”) to bland-but-inoffensive (“Half Moon Bay”) to catchy-enough-but-utterly-generic (“Saturday Night” - I never liked Fun.’s music, and I’m not big on Nate Ruess’s voice - and "Guess You Had To Be There," and while I don't necessarily think it's pitch correction, there is *some* kind of vocal processing on Musgraves that I find very distracting and weird-sounding) to pretty fun and solid (“On The Island” - it sounds *nothing* like a Brian Wilson song, rather sounding like a 100% She & Him tune that Brian happens to do some backing vocals on, but I’m OK with She & Him, it works for what it is, and I dig the bossa nova lounge music vibe, and I think the production works pretty well here).  Apart from occasional spins of that last song, I’ll never listen to any of these again.

I want to say I have no “agenda” or whatever - I genuinely love Brian’s music, and it’s had a massive impact on me over the years.  Brian's music is in part why I write and perform music now.  I just do not jibe with this album at all, just as I didn’t jell with “Imagination” or GIOMH, or some examples from the BBs catalogue.  Several of the songs, if they were given a more organic/less soft rock or AC production, would probably strike me a *lot* better, but as it is, I’ll probably not be revisiting the vast majority of this album in the future.  I love BWPS, I love TLOS (apart from the spoken word and a song or two), I love (most of) BW88 (like “Love You,” I can roll with the crazy production as it completely commits to it, and there are just so many wonderful tunes), but NPP doesn’t do it for me.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.  If you like NPP, that's great - just, for me, personally, this one is a misfire.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 12:34:06 PM by Tomorrowville » Logged

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MarcellaHasDirtyFeet
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« Reply #379 on: April 09, 2015, 11:59:49 AM »

I've gone through the album a few times, but haven't had a chance to listen straight through. You know what? I don't think I could handle it all in one sitting. This album is emotionally draining. HEAVY.

"This Beautiful Day" really is a great opener, and the "Summer's Gone" riff really got to me-- was it intentional? It's almost like it's setting this whole album up to be a rebuttal to or, coda, or commentary, on the Beach Boys' career. I'm very happy it wasn't another a capella bit... Too predictable, now.

My God, I love "Runaway Dancer." The wife and I have danced in the kitchen while we make dinner many times since it was released. I think it's perfect right where it is, because we need a little fun before we dive into the HEAVY. Love everything about this song, even the sexy sax makes sense now.

"Whatever Happened" is the start. This isn't minor key music, but there is just so much melancholy all over this album that it really hits you, which is why I'm relieved that "On the Island" follows. Keeps it light and fresh, so many little giggly bits to ease the tension. I expected Zoey to be singing especially cute and with a lot of overdone-ness, given other posters' reactions, but I think she finds a really nice spot.

Brian has already taken us through several different atmospheres, and the wordless "Half Moon Bay" keeps us rolling along. Definitely a lonely night on the beach kinda song. So fluid, almost hard to follow. Jazz, man.

Followed by more melancholy, although only in the intro (and outro). The rest is a love song. On its own, this would be bizarre, but it makes sense where it is. "The Right Time" didn't impress me on day one, but it's spot on the complete (well, deluxe) album really is the "right place." Not too heavy, not too light. I guess I just liked "Lay Down Burden" better.

WOOOOO! "Guess You had To Be There" kicks some ass, and I don't really think it's that country, especially with Brian on the chorus. I mean, it's sort of modern country, but Musgraves doesn't lay the southern accent on too thick. Brian's use of banjo isn't unprecedented.

WOOOOO AGAIN! I love "Don't Worry." Sure, it's sort of Darlin' pt. 2, but it's so much darn fun. The "don't worry, don't worry" at the end leaves me wanting more, kind of like the too-soon fadeout on "Fun, Fun, Fun" and I respect that approach. I really don't get the hate for this song, I think it's an instant classic-- great driving beat. Wish it had a bridge!

I was very interested in hearing "Somewhere Quiet" and it doesn't disappoint. Great build up between Brian's parts and Al's parts. Melancholy but not too bad.

Now, I am having some trouble keeping track of some of the slower songs, such as "Whatever Happened" and "I'm Feeling Sad" and "Tell Me Why" and " I need a few more listens, but every one has a moment that satisfies, be it a chord change or a voicing on a chord. I kind of get lost in them-- whether in Brian's delivery, or some fun organ stabs, or what have you. Collectively, they all just make me so goshdarn emotional.

