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Author Topic: Looking back on Brian's best studio recordings of the last decade  (Read 2503 times)
SamMcK
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« on: March 16, 2017, 11:34:43 PM »

I was compiling a list of my favourite tracks since 2007's What Love Can Do, and was surprised at how much quite a lot of it holds up when you stack most of the best (imo) recordings together:

1. What Love Can Do
2. Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl
3. Southern California
4. Live Let Live (Demo)
5. Midnights Another Day (Demo)
6. The Like In I Love You
7. 'S Wonderful
8. They Can't Take That Away from Me
9. I Got Rhythm
10. Baby Mine
11. Colors Of The Wind
12. Think About The Days
13. That's Why God Made The Radio
14. Isn't It Time
15. Spring Vacation
16. Shelter
17. Strange World
18. From There to Back Again
19. Pacific Coast Highway
20. Summer's Gone
21. Wanderlust
22. This Beautiful Day
23. Whatever Happened
24. The Right Time
25. I'm Feeling Sad
26. One Kind Of Love

On listening through my comp, the past 10 years seem to have been a definite improvement over the preceding 10-15 years of BB related music IMO. (Presents SMiLE excepted)

Anyone else find more enjoyment in Brian's modern solo work than most 80s-90s recordings? How do his most recent recordings compare to his previous eras?
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bringahorseinhere?
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 03:42:04 AM »

I like the 95' IJWMFTT vocal period onwards from Brian after those strained vocals leading that led up to OCA.
I thought from there to the 98' Imagination vocals and the following 8 years or so he really was back in the game
live and in the studio vocally.
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 07:35:45 AM »

The Right Time is such a great, mellow song. Never ceases to bring a smile to my face. He and Al just sound really happy on that record.
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 07:41:17 AM »

I was compiling a list of my favourite tracks since 2007's What Love Can Do, and was surprised at how much quite a lot of it holds up when you stack most of the best (imo) recordings together:

1. What Love Can Do
2. Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl
3. Southern California
4. Live Let Live (Demo)
5. Midnights Another Day (Demo)
6. The Like In I Love You
7. 'S Wonderful
8. They Can't Take That Away from Me
9. I Got Rhythm
10. Baby Mine
11. Colors Of The Wind
12. Think About The Days
13. That's Why God Made The Radio
14. Isn't It Time
15. Spring Vacation
16. Shelter
17. Strange World
18. From There to Back Again
19. Pacific Coast Highway
20. Summer's Gone
21. Wanderlust
22. This Beautiful Day
23. Whatever Happened
24. The Right Time
25. I'm Feeling Sad
26. One Kind Of Love

On listening through my comp, the past 10 years seem to have been a definite improvement over the preceding 10-15 years of BB related music IMO. (Presents SMiLE excepted)

Anyone else find more enjoyment in Brian's modern solo work than most 80s-90s recordings? How do his most recent recordings compare to his previous eras?

Yes yes yes.  Personally, I think the last decade of Brian Wilson material is second only to his run from 1963-73 in terms of consistency. 
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 07:43:33 AM »

My personal picks might be different here and there but I absolutely agree with the general sentiment. It's too bad (especially in the past 5 years or so) the strong songs and high quality arrangements and productions coincide with his deteriorating voice.
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 08:13:26 AM »

My personal picks might be different here and there but I absolutely agree with the general sentiment. It's too bad (especially in the past 5 years or so) the strong songs and high quality arrangements and productions coincide with his deteriorating voice.

This is true, and I wouldn't mind seeing Al, or maybe other members of his band (Darian or Matt), take some leads on future releases.
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2017, 09:15:42 AM »

I was compiling a list of my favourite tracks since 2007's What Love Can Do, and was surprised at how much quite a lot of it holds up when you stack most of the best (imo) recordings together:

Why are you surprised?  Sounds like an odd thing for a supposed fan to say.  Besides, he has had a small army of musicians supporting him, why shouldn't he be able to come up with some quality tracks??
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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2017, 09:22:02 AM »

My personal picks might be different here and there but I absolutely agree with the general sentiment. It's too bad (especially in the past 5 years or so) the strong songs and high quality arrangements and productions coincide with his deteriorating voice.

