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Author Topic: "(Wouldn't It Be Nice To) Live Again": opinions nearly four years after release  (Read 5940 times)
sweetdudejim
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« on: May 10, 2017, 02:16:59 PM »

Now I know this will probably be a very unpopular opinion, but I gotta say it...

"(Wouldn't It Be Nice To) Live Again" isn't that great. It's a good song, but it was nowhere near as good as people like Stebbins, Doe and maybe even Edelson were talking up before it was finally released.

I don't even think it's a top-tier Dennis Wilson composition. Off the top of my head, I would take "River Song", "Little Bird", "Farewell My Friend", "Baby Blue" and a whole host of others over that song. It was talked up as this masterpiece that deserved to unseat "Surf's Up" as the final track on the album that became Surf's Up, and I just gotta say that the song that I have heard just doesn't bring the goods. I'm sorry.

If I recall, the vocal was talked up by Stebbins as Dennis' finest. To me, it's good but I don't think it's head and shoulders better than any of his other stuff. I think "Slip on Through" and "Forever" are both better vocally, and as far as conveying emotion, I think "River Song", "Angel Come Home" and "Baby Blue" top it.

By the way, I don't mean for this to be a *negative* thread per se. I'm just interested to see that now that we are nearly four years since the release of the song, whether people think it lived up to their expectations.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 03:05:39 PM »

Sweetdudejim, I respect your opinion, but have to disagree from my standpoint.

When I first heard the song, I listened with really good Sennheiser studio headphones, in a chilled out home environment for full effect. I literally cried right then and there.

Yes, the song was built up a ton, and I had to try and divorce myself from expectation, and just accept that it would be a really good song, but not necessarily the end all/be all. It did not disappoint. It’s such a rich song full of emotion, tons of very delicate little touches, and a VERY powerful vocal that shows even more of what Dennis was capable of, but had only barely scratched the surface on getting recorded (before the damage on his voice set in).

Basically, listening to the song is an emotional experience for me, since it BLOWS MY MIND that a band that was in the very small group of contemporaries with The Beatles could have kept a song like this completely unreleased for 40 years, especially when they released so much drivel in the intervening years (mixed with some good stuff too, of course). ONLY with this band could this happen.

Listening to the song (at first listen, as well as now) really drives home one main thought to me: that Dennis Wilson was a massive talent who was ridiculously underappreciated – by both those around him, as well as the world at large - in his lifetime. In the history of the band, IMO it’s the biggest “what could have been”, maybe only 2nd or 3rd after SMiLE, because I truly think this song would have attained legendary status (not legendary for being a lost curio, but legendary for being a seriously RAD song that was progressive and pushed the band forward) had it been properly released on the Surf’s Up album, or on another BB album soon after.

I can only think of how history would have been different had it been released. I actually think things could have perhaps turned out differently in some respects, because I think it's a game-changer type of song.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 03:15:48 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
beacharg
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 03:29:24 PM »

I barely participate here, but will do as I was thinking just the same (or kinda) a few days ago.

I do agree that the song has not "aged" well in these last 4 years (at least for me). Don't get me wrong either, it's very good! But it was not AS good (nearly perfection) as they where selling. I almost stopped listening to it, after the excitement of its release went away it desapeared from my "favourites" BB' songs list. There are plenty of way better songs than this one, even Dennis solo songs.

That being said, I do think that it would have been great to have it on Surf's up; I can think of 3 songs that could have replaced.
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 03:30:26 PM »

Great song but the hype of it got too much here.
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2017, 04:31:16 PM »

I didn't buy into the hype, and I wasn't expecting all that much.

But I love it.  I really do.  Top-tier Dennis for me, easily.
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Marcella Wilson Love
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2017, 04:42:28 PM »

it's one of Dennis Wilson's best songs, absolutely amazing and stunning, it's a crime that it took this long to get a release, it should have been released in 1993 on the Good Vibrations set. Dennis also has another very pretty song still in the vaults called Behold The Night which absolutely needs to come out and also Carry Me Home
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 04:43:53 PM »

I barely participate here, but will do as I was thinking just the same (or kinda) a few days ago.