Yeah, ok, "Sail Away" reprises the flute bits from "Sloop." Even a snob like myself can look past it, because aside from some similarities in the chugging bassline, it's clearly a song of its own with a fun arrangement and great structure. I wish it had more Blondie! And why have some people been saying it's a "mash-up" of "Sloop" and "Sail on Sailor?" Other than Blondie's presence, I don't hear "Sail On, Sailor" in the slightest.

At times, "One Kind of Love" gets a little wordy and clunky in the verses, but Brian saves it and gives it some standout moments. It does have some very early 90s vibes, but not nearly as much as "Saturday Night." This might be my least favorite song on the album, although it has grown on me. Definitely needs everything else to sort of lift it up, and it is absolutely necessary to give us one more bit of joy before...

"The Last Song." I wish it had more of the Wilson right hand piano style and less of the adult contemporary piano tinkling (which ruined "Think About the Days" for me on TWGMTR). But man... The "La la la" bit was almost cringeworthy at first listen, but it I agree that it's a stand-in for all of the background vocals Brian has put together over the years. Also, it changes from the initial, softly song first appearance to the later, majestic, everybody-sing-your-heart-out iteration. Whew! And I'm spent.

The album is a bit sparkly, and there are a few too many plucked acoustic guitars starting off the songs, and some of the vocals have... whatever, but I can look past it, because Brian sounds good and his music sounds good. There are quite a few single tracked vocals on here that sound perfectly natural to these ears. Yeah, I hated TWGMTR's vocal sound, but I think a lot of that had to do with a lack of time to really nail the tracks. Imagination just had entirely too much Brian-- the leads bumping against the backgrounds made following vocals lines sort of disorienting. I have never listened to any of these younger artists before (Well, Zoey in "Elf") and I'm so happy each and every one of them is on this album.

4/5, but I was ready to love this album, anyway. I'm so happy with it, even though the music is so damn sad in many instances. TLOS was trying entirely too hard to be artistic, and I've never heard GIOMH so I can't judge it. Imagination is way too polished. Disney and Gershwin seem BW by the numbers. BW88 is probably still my favorite, only because it's so crazy and upbeat, but it's nearly tied with this one. Woo! No Pier Pressure!
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Ron
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« Reply #380 on: April 09, 2015, 12:18:50 PM »



Your mileage, of course, may vary.  If you like NPP, that's great - just, for me, personally, this one is a misfire.

I hear ya man, but I just want to illustrate from an outside voice speaking in, that your entire review perfectly presents that YOU are the reason you're not enjoying the album.  Your only critiques of it are that you don't like that whole sound, or that whole genre of music, or those type of guitars... 

I know it's hard because I do the same thing, but try listening to it with unprejudiced ears.  What if you decided to start liking (*gasp!) adult contemporary?  We might think you're old!  We might think you're soft!  We might think you're a poser!  Ignore all of that and just listen to the music for what it is, and see if you like it, regardless of what genre it's in or what the guitar tone is. 
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Eric Aniversario
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« Reply #381 on: April 09, 2015, 01:39:16 PM »

OK, so by now I've listened about 20 times....at home, in the car, hiking, etc.  Here are some thoughts after this self-imposed NPP flooding.

Overall, it's a great album!  Great to hear some new original songs from Brian.  There's a lot to absorb here.  So many different sounds, textures, moods, etc to enjoy here.  I haven't read many of the board member reviews, but I imagine the favorites are far from unanimous, and that certain songs may be quite polarizing.  Here's my take on the individual tracks (I chose to review the 18-track version because that's what I have).

This Beautiful Day A great opener, albeit with some shakiness in some of Brian's high notes.  But that's part of the charm.  I can't help but compare to "Think About The Days"...and this kind of pales in comparison, unfortunately.

Runaway Dancer I imagine that this is one of the most polarizing songs on the album.  It's great to hear Brian trying something completely different and unexpected.   The result is decent, but perhaps not my cup of tea.  I enjoy many genres of music other than the Beach Boys (although the Beach Boys are far and away my favorite band).  I enjoy dance music.  But to be honest, if I had heard this on the radio with someone else singing Brian's part, I would have really thought nothing of this song.  I imagine that most of us here would not have even noticed this song if it was by another artist.

Whatever Happened This is where I really start to warm up to the album.  Beautiful lead by Al.  Reflective, wistful lyrics that I can relate to.  Gorgeous background vocals.  Gold.

On The Island In just four tracks, Brian has taken us all over the place sonically, and I love that.  This track is a pleasant song with a pleasant vocal.  Light and fun, and not meant to be much more than that.  A pleasant interlude to lighten the mood a bit.

Half Moon Bay It took me a few listens to take notice of this.  Absolutely beautiful.  A standout track for me.