This is true, and I wouldn't mind seeing Al, or maybe other members of his band (Darian or Matt), take some leads on future releases.
That's been my hope for years. Fingers crossed.
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2017, 10:13:05 AM »

My personal picks might be different here and there but I absolutely agree with the general sentiment. It's too bad (especially in the past 5 years or so) the strong songs and high quality arrangements and productions coincide with his deteriorating voice.

This is true, and I wouldn't mind seeing Al, or maybe other members of his band (Darian or Matt), take some leads on future releases.
That's been my hope for years. Fingers crossed.

He does it in concert, so it would only make sense for him to do so in studio. 
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2017, 10:23:18 AM »

The typical response I e gotten here and elsewhere since around GIOMH has been "I don't care if Brian's voice strains, misses notes, etc, I'm not paying to hear [Sahanaja/Bennett/Mills/Foskett/etc] sing on a Brian Wilson album." (Response to Al or other BBs has always been more neutral to positive.)

But I guess hats where I differ: I'd rather hear someone sing well the songs of BW, under the direction of BW, than hear Brian sing them poorly. (Note, I'm not singing Brian can't sing at all, or is terrible. Just that when the parts don't suit his current voice, there's no reason to pretend otherwise.)
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2017, 10:26:46 AM »

The typical response I e gotten here and elsewhere since around GIOMH has been "I don't care if Brian's voice strains, misses notes, etc, I'm not paying to hear [Sahanaja/Bennett/Mills/Foskett/etc] sing on a Brian Wilson album." (Response to Al or other BBs has always been more neutral to positive.)

But I guess hats where I differ: I'd rather hear someone sing well the songs of BW, under the direction of BW, than hear Brian sing them poorly. (Note, I'm not singing Brian can't sing at all, or is terrible. Just that when the parts don't suit his current voice, there's no reason to pretend otherwise.)

I can see both points of view, but I'm siding with the latter.  Besides, I'd rather hear Darian or Paul singing on a BW album than Kacey Musgraves or Sebu.

Plus, when you pay to see Brian Wilson live, he sings, what 65% of the lead vox. 

Off topic, but I kinda wish Roger Waters would do the same on his upcoming album.
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2017, 06:41:08 PM »

The production of Brian's songs has gotten better, but I enjoy his 80s/90s material (first solo album and Paley sessions to be specific) more. I still like his more recent stuff, but I can't say that I love any of it except for What Love Can Do.
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 02:47:54 PM »

"Nothing But Love" and "Just Like Me and You" can stand alongside anything Brian  has had a hand in from the 60's onwards.
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 06:42:08 AM »

On listening through my comp, the past 10 years seem to have been a definite improvement over the preceding 10-15 years of BB related music IMO. (Presents SMiLE excepted)

Anyone else find more enjoyment in Brian's modern solo work than most 80s-90s recordings? How do his most recent recordings compare to his previous eras?

I agree completely. I find it bizarre that, for example on the Steve Hoffman forum, there seems to be a lot more affection for the 1988 album than any other solo Brian. I find the '88 album very hard to listen to. I don't have GIOMH or the Christmas album, but I'll take any of the others over the '88 album.

I think the 21st century has been very good to Brian overall, and the best of his work from this period is clearly his most thoughtfully conceived and warmly performed music since Love You. I often listen to this compilation of my favorites from Brian from TLOS on:

Morning Beat
Good Kind of Love
Live Let Live
Midnight's Another Day
Southern California
The Like In I Love You
I Loves You, Porgy
I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'
I've Got a Crush on You
Someone to Watch Over Me
Baby Mine
When You Wish Upon a Star
A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes
Think About the Days
Isn't It Time
Spring Vacation
Shelter
From There to Back Again
Pacific Coast Highway
Summer's Gone
This Beautiful Day
Half Moon Bay
Our Special Love (so I like this tune -- sue me)
Tell Me Why
Sail Away
I'm Feeling Sad
Somewhere Quiet

I tack on a few tracks from Imagination to bring it up to an even 30.

But the truth is, I think TLOS, the Gershwin album, and TWGMTR are an astonishing late-career trilogy and I enjoy them in their entirety, notwithstanding some of the lovesick-robot vocal effects on TWGMTR. (I'm a little more pick-and-choose about NPP and the Disney album.)
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 06:51:07 AM »

"The Last Song" anyone? That is one of my all time Brian-faves!
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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2017, 09:37:01 AM »

"The Last Song" anyone? That is one of my all time Brian-faves!