I do agree that the song has not "aged" well in these last 4 years (at least for me). Don't get me wrong either, it's very good! But it was not AS good (nearly perfection) as they where selling. I almost stopped listening to it, after the excitement of its release went away it desapeared from my "favourites" BB' songs list. There are plenty of way better songs than this one, even Dennis solo songs.

That being said, I do think that it would have been great to have it on Surf's up; I can think of 3 songs that could have replaced.

i didn't need to replace anything, just add that and 4th Of July
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 04:53:29 PM »

Quote
When I first heard the song, I listened with really good Sennheiser studio headphones
I listened with Beats by Dr. Dre. The point is?..

It is neither great nor good. But definitely vocally very good. Dennis' voice didn't get husky yet. If he sang as he did in the late 70s, it would be epic fail.
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 04:58:09 PM »

Quote
When I first heard the song, I listened with really good Sennheiser studio headphones
I listened with Beats by Dr. Dre. The point is?..

It is neither great nor good. But definitely vocally very good. Dennis' voice didn't get husky yet. If he sang as he did in the late 70s, it would be epic fail.

Geez, I'm just telling the story with some detail so the listener can better paint a mental picture.

The point is that it makes a difference. The reason to listen with really good headphones or speakers (especially for the first time listening to a given song) is that possibly the song will be imprinted on the listener with a greater emotional impact, if the song itself has the goods, of course. I will always treasure my memory of hearing that song with virgin ears.

I happen think headphone listening can be a HUGE factor (especially with top equipment) in how much someone can appreciate a song. I'm regularly blown away by intricacies that I notice in songs, BB or otherwise, that would otherwise go unnoticed were it not for these headphones.

I should add that the very first time I heard the songs from TWGMTR, I listened on the same headphones (I seem to recall that a few of them leaked out before the album was released)... and I had the exact opposite experience. Disappointment, and frankly shock, at the Autotuned production. Not to get negative, just being honest at how much further and deeper a listener can get into a song (be it for better or worse), particularly on a first-time listen, with headphones... and perhaps a bong hit or two.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 05:07:14 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
SMiLE Brian
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2017, 05:12:25 PM »

SS is worth many relaxing listens...
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 05:21:47 PM »

Quote
The point is that it makes a difference. The reason to listen with really good headphones or speakers (especially for the first time listening to a given song) is that possibly the song will be imprinted on the listener with a greater emotional impact, if the song itself has the goods, of course.
Yes sure, there is difference. But as you say, to paraphrase, if the song is bad, I wouldn't care less what headphones I listen it with; generally, I find the means of listening 2ndary. If they're convenient to ears (like ear buds), I can hear the vocals & instruments - that's about it for me.
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 05:33:42 PM »

I was never privy to the hype.  I just heard it when I heard it and I liked it immediately.  It's a darned site better than a LOT of songs which made it to BB's vinyl after Holland...like more than 3/4 of them.
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2017, 05:36:36 PM »

Quote
The point is that it makes a difference. The reason to listen with really good headphones or speakers (especially for the first time listening to a given song) is that possibly the song will be imprinted on the listener with a greater emotional impact, if the song itself has the goods, of course.
Yes sure, there is difference. But as you say, to paraphrase, if the song is bad, I wouldn't care less what headphones I listen it with; generally, I find the means of listening 2ndary. If they're convenient to ears (like ear buds), I can hear the vocals & instruments - that's about it for me.

Right on, different strokes for different folks, I guess. I'm even down to listen to songs that I don't generally like very much (stuff like SIP material) on high quality headphones, just to be able to better dissect the songs. There might be a cool part or two that is brought to light that might make the song a little bit better, you never know. With these headphones, it's closer to being inside the song, cheesy as this description may sound. Carl's solo albums, which I'd brushed off years ago, have gained some newfound love from me, partly due to more closely examining the exquisite vocal performances on these headphones.