Our Special LoveThis is going to be a very slow grower for me.  By far my least favorite on the album.  There is just something about when Peter's voice(s) come in and there's the high voice and the low voice tandem singing that really sounds horrible to me.  Brian's parts do not work well with Peter's parts, and the whole song just seems like a jumbled mess.  There are some nice background vocal moments toward the end.

The Right TimeWhat a relief to hear this after OSL.  This is my favorite track on the album.  I just feel very relaxed and feel good about life when I hear this.  David Marks' guitar melds so well with the overall feel of the song, and Al's lead is just about perfect.  Brian's parts work very well, and it all comes together great!

Guess You Had To Be There My overall favorite when I first heard it, it's still in my top 3 for sure.  Kacey has a voice that conveys sweetness, innocence, joy, and reality all at once.  The lyrics take kind of a weird negative turn toward the end, which kind of detracts from the overall happy feel of the song.  Still not sure what this song is supposed to be about.

Don't Worry I love this song!  It's an odd blend of early-to-mid-80s movie soundtrack fluff, mid-70s David Cassidy, and of course Brian!  The background "Don't Worry"s toward the end remind me of "January" by David Cassidy.  The horns, real or not, sound great and add excitement to the song.

Somewhere Quiet Great to hear SMNL with lyrics.  Still trying to absorb the meaning of the lyrics.  There is one discordant lyrical moment that stands out:  "I wanna take you somewhere quiet, so I can hear just how Ifeel".  [Or something like that...I'm not near the lyric booklet or the CD right now].  It stands out because the listener expect to hear, "so I can hear just how you feel.  Overall, a nice track.

I'm Feeling Sad I'm not sure if Brian purposely went for a "lazy" slurred feel to his vocal, but it definitely works.  The vibe is that of a man in his 70's who is bored and sad, and that is probably what he was going for.  Brian sounds very old and sad and bored, probably the oldest he's every sounded, but for this song, that's a good thing!  Classic Brian, albeit an older version of Classic Brian.

Tell Me Why Another soaring moment for Brian & Al.  Solid song, solid vocals, a heartfelt melancholy moment...one of several on this album.

Sail Away I'm just as glad as anyone to see Blondie back in the mix, especially with Brian & Al.  But I have to say that the lyrics are a bit clumsy and awkward and somewhat contrived.  But anything to bring Blondie back!  Glad to have him here.  And always great to have Al.  Al has become what Carl was in the 80's and 90's.  Someone who can make a middling song sound a lot better with just his vocal presence.

One Kind Of Love This one will probably be a somewhat slow grower for me.  Out of the "just Brian" songs, definitely the one that stands out the least, at least to my ears.

Saturday Night Great Brian Pop with a very able vocalist.  Brian's parts work well with Nate's parts and are practically seamless.

The Last Song Some nice moments here, probably a little too sad after hearing several melancholy songs.  The soaring "la-la-la" parts remind me of late 80's and early 90's power ballads, something that can't be said of many BB/BW songs.

In The Back Of My Mind Why this wasn't on MiC is anyone's guess...this is great!  It reminds me of the early seasons of American Idol, when someone would audtion in front of Randy, Paula, and Simon.  At first, the unassuming, non-pop-star looking auditioner would offer some OK singing, which got progressively better, then ended with a bang!  I can hear Paula cheering, Randy throwing out nonsense compliments, and Simon reluctantly giving praise.  Who knew that mid 70's Brian had this in him?  I think he could have even done better with a few more tries.

Love & Mercy Nice to have this on CD by itself without Walking Down The Path Of Life.

Ranking the tracks, so far in my listening experience:

1. The Right Time

2. Guess You Had To Be There (#2-8 very fluid, love them all about the same)
3. Tell Me Why
4. Half Moon Bay
5. Don't Worry
6. Whatever Happened
7. I'm Feeling Sad
8. Saturday Night


9. On The Island
10. Somewhere Quiet
11. Sail Away

12. The Last Song
13. This Beautiful Day
14. One Kind Of Love

15. Runaway Dancer

16. Our Special Love

« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 01:48:05 PM by Eric Aniversario » Logged
rn57
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« Reply #382 on: April 09, 2015, 06:26:16 PM »

Just listened to the album start to finish after listening to all the tracks in random order on YT and Spotify the last few days (and The Right Time, Sail Away, On The Island in the weeks before).