Pixletwin’s comment has spawned an essay and for that I ask you all to forgive me LOL. Behold, the detailed meandering of my half-baked thoughts in all their splendor:

BW88 - I love almost the whole album (Little Children being the exception. I think it’s a cute song, but I don't dig his vocals on it. I like the Brian Loves You demo better). The only thing I don’t like about BW88 is how it suffers from being made in the 80s and sounds so dated as a result. But the songs are so good. I’d love to hear them performed live with his current band.

Best tracks:
•   L&M
•   Walkin’ the Line
•   Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long
•   One for the Boys
•   There’s So Many
•   Let It Shine
•   Rio Grande

IJWMFTT soundtrack – I get that it’s sort of a documentation of the “state of Brian” at that time as reemerging from his dark period and I appreciate it for that, but after listening to it once I’ve never had a desire to hear it again. Maybe I’d feel differently if I am ever able to see the film (it’s extraordinarily hard to find in my neck of the woods, not available for (legit) download or rent from iTunes even, and I’m not shelling out big bucks for it on amazon or ebay).

Orange Crate Art – I want to like this album. It was such a great concept and on the first listen the songs struck me as the type that I could spend a while getting to know. But I didn’t put the time in because Brian’s vocals distracted me. I’ll go back to it eventually. I definitely feel like this album as the potential to grow on me when I get past the vocals.

Imagination –  I love it. To me, it’s so fresh and even tempered. He sings beautifully on everything here. And it works particularly well as a gentle way to “come down” from listening to BW88, actually. A good chaser to that one! My one complaint would be the Keep An Eye On Summer redux. That to me was just not necessary.

Best tracks:
•   Your Imagination
•   She Says that She Needs Me
•   South American
•   Lay Down Burden
•   Let Him Run Wild
•   Happy Days

GIOMH – I seem to be enjoying this one more than a lot of people seem to be reporting here. Definitely not perfect, but where it’s good, it’s so good. Like many, I was disappointed with the Paul McCartney collaboration. So much more could have been done there, and it feels very thrown together, and Paul’s part seems like a late-arrival to the potluck rather than what should have been the main course. But overall, I like the tone of the album. It sounds like Brian was having fun again, perhaps in the spirit of having been back in the Smile mindset with his revisit to that project around the same time. And I really enjoy the more polished production of the Sweet Insanity tracks that made it on. I very much dislike the pasted on Carl vocal in Soul Searchin’ though. Give me the MIC version over the GIOMH version, always.

Best tracks:
•   How Could We Still Be Dancin?
•   Gettin’ In Over My Head
•   City Blues
•   Desert Drive
•   Make a Wish
•   Rainbow Eyes
•   Saturday Morning in the City

The Waltz gets an honourable mention because the backing track is just so awesome but the lyrics are so clumsy. Some days I feel like I get what Brian was doing on it vocally, and other days I’m like “nope”.  Clumsiest waltz ever… but that in and of itself is rather endearing. So I’m torn.

Brian Wilson Presents Smile – I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said (I probably have not said anything new up to this point anyway, but anyway…). I'm so glad this happened. Achieved its mission (made me smile)!

WIRWFC – It’s a pretty generic Christmas album. Whenever Brian does his own take on traditional songs, he either goes full Brian or stays very true to the traditional arrangement, it seems. I wish he would have gone full Brian on this. We’ve heard these songs so many times, they deserve some creative, even outlandish treatment which he is more than capable of delivering. I wanted to list the best tracks but nothing really made that big of an impression on me. Maybe I’ll feel differently next Christmas  Smiley

TLOS – Oh man, I love this. I listen to this album and go “see all you naysayers, when you let Brian do what he wants and achieve his vision, you get awesome stuff like this”.  Great vocal performance except for one: Midnight’s Another Day. A stunning song with a less than stunningl vocal performance. I’m very disappointed that THAT vocal was the one that was chosen as the keeper. It wrecks the song for me. I get that it’s a personal song and it wouldn’t make sense to have anyone else sing it. But if he couldn’t do it as intended, then maybe it needed to be reworked a bit. I’ll probably get heat for that (unpopular opinion time?), it seems to be a favourite around these parts.

Best tracks:
•   Morning Beat
•   Good Kind of Love
•   Live Let Live
•   California Role
•   Oxygen to the Brain
•   Can’t Wait Too Long
•   Going Home
•   Southern California

BW Reimagines Gershwin – I’m just getting to know this one. Love at first listen. Some of his absolute best solo vocals. You can tell he LOVES these songs. He might actually convert me into a Gershwin fan with this.  