Not to derail the thread, but just as an aside, the first time I listened to BB material after I'd upgraded from normal ear buds to these headphones was a major, major difference in terms of newly appreciating the songs a LOT more.  Funny enough, the first song I listened to after purchasing them was also a Denny tune, River Song from POB.

So maybe because I had what I'd term as an optimal listening experience listening to WIBNTLA, I had (and retain) a higher opinion of it than if I had listened to it more casually, or even simply on decent, but lesser, equipment. Either way, I'll stand behind my opinion that it's a rad song which *really* deserved release in its day.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 05:41:06 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2017, 06:06:16 PM »

I still would count it as Dennis' best vocal, as I did however many years ago when I first heard it (1999 Eddie? Alan?). His voice is very pure and powerful, and absolutely in it's peak form. Hearing it now just frustrates me that there aren't more from him while that vocal range was at his disposal.

Definitely not his best composition or production, those came later...but it is clearly a shame it didn't see a 1971 release.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 06:08:02 PM by Jon Stebbins » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2017, 06:31:48 PM »

I still would count it as Dennis' best vocal, as I did however many years ago when I first heard it (1999 Eddie? Alan?). His voice is very pure and powerful, and absolutely in it's peak form. Hearing it now just frustrates me that there aren't more from him while that vocal range was at his disposal.

Definitely not his best composition or production, those came later...but it is clearly a shame it didn't see a 1971 release.
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2017, 06:51:36 PM »

I didn't buy into the hype, and I wasn't expecting all that much.

But I love it.  I really do.  Top-tier Dennis for me, easily.

My thoughts to the letter. Fantastic song by Dennis and right up there with Brian and Carl's efforts.
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2017, 02:15:06 AM »

I barely participate here

What a strange way to begin a post.

Anyway, I just revisited "WIBNT(LA)" and it sounded as wonderful and as heartbreaking as it did the first time I heard it.

As it happens, Adam, Evie and company do a great cover version that I'm sure Dennis would have loved:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt-blhfc_jM
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« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2017, 04:20:40 AM »

One of the biggest mysteries in the BB's misterioso career is why WIBNTLA didn't get any consideration for release on what became CATP. For goodness sakes, the song is sitting there just waiting to lead off Side Two. Could it have become a dominant song on the FM stations of that era? Absolutely.

Much momentum was lost with a disjointed-sounding CATP pitted in a dispiriting comparison with PET SOUNDS. Who to blame for that? The BBs? Warner Brothers? WIBNTLA wouldn't have solved all of the problems (they would've had to ditch such a lame-brained marketing approach and reissue PS on its own) but putting it in place of Make It Good really does make CATP into a much stronger collection.
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« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2017, 06:42:04 AM »

I dunno, I think people are confusing zeal in pushing for a release of the song with saying the song is the best song ever.

Is the track one of the best BB tracks of all time? I wouldn't say it's in my Top 25 or 50 or anything.

Up to the point it was released, I think a strong argument could be made that it was one of the best songs/recordings in the BB catalog that hadn't been released. And it's for *THAT* reason that the enthusiasm and zeal shown in arguing for its release was evident.

When you have a really good song in the vault that is deserving of a release, are you going to highlight that it isn't literally the best thing they ever did? Of course not. You're going to stress its strong points. The Dennis lead vocal. The fact that such a good song is unreleased. And so on.

What's the alternative?

"Dear Capitol Records and Brother Records: Even though it may not be my favorite song, and even though Dennis wrote some better songs in his lifetime, and even if I feel some observers are overrating it, could you please release this song?"

I think all of the characterizations of this song were fine and appropriate. Can anyone produce quotes from Stebbins saying it's the best song of all time or something? I don't recall anything that hyperbolic. It was more like "Hey, this is a really good song, and Dennis's lead is amazing, and there isn't exactly an overabundance of archival Dennis material out there, especially from this era, so I hope it gets released."