Short version: It is definitely one of the three best albums of Brian's solo career, behind BWPS and ahead of the Gershwin album. Which is another way of saying it's the best album of new BW songs (or reasonably news ones) in his solo career.  The best tracks - What Ever Happened and One Kind Of Love - easily top anything on TWGMTR, even From There And Back Again.  In fact, they can stand with nearly anything short of PS and Smile that Brian did in the '60s, let alone the '70s.  And they're pretty damn close to the PS standard at that.

The other tracks aren't too far behind, for the most part. And even the ones that might get just short of four of five stars have a lot to recommend them.  When Brian isn't pulling off production/arrangement triumphs like "I'm Feeling Sad" and "Tell Me Why" and "Sail Away" - not that those three aren't inherently fine songs to start with - he's moving into unexpected directions, like "Runaway Dancer" and "Guess You Had To Be There," that could lead to some pretty remarkable things in the future should he choose to explore them.  "Don't Worry" has an intriguing proto-disco production - as someone else here pointed out it brings to mind '75 vintage Four Seasons and indicates why Brian made a point of name-checking Bob Crewe in the Billboard interview. "Last Song" is a better closer than "Summer's Gone," and it definitely works better than it would have if Lana Del Rey had been on it.

When time permits I may do a track by track review, but suffice to say - next year, the Grammy people really need to give this Album Of The Year consideration.  It's a lot better than several records that have gotten the award.  9/10 overall

PS As Brian said in his Guardian interview today, NPP is more soft-rock than rock - ie, a lot of it would fit in quite well with the Adult Contemporary radio format, as it existed in the '80s and early '90s (prime example: "The Right Time").  But when he talks about his rock album, I picture Blondie and Ricky and Billy....ready to help him take his sound in someplace like that Funky Pretty/Marcella direction....with a dash of Love You.  Now there's a record that could shake the very foundations of music itself...even if it'd probably just confuse the Grammy folks (and of course Bruce).
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 06:46:04 PM by rn57 » Logged
phirnis
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« Reply #383 on: April 09, 2015, 10:47:49 PM »

...
I’m surprised by how non-memorable I find a lot of the songs.  Songs like “Tell Me Why” are pleasant-sounding under all the gloss, but also don’t stick in my head at all - I’ve forgotten them when they’re over.
...

Same here!
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« Reply #384 on: April 09, 2015, 11:20:30 PM »

To all the people commenting about the lack  of outto-tune  on the Peter Hollens track "Our Special Love". I was in an acapella group in college and Peter Hollens produced our album. This was in like 2008 but it sounds like he uses the same production techniques as he did then as he does now. He uses outto-tune on his tracks (most people in the biz do) but it is in an understated and appropriate way, it sounds like he had some production involvement in "Our Special Love" as the production sounds VERY familiar to our album. Don't know what that means in the lack of the Joe Thomas songwriting credit, but for what its worth I know for a fact Peter Hollens uses outto-tune.
Big Fan of Hollens and glad his track made it on the BW album. Wish he produced more of the tracks on the album but thats just me.

Sail Away, Whatever Happened and Tell Me Why are my fav tracks.
Al Jardine for president.

Anyone know if Chaplin sang background vocals on other tracks besides "sail away"?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 11:24:10 PM by Craig Feldspar » Logged
Ron
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« Reply #385 on: April 10, 2015, 12:05:09 AM »

Don't Worry is starting to grow on me.  Listen right at the beginning, there's harmonies on the very first vocal lines.  THATS JUST CRAZY!  NOBODY DOES THAT!!!!

Also check out Kacey Musgraves singing background "oooh ooohs" on her song.  It's really cool, nice little harmony melody, then when it repeats she sings the same melody but another voice comes in and goes a 5th (or whatever) higher to double it.  I know, just standard stuff but it's very catchy and makes you feel good.

I'm basically at the point where "The Last Song" is the weakest song on the album to me.  There's a couple other mediocre ones, but there's really nothing bad on the entire album, it's pretty damn solid.


I'll say this, too.  And I'm serious.  Find me just about any artist that's making albums where their fans like EVERY song on the album!  That's almost impossible to pull off.  


I'd say some of the other weaker points are "Our Special Love"... I like the lyrics, and I don't mind Peter's voice... and I generally like the way the song's written but I'd like it better with instrumentation.  It's just kind of gimmicky... which is alright because it's just 1 song on the album, and hell, why not?  I'd like it better though with Brian's production, that's one of the best things about him is how the instruments work with each other and do neat things.  

"Whatever Happened" is very pet-soundsy.  That's like saying you play ball very Michael Jordansy.

