TL;DR I made a Beach Boys album reminiscent of the Beatles Love album.Listen here: https://vimeo.com/145226253
Of course without having access to mastertapes and individual vocal/instrumental tracks it is utterly impossible to make a Beach Boys album even 10% of what The Beatles Love
album is. But I tried.
I was so flippin ecstatic with the Atticus Ross tracks from ‘Love and Mercy’, and I wanted more and more. It started with me tinkering at random with some tracks. Which then grew into this grandiose idea that I could make a whole fan-mixed album in the style of both The Beatles Love
album and the soundtrack to ‘Love and Mercy’. Well here is my work. It took hours upon countless hours of trial and error. Many failures were had, but overall it was so much fun to delve through my collection and try and find pieces that worked well together.
Throughout this album are moments of my own creation. Mostly Atticus Ross inspired synths that I used sparingly and (hopefully) tastefully. Other things I added were sound effects (wind, crackling fire, water, voices (all from either session chatter or Brian’s home tape-recorder boot) etc) - I wanted to create a place and atmosphere with this album. Also, some very unorthodox mixes are in this album, some things many would consider sacrilege (such as mixing a very short mashup between The Beatles ‘Let It Be’ and Brian’s ‘Imagination’ song - yikes..what the hell was I thinking?).
I partially made this out of curiosity, partially in the hopes that someone higher up in the Beach Boys world would recognize the potential for an official album like this. The Beach Boys are a treasure trove of sonic wonder…within each song are limitless harmonies, chords, sounds, that have the potential to intermingle with other songs in a way that could help people appreciate this music even more.
If you have a pair of headphones (earbuds, anything), I’d recommend using them to listen to this mix (There are a lot of stereo effects and panning going on). Not a requirement though.
I hope you all enjoy it; I’m sure anyone who listens will find at least one interesting mix in this bunch.
1. I’m Waiting For Our Prayer
2. Heroes and Villains
3. You Still Believe In Me (Vitamin String Quartet and Brian vocal)
4. I Just Wasn’t Wonderful
5. Brian’s Magic Transistor Radio
6. Til I Die
7. Please Say Goodbye (The Beatles vs The Beach Boys)
8. Don’t Worry, Hushabye
9. Wouldn’t It Be Worms
12. Good Vibrations (Outro)
Thought I’d write up some notes for this, in case someone was interested in how I made it:
1. ‘I’m Waiting For Our Prayer’. I wanted to start the album off with a person walking down a city street to a church, and inside the church The Beach Boys are singing ‘Our Prayer’. The city is cold and rainy, sirens are going off, cars with loud music are screaming by; but the music of the Beach Boys provides shelter from the storm.
2. ‘Heroes and Villains’. I’ve lately imagined that ’66 Brian had some amazing world of Heroes and Villains inside his head. A place full of indians, cowboys, steam engine trains, lonesome western town, empty dry plains. He tried so hard to put it on tape, but the idea was so vast it was an impossible task. I’ve tried to re-create (or create) that world. It starts off with sound effects of steam engine whistles, a horse galloping across a plain, and thunder to usher in the verse. I tried to make this imaginary world while making something that sounds like an actual song. There are spoken bits from ‘psychedelic sounds’, ‘There’s No Other Like My Baby’, the count-in from Mona Kani, even some spanish spoken by a school-going Brian and a friend from his home tape recorder.
3. ‘You Still Believe In Me’. I used the Vitamin String Quartet YSBIM cover and overlayed Brian’s vocal from the Pet Sounds boxset on it. It wasn’t as easy as placing the vocal track directly over the Vitamin Quartet cover. A lot of time-flexing, a lot of editing, a lot of stretching took place with Brian’s vocal. There are digital artifacts, moments of imperfections, but they aren’t too bad on this track. I implore anyone who hasn’t heard the Vitamin String Quartet Pet Sounds album
to check it out. One of the most beautiful cover albums.
4. ‘I Just Wasn’t Wonderful’. Speaking of digital artifacts….holy crap. I had to up the pitch of the piano track of Wonderful (from The Smile Sessions) and time-flex the hell out of Brian’s vocal (a vocal only of ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times). This is full of little pops and specks of imperfections. Some of the melodies don’t match with the chords. But I was so impressed that most of this mashup worked that I left it in the final album.
5. ‘Brian’s Magic Transistor Radio’. This is a medley that uses quite a few tracks.