Best tracks at this early stage of familiarity:
•   I Loves You Porgy
•   I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’
•   It Ain’t Necessarily So
•   They Can’t Take That Away from Me
•   I’ve Got a Crush On You
•   I Got Rhythm

In the Key of Disney – Haven’t heard it yet, but I will eventually. Not a fan of Disney music, but I will reserve judgement until I’ve heard it because Gershwin, OMG.

NPP – And now… the album that hosts the song that generated the comment in this thread that made me want to write this whole ridiculous thing LOL

"The Last Song" anyone? That is one of my all time Brian-faves!

At the album level, there is a clash between Brian’s old school style and the new school style of the young artists on this album that I don’t dig. I like what he was going for with it conceptually, but it just doesn’t work for me, at least not so far. At the song level, when I listen to the songs with contributions from the younger artists in isolation, I enjoy them, but on the album I find them jarring. Still, there are some absolute WOW moments on there. I love Brian's vocals on this album, they're just perfect. The Last Song is so emotionally moving, it chokes me up every time I hear it (and then I listen to Southern California off TLOS because they just go together in my mind).

Best tracks:
•   This Beautiful Day
•   What Ever Happened
•   The Right Time
•   Don’t Worry
•   Somewhere Quiet
•   I’m Feeling Sad
•   Tell Me Why
•   Sail Away
•   One Kind of Love
•   The Last Song

Alright I’m done. Sorry about all that, I feel like this has been brewing for awhile and needed to get it out… LOL. Thanks for bearing with me.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 10:57:25 AM by SCaroline Z » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2017, 01:01:23 PM »

I think Melt Away and Rio Grande are as good as anything on Pet Sounds, so are From There To Back Again and Summer's Gone, those might even reach Smile.

I would almost add in Think About The Days, but the piano turns me off, it is as simple as it is, there nothing that screams Brian about it, you just can tell right away Joe came up with it and nothing was changed to it, which is a shame, nice melody and harmonies tho.

I think That's Why God Made The Radio is super well written, it has everything a modern Beach Boys should have sounded like, it could have been released anywhere from the 70's all the way to the 2010's, it couldn't do any wrong, Shelter is somehow one i often go back too, the verses are so Brian.

Good Kind Of Love is an amazing pure Brian that have worked perfectly on Love You, so is Going Home and Midnight's Another Day is tremendously beautiful.

I think lot of Imagination is underrated too.

On an unrelated note SamMcK, could you share a higher bigger quality and size photo of your profil avatar, please?
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« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2017, 01:07:50 PM »

Quote
Orange Crate Art – I want to like this album. It was such a great concept and on the first listen the songs struck me as the type that I could spend a while getting to know. But I didn’t put the time in because Brian’s vocals distracted me. I’ll go back to it eventually. I definitely feel like this album as the potential to grow on me when I get past the vocals.

Doesn't help that after the best song ("San Francisco"), the album COMPLETELY falls off the rails. "Hold Back Time", for instance, just may be the worst thing Brian ever recorded (that or Speed Turtle)
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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2017, 01:19:36 PM »

----------------------I think Melt Away and Rio Grande are as good as anything on Pet Sounds, so are From There To Back Again and Summer's Gone, those might even reach Smile.

I would almost add in Think About The Days, but the piano turns me off, it is as simple as it is, there nothing that screams Brian about it, you just can tell right away Joe came up with it and nothing was changed to it, which is a shame, nice melody and harmonies tho.-------------------------


I agree with both of these sentiments 100%! And BB** is still my favorite album of his. The songs are just top notch
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2017, 03:40:15 PM »

Quote
Orange Crate Art – I want to like this album. It was such a great concept and on the first listen the songs struck me as the type that I could spend a while getting to know. But I didn’t put the time in because Brian’s vocals distracted me. I’ll go back to it eventually. I definitely feel like this album as the potential to grow on me when I get past the vocals.

Doesn't help that after the best song ("San Francisco"), the album COMPLETELY falls off the rails.