Surprisingly, ALL the guest vocals are good.  When this was first announced, I thought it was kind of just... trying to get names added to it, like he did with Gettin' In Over My Head.  The artists kind of felt tacked on, nothing was woven together very well in my opinion.  However, I was wrong.  Each of the artists add a lot to each song, and actually bring their own personality to the song.  Think of Elton John singing "How can We Still Be Dancing?" There was nothing Elton about that.  He was just tacked on.  Or Clapton playing guitar on his song... any guitarist could have played that.  

However on this album, look at who you have.  Peter Hollens (again, I'm not a HUGE fan of that song) actually records his song with Brian, in his acapella style, and Brian went for it!  Listen to Sebu; he helped produce his song a bit... and brings his style of music to that song.  Nothing tacked on, it sounds like a legitimate combination of Brian and Sebu's style.  Look at the Musgraves song; it's similar to her poppy but well written singer/songwriter stuff, and has her taste for clever, melodic lyrics like all of her other songs... but yet still sounds like a Brian song too.  Check out how Nate Reuss just KILLS the vocal on "Saturday Night", that guy is a fabulous singer, and Brian gives him one of those feel-good melodies to sing.  It shows off his voice in a fantastic way, and lets him run that awesome, sweet, almost sugary melody.  I'll guarantee you it's impossible to sing that melody without grinning, it's just absolutely phenomenal.  So again, it sounds like the two of them made a song, not just somebody got tacked on.  

For Deschanel's song it's a completely different vibe!  Here's the pleasure island we heard so much about, and Zooey doesn't sing it like any other girl has ever sang a Brian song, she sings it her way but again, it sounds like a collaboration instead of just her tacked onto something.  Or how about The Right Time?  It sounds like the Beach boys are back again and hell there's Al to sing the lead.  



One of the things I like most about the album is that it's not pretentious, as some of his stuff in the past delves dangerously close to.  I love "That Lucky Old Sun" but it's a concept album, and that in it's very nature is pretentious.  There's nothing wrong with making a good old fashioned record that doesn't necessarily have to all flow together and fit into a puzzle and blah blah blah.  It's more like

"Hey! Here's 18 damn good songs, which one's your favorite?"

It reminds me a lot of "The Beach Boys Love You", not because of the sound or production but because of the haphazard way he just made some really creative, all over the place sh*t a bunch of different ways and put it out as an album.  It fits together but not in a pedantic overdone way, and it's not loose and disjointed like "Gettin In Over My Head" was.  There wasn't that much super creative on Gettin' In Over My Head, but nearly half the songs here have real gems of creativity on them.  There's no concept like the Gershwin Album, or Disney Album, or Christmas Album, or SMiLE, or That Lucky Old Sun.   It's just a straight up album, and that's cool.  



« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 12:17:23 AM by Ron » Logged
Ron
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« Reply #386 on: April 10, 2015, 12:19:37 AM »


[
Sail Away I'm just as glad as anyone to see Blondie back in the mix, especially with Brian & Al.  But I have to say that the lyrics are a bit clumsy and awkward and somewhat contrived.  

Ironically, Brian usually says that about the lyrics to Sail on Sailor !  I think he said something like 10 people wrote it and none of the lyrics make sense to him. 
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« Reply #387 on: April 10, 2015, 05:41:47 AM »

I've finally been able to listen to the Target deluxe version of the album multiple times.  I'm sorry, but this album just isn't doing it for me.  It has some nice moments for sure, mainly in the songs that Al was involved in, but outside of Right Time, there is nothing that I find to be very memorable or that sticks in my head.  I may catch heat for it as some others already have, but for me, Runaway Dancer, Don't Worry and Our Special love are embarrasing.  It has nothing to do with them being stylistically different, I just think that they are all three bad songs.  The Musgraves song is pretty good.  I have a feeling that I'd like Saturday Night on Hollywood Blvd. a lot more without Nate Ruess vocals.  I've just never been a big fan of his voice.  I'm not into On the Island and at all and find Zoey's voice, at least on this tune, to be pretty annoying. 

The much maligned Joe Thomas production falls flat once again for me, but honestly, I can handle bad production if the songs are strong.  Imagination isn't my favorite album, but it had a couple of terrific songs that rise above.  TWGMTR has several terrific songs that more than make up for the Joe Thomas slick and sparkly production.  This album just doesn't have anything, even at it's best moments, that rivals songs like Your Imagination, Lay Down Burden, Isn't It Time, Strange World, From There to Back Again or Summer's Gone.  Great songs make all the difference and though there are only a couple of songs on No Pier Pressure that I flat out can't stand, I don't find much that I am able to flip out over either.

The bonus tracks other than the already mentioned Don't Worry are nothing remarkable.  I could take them or leave them.  The re-recording of In the Back of My Mind is cool for the historical value, but fairly depressing.  The '05 Love and Mercy is fine, but unnecessary considering I already have the original single.