1. ‘Do You Wanna Dance In Cottonfields’
Combines ‘I Was Made To Love Her’ instrumental, ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ instrumental, ‘Cottonfields’ vocal, ‘Do You Like Worms’ chant, ‘409’ car rev.
2. ‘This Darlin Car Of Mine’
Combines ‘Darlin’’ instrumental with ‘This Car Of Mine’ vocal.
3. ‘Our Sweet Sloop’
Combines ‘Our Sweet Love’ instrumental with ’Sloop John B’ vocals and ‘I Know There’s An Answer’ vocals.
4. ‘Bobby Left Me Waiting’
Combines the instrumental for ‘Bobby Left Me’ (Brian track from the Big Beat ’63 album) with the vocals of ‘I’m Waiting For The Day’. Not a perfect mashup, but I do love that chorus.
5. ‘Unknown Piano Intermezzo’
Combines the ‘Unknown Piano Intermezzo’ from the SOT boot with snippets of the ‘Don’t Talk’ vocal demo, drums from ‘I’m Waiting For The Day’, and my own synth playing.
6. ’Til I Die’. A redux of my previous alternate edit
. I added in ocean sounds, psychedelic sounds 'Underwater' piece, vocal only sections (including Mike’s isolated vocal from ‘Love and Mercy’). Also the section after the verses uses two separate moments from the Desper mixed track that are placed together, making for a different listening experience than the norm.
7. ‘Please Say Goodbye’. As this was greatly inspired by the Beatles Love
album, I felt I had to mash together a track with them. I used the lead vocal for ‘Hello Goodbye’ and the backing track to ‘Please Let Me Wonder’. Also, at the tail end of the track I quickly combined the piano from ‘Let It Be’ with Brian’s lead first verse of ‘Imagination’. Yeah, it’s a sacrilege and I’m sorry…I had heard the two combined in my head for quite some time and wanted to include it, if only because it’s interesting.
8. ‘Don’t Worry Hushabye’. The intro to this track is a hugely Atticus Ross inspired intro, synths, lots of studio chatter overdubbed, the Murry Help Me Rhonda argument, even the basketball track from psychedelic sounds is buried in there. The actual track is by no means perfect (the lead on Hushabye sounds so tinny because I had to mix the EQ to play only the high registers because the bass parts didn’t fit at all over Don’t Worry Baby.
9. ‘Wouldn’t It Be Worms’. I made my own string section for the a cappella harmonies during the intro. Then I combined the vocals from the first verse of ‘WIBN’ with the instrumental to ‘Do You Like Worms’. I also combined some vocals from ‘Surf’s Up’ over the DYLW outro. This is definitely my least favorite track from this album and I'm sad it didn’t turn out better.
10. ‘Starchild’. Everything you hear in this is Beach Boys. Even the piano playing the CIFOTM BWPS verse melody. I used a bit from the vocal demo from ‘Don’t Talk’ in the intro, the BWPS melody was made from using a sample of the ‘Hushabye’ piano intro (splicing and changing the pitch to match the BWPS melody). I named it ‘Starchild’ because it has a very spacey atmosphere, reminds me of floating through the middle of the universe.
11. ‘Watadori’. The beat somewhat inspired by 'In The Key of Dee'. The one song here driven mostly by my own instruments. I played piano and synths all throughout the track. I added sound effects (radio, ocean sounds, boat, seagulls, etc). I made a whole new chord arrangement for the intro to ‘You Still Believe In Me’ - gave it a really sad feel. I had to time flex that YSBIM intro a lot to get it to fit the beat. I yet again used Brian’s ‘Don’t Talk’ vocal snippet and sampled it, changed the pitch for added harmonies to this song. It ends with the ‘Surfin’ “If you laugh once I’ll pop you!” exchange between Dennis, David, and Brian.
12. ‘Good Vibrations (Outro)’. I made my own string section using MIDI for one part. Overdubbed over the Good Vibrations bridge is the chorus of ‘I’m Waiting For The Day’, ‘The Old Master Painter’, Brian’s ‘Don’t Talk’ vocal/harmony demo, ‘Hushabye’. The ‘Hum-be-dum’ section has drums from ‘I’m Waiting For The Day’ overdubbed on top. Probably most happy with ‘Old Master Painting’ fitting in (though some pitch shifting was used to make it work).