Yeah, I do seem to remember that during the first time I heard OCA I felt like I was all "let's just see what comes next" and then I just wanted off the OCA cart after a certain point  LOL.  Just gave it it another listen and you’re right, that’s where the wheels come off indeed.  I will say that Sail Away and San Francisco are both really great songs. They got lost among the weeds the first time around.
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2017, 11:08:24 PM »

Quote
Orange Crate Art – I want to like this album. It was such a great concept and on the first listen the songs struck me as the type that I could spend a while getting to know. But I didn’t put the time in because Brian’s vocals distracted me. I’ll go back to it eventually. I definitely feel like this album as the potential to grow on me when I get past the vocals.

Doesn't help that after the best song ("San Francisco"), the album COMPLETELY falls off the rails.

Yeah, I do seem to remember that during the first time I heard OCA I felt like I was all "let's just see what comes next" and then I just wanted off the OCA cart after a certain point  LOL.  Just gave it it another listen and you’re right, that’s where the wheels come off indeed.  I will say that Sail Away and San Francisco are both really great songs. They got lost among the weeds the first time around.
How can anyone not love Movies is Magic? I love the whole album, the one minor gripe being the poor harmonizing on Hold Back Time. I will take Brian's output from 1988-98 over most of what has come since. I hadn't listened to OCA or IJWMFTT in a long time, put them on last winter, and kept going back to them. BW88 will always be special to me, being Brian's first solo album after many years of rumours; Imagination is just a nice listen.
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« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2017, 07:05:25 AM »

I really like Hold Back Time, go figure! A fun hooky song with some dazzling wordplay from Van.

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« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2017, 12:33:53 PM »

Back in 1995, it was difficult for me to get into "Orange Crate Art" that much. But in the last 5-10 years, I've grown to dig it a lot more. It's not perfect. But I like it, and I like that it's only 50% Brian-esque and has Brian singing on stuff that otherwise isn't precisely like what he would do on his own. Yes, VDP's arrangements are sometimes too ornate and the arrangement/production at times sounds a bit, I don't know what to call it, like 5% of the way towards elevator music?

But the songs, the compositions themselves, are mostly quite good, and I think Brian's arrangements and vocal performances are great. Great vocal stacks, even with some technological help (still sounds better than modern-day autotuning). As f**ked up as Brian may have still been only a few years removed from the Landy situation, and yet he still knocks out the arrangement and vocals on something like "San Francisco" that probably nobody else much on this planet could have done just like that.

I still laugh just a bit to myself thinking of the one story of someone back circa 1995 yelling out to Mike at a BB show to do "Orange Crate Art." That makes me laugh for some reason.
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« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2017, 05:28:38 PM »

Back in 1995, it was difficult for me to get into "Orange Crate Art" that much. But in the last 5-10 years, I've grown to dig it a lot more. It's not perfect. But I like it, and I like that it's only 50% Brian-esque and has Brian singing on stuff that otherwise isn't precisely like what he would do on his own. Yes, VDP's arrangements are sometimes too ornate and the arrangement/production at times sounds a bit, I don't know what to call it, like 5% of the way towards elevator music?

But the songs, the compositions themselves, are mostly quite good, and I think Brian's arrangements and vocal performances are great. Great vocal stacks, even with some technological help (still sounds better than modern-day autotuning). As f**ked up as Brian may have still been only a few years removed from the Landy situation, and yet he still knocks out the arrangement and vocals on something like "San Francisco" that probably nobody else much on this planet could have done just like that.

I still laugh just a bit to myself thinking of the one story of someone back circa 1995 yelling out to Mike at a BB show to do "Orange Crate Art." That makes me laugh for some reason.

It makes me laugh too.  

I offer a sincere apology to everyone. I enjoy reading your opinions about your favorite songs, but I'm sick of expressing mine.  Opining keeps MBs going and in the case of SS, that's mostly a good thing.  I'm glad you're still at it.

I've never looked at the exorcised, lying and/or troll SS members board and it's comments (that was sort of a joke, but not really for that place I will not name, nor visit).  If someone thinks SIP is great and NPP is garbage, their opinion doesn't interest me. You people have your own personal taste, and it actually includes "taste."

Thx for being interesting.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 06:03:16 PM by Debbie KL » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2017, 09:42:39 PM »

I really like Hold Back Time, go figure! A fun hooky song with some dazzling wordplay from Van.


I do like the song, just wish the vocals were a bit more together. Or maybe they wanted it to sound the way it turned out, two singers singing not always together.
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