The best moments for me are This Beautiful Day (I really wish that this songs would have been loner), The Right Time, What Ever Happened and I Guess You Had to Be There.

I wanted to love this album and listened many times trying to force myself to, but it's just not going to happen.  It's not awful, but I still rank it pretty low on the spectrum of Brian's discography.  I still say that TLOS has been the highest point of Brian's solo career.  I'd kill for another Brian/Scott Bennett album collaboration.
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« Reply #388 on: April 10, 2015, 09:21:03 AM »



Your mileage, of course, may vary.  If you like NPP, that's great - just, for me, personally, this one is a misfire.

I hear ya man, but I just want to illustrate from an outside voice speaking in, that your entire review perfectly presents that YOU are the reason you're not enjoying the album.  Your only critiques of it are that you don't like that whole sound, or that whole genre of music, or those type of guitars... 

I know it's hard because I do the same thing, but try listening to it with unprejudiced ears.  What if you decided to start liking (*gasp!) adult contemporary?  We might think you're old!  We might think you're soft!  We might think you're a poser!  Ignore all of that and just listen to the music for what it is, and see if you like it, regardless of what genre it's in or what the guitar tone is. 

I didn’t read Tomorrowville’s review as only focusing on the production or genre (although those things *can* impact one’s enjoyment, and can also go hand-in-hand with not liking the actual compositions).

I’m still working on my own review, but *very generally* speaking, I have similar thoughts to some of Tomorrowville’s. Some of the songs, the actual compositions, even after you strip away whatever the production style is, are not super memorable. One of the greatest things about Brian has always been his chord progressions and vocal arrangements. He almost *always* delivers the goods with vocal arrangements, regardless of the quality of the compositions or level of interesting chord changes. What I do hear on “NPP” is, in *some* cases, slightly pleasant but predictable chord patterns/changes. I think some of this may be down to Thomas’ songwriting involvement. I heard some similarities between the chord patterns on NPP and TWGMTR, in terms of how the chord progressions are resolved, and how long a song hangs on a specific chord. There are some moments when I can tell what the next chord is going to be before I’ve ever heard it. It’s never bad, but it’s sometimes a bit “not memorable.” Two of the most interesting songs compositionally for me are “Sail Away” and “One Kind of Love”, and it’s perhaps not a coincidence that those two tracks have input from writers other than Thomas. No, those two songs aren’t exactly “This Whole World” either structurally, but they do some ear-catching things with chord changes that some of the other tracks don’t.

This effect is why I’ve always had a “that’s good but it doesn’t *quite* hit the spot” feeling about something like “Summer’s Gone.” The song has a beautiful vocal arrangement and performance. Simple, but effective enough lyrics. Perhaps the best ending to a BB album outside of a few things like “Pet Sounds.” But the actual chords are just a bit bland. Unremarkable. Pleasant and constructed just fine.

I’ll have a no doubt rambling, epic review finished before too long. I dig the album. It has ups and downs, but certainly more ups. I do think that Thomas’ production/arrangement stamp on a good hunk of this album is *stronger* than TWGMTR. It isn’t to the level of “Imaginaton”, but NPP has a good amount of his touches: Oboes and woodwinds, plinky guitar plucking, plinky percussion, sparse percussion/drums. Some of these are also Brian’s hallmarks as well.

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« Reply #389 on: April 10, 2015, 01:22:12 PM »

So um..... has everyone figured out that after you take out all the guest-vocalist songs, your'e left with a really terrific 11-song Brian Wilson/almost Beach Boys album?  Smiley

Cuz while I love pretty much all of it, and all the guest star songs, I think a stronger, more cohesive ALBUM can be made without them.
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« Reply #390 on: April 10, 2015, 01:43:49 PM »

Y'know, it could be argued that Pet Sounds isn't packed with the catchiest possible tunes either.

If you're talking about Brian, you really can't separate the instrumental and vocal arrangements from the basic songs.
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« Reply #391 on: April 10, 2015, 06:11:00 PM »

I want to spend some more time with the album before writing out a full review but my first thoughts..."Our Special Love" just kills me, a really beautiful intro and outro with this awful boy band song wedged in to the middle.  "Runaway Dancer" is the only song that I'm now skipping.  I'm surprised at some of the negative reviews of "Sail Away" I love the bouncy bass, and Al's singing coming out of the key change, the whole thing is very catchy and one of my favorite tunes on the album, along with "Guess You Had to Be There."   Overall the Joe Thomas cheese-factor is bothering me more here than ever before.
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« Reply #392 on: April 10, 2015, 07:27:34 PM »

Initial Impressions (after first listen)

Wow, a lot to like.  Different.  Updated.  New-sounding.  Progressive -- pushing boundaries.  Soulful.  Fresh.  Layered.  Lots to hear.  Lots to discover.  Professional.  Well-produced, slick.  Sweet.  Sad, bitter sweet.  Tender.  Meaningful.  Lots of curves thrown in.  Fun.  Exciting.  Inventive.  Happy to be making music.  A creative release.  No confines.  Free.

Call me a Joe Thomas defender, too, if need be.  But it's where the music's at.  It fits.  I don't think we'll get another "revealing" Love You production --nor another ground-breaking, wall-of-sound, climbing into the piano, new-horizon from Brian.  It's LA Light Album from here on out, perhaps.  And that's fine.  Beggars/choosers.  And I like LA a lot.

Overall, this feels like a natural extension of 2012's That's Why God Made The Radiator.  But better.  It's cooler.  It's not afraid to venture into different textures.  Essentially there's less "Beach Boy" branding to be aligned with.  This is where Brian Wilson lives.  The comfortable life of the never-retiring, rock-star genius.


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« Reply #393 on: April 10, 2015, 07:50:18 PM »

Initial Impressions (after first listen)

Wow, a lot to like.  Different.  Updated.  New-sounding.  Progressive -- pushing boundaries.  Soulful.  Fresh.  Layered.  Lots to hear.  Lots to discover.  Professional.  Well-produced, slick.  Sweet.  Sad, bitter sweet.  Tender.  Meaningful.  Lots of curves thrown in.  Fun.  Exciting.  Inventive.  Happy to be making music.  A creative release.  No confines.  Free.

Call me a Joe Thomas defender, too, if need be.  But it's where the music's at.  It fits.  I don't think we'll get another "revealing" Love You production --nor another ground-breaking, wall-of-sound, climbing into the piano, new-horizon from Brian.  It's LA Light Album from here on out, perhaps.  And that's fine.  Beggars/choosers.  And I like LA a lot.

Overall, this feels like a natural extension of 2012's That's Why God Made The Radiator.  But better.  It's cooler.  It's not afraid to venture into different textures.  Essentially there's less "Beach Boy" branding to be aligned with.  This is where Brian Wilson lives.  The comfortable life of the never-retiring, rock-star genius.



Well executed take on NPP, BB. We share the same thoughts.   Happy Dance
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« Reply #394 on: April 10, 2015, 07:51:22 PM »

I want to spend some more time with the album before writing out a full review but my first thoughts..."Our Special Love" just kills me, a really beautiful intro and outro with this awful boy band song wedged in to the middle.  "Runaway Dancer" is the only song that I'm now skipping.  I'm surprised at some of the negative reviews of "Sail Away" I love the bouncy bass, and Al's singing coming out of the key change, the whole thing is very catchy and one of my favorite tunes on the album, along with "Guess You Had to Be There."   Overall the Joe Thomas cheese-factor is bothering me more here than ever before.
cool Buster Keaton photo..he's one of my favorite comedians..ok back to topic...lol
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« Reply #395 on: April 10, 2015, 09:08:34 PM »

If the Professor were smart, he would sound like Bean Bag, whose laconic summary gets at the album's virtues without pomp or needless exposition.

it's been a while--start the chant! bean bag bean bag, bean bag. . .



Initial Impressions (after first listen)

Wow, a lot to like.  Different.  Updated.  New-sounding.  Progressive -- pushing boundaries.  Soulful.  Fresh.  Layered.  Lots to hear.  Lots to discover.  Professional.  Well-produced, slick.  Sweet.  Sad, bitter sweet.  Tender.  Meaningful.  Lots of curves thrown in.  Fun.  Exciting.  Inventive.  Happy to be making music.  A creative release.  No confines.  Free.

Call me a Joe Thomas defender, too, if need be.  But it's where the music's at.  It fits.  I don't think we'll get another "revealing" Love You production --nor another ground-breaking, wall-of-sound, climbing into the piano, new-horizon from Brian.  It's LA Light Album from here on out, perhaps.  And that's fine.  Beggars/choosers.  And I like LA a lot.

Overall, this feels like a natural extension of 2012's That's Why God Made The Radiator.  But better.  It's cooler.  It's not afraid to venture into different textures.  Essentially there's less "Beach Boy" branding to be aligned with.  This is where Brian Wilson lives.  The comfortable life of the never-retiring, rock-star genius.



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« Reply #396 on: April 10, 2015, 10:39:41 PM »

Initial Impressions (after first listen)

Wow, a lot to like.  Different.  Updated.  New-sounding.  Progressive -- pushing boundaries.  Soulful.  Fresh.  Layered.  Lots to hear.  Lots to discover.  Professional.  Well-produced, slick.  Sweet.  Sad, bitter sweet.  Tender.  Meaningful.  Lots of curves thrown in.  Fun.  Exciting.  Inventive.  Happy to be making music.  A creative release.  No confines.  Free.

Call me a Joe Thomas defender, too, if need be.  But it's where the music's at.  It fits.  I don't think we'll get another "revealing" Love You production --nor another ground-breaking, wall-of-sound, climbing into the piano, new-horizon from Brian.  It's LA Light Album from here on out, perhaps.  And that's fine.  Beggars/choosers.  And I like LA a lot.

Overall, this feels like a natural extension of 2012's That's Why God Made The Radiator.  But better.  It's cooler.  It's not afraid to venture into different textures.  Essentially there's less "Beach Boy" branding to be aligned with.  This is where Brian Wilson lives.  The comfortable life of the never-retiring, rock-star genius.




This is about how I feel about it too, well said. 
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« Reply #397 on: April 10, 2015, 11:01:25 PM »

Dellydel:

Just tried the 11 track Brian Wilson Album.... and  Grin
This is great!

Especially "Whatever Happened" following "This Beautiful Day".

Parts of it sound like an Al Jardine solo album. Love IT! Hopefully theres a next album with Blondie and Al!
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« Reply #398 on: April 11, 2015, 08:15:57 AM »

Call me a Joe Thomas defender,

I see no need to do that, unless you would enjoy that! Cheesy
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« Reply #399 on: April 11, 2015, 09:02:34 AM »

After my first three listens I'm sorry to say that so far, I think it's a dissapointing album. I love 'That Lucky Old Sun' and 'That's Why God Made The Radio' to death, so I really expected this to be considerably better than it is, to be honest... I hope it'll grow on me some more, since several songs on TWGMTR also needed some time, but anyway:

This Beautiful Day: Sounds a bit like 'Summer's Gone'. Not one of Brian's most convincing vocals, but still a decent album intro.
Runaway Dancer: Just painful. I hate it. Absolutely hate it. This just might be the very worst song that Brian ever had anything to do with in his life. I was in my teens in the 1990s and I absolutely despised all that electronic dance music that my peers were listening to. So it almost feels like betrayal to hear electronic beats and synths like those on a Brian Wilson album. Oh, and I also hate saxophones.
Whatever Happened: Even after Al's solo album and TWGMTR, it's still a thrill to hear a brand new song with more than one Beach Boy singing on it. This song does sound a bit like an Imagination outtake though. And that's not a good thing.
On The Island: Nice one. Very sunny, very mellow, a bit wacky (in a good way), has a bit of a Busy Doin' Nothing vibe. And I love Zooey's voice. Downside is that it sounds like a She & Him song with Brian guesting on backing vocals, rather than a Brian Wilson song.
Half Moon Bay: A bit too jazzy for my taste, but still pleasant enough.
Our Special Love: Yuck. Comes way too close to R&B (not the real rhtyhm & blues, but the slick modern kind) and whatever all those boy bands (Take That, Boyzone) were making in the 1990s and 2000s.
The Right Time: Pleasant song, Al sounds great as always. The chorus sounds a bit too much like Lay Down Burden, though.
Guess You Had To Be There: So far, this is hands down my favorite song on the album. Some really gorgeous melodies here. Nice, laid back arrangement. I like it a lot.
Tell Me Why: Fairly mediocre and a bit too sappy. I do love that Al is on so many songs on this album.
Sail Away: This is a fun song. I like the subtle Sloop John B melodies. Blondie's voice aged really well. He sounds cool. Especially with Blondie's vocal, this would've been a great song for TWGMTR.
One Kind Of Love:  Pretty good one, probably the second best song on the album. Some beautiful things going on in the string and brass arrangement.
Saturday Night: I don't mind that this album has so many guest singers. But since this is a Brian Wilson album, it doesn't make sense that he gives someone else the lead vocal on almost an entire song. So again, this just sounds like Brian guesting on someone else's song. Having said that, I do like Nate Ruess's voice and this song is really catchy.
The Last Song: Mike's Beard wrote that this is "The bastard love child of Bruce Johnston and Dennis Wilson at their most sappy. This tries to be another Summer's Gone but fails to do so," and I think that's a pretty good description.
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