The track is still one of the standout unreleased tracks on the MIC set. Sorry to folks who prefer the live version of "Summer in Paradise" or the spine-tingling cover of "Da Doo Ron Ron."

(Note: I don't dislike those other tracks either and in fact probably appreciate KTSA outtakes more than many fans out there.)
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« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2017, 06:50:30 AM »

Quote
When I first heard the song, I listened with really good Sennheiser studio headphones
I listened with Beats by Dr. Dre. The point is?..

It is neither great nor good. But definitely vocally very good. Dennis' voice didn't get husky yet. If he sang as he did in the late 70s, it would be epic fail.

You wouldn't even categorize the song as "good?" I'm willing to say some tracks from KTSA and MIU and even a couple from SIP are "good", so I can't imagine what sort of bar exists to not call WIBNTLA as at least "good."

It's not the greatest of any category in the BB catalog, but to relegate it to "meh" status because people were so enthusiastic to see its release is going overboard in my opinion.

I'm also pretty sure that *before* the song was released people were already wondering out loud if the "hype" was going to lead to some sort of letdown. But again, I think the "hype" was more about enthusiasm in getting the song released rather than saying the song was the best thing they ever did, etc.

Want to talk about letdowns on the MIC set? I'd say the 1974 version of "California Feelin'" veers much closer to that category. That specific version of the song had been "legendary" for *several decades.*

If we want to expand the discussion to stuff trumpeted highly that then leaked out unofficially, their take on "Battle Hymn of the Republic" may take the cake on that one.
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« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2017, 07:19:31 AM »

I like it and I'm glad it was released but the one that really deserved all the hype was IMO My Love Lives On.  To me this is by far the better song and we'd heard nothing about it in advance. My Love Lives On was like a message from beyond from Dennis - one person told me he'd been listening on headphones whilst out running and had to sit down because he was so moved by the music.
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« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2017, 07:35:12 AM »

I think it certainly lived up to expectations, in that it blows you away. But to be perfectly honest it's largely on the basis of the incredible vocals by Dennis - probably his peak as a vocalist. I also really dig the groovy flute jam in the coda. That said, it's not one of those songs you can really listen to over and over again without getting sick of, and lyrically it's not as touching as Forever or has the aura of tragedy as on much of what is on POB. Musically it could have done with more work and some tweaking with the overall structure. The song unquestionably had the potential of being a stone cold classic in the upper echelons of The Beach Boys' catalogue, and I'm sure it would have been if more time and effort had been put in the development of this song. Unfortunately it falls short, and the song - much like the composer himself - should be relegated to the "what if?" category in the grand scheme of things.

But despite it all, I'm inclined towards admitting that as it is (despite its flaws), it is a very moving performance, and that I would still recommend people to give it a listen. Certainly it deserves a place as a bonus track on any Surf's Up reissue.
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« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2017, 08:17:13 AM »

I love this song. It sets a forlorn mood from the very beginning, with the flutes and keys and a wistful-sounding Dennis, but then it grows majestic as Dennis opens up with "Whoever said...". . The BB harmonies provide a beautiful, lush background. It peaks and softens, peaks again and we're back to the verse After another go 'round, we're treated to the guitar break-- evocative, again-- and Dennis' final chorus before the unbelievably funky flute outro, which just kicks so much ass that I'm left wanting more, the low voices chanting "Live again" as it fades.

Another Dennis masterpiece, up there with the best of his work imo. It's not brilliant musically, but the song takes you throughout a range of emotion, and that's important, too. Dennis' vocals are really stellar, and I think it's his best vocal work from when he still had his youthful voice. I just heard this on shuffle in the car the other day, and I was completely captivated for the duration of the song. I think about it a lot, actually, and always want it to come up on shuffle.

My wife is not a BB fan (except via osmosis), and this song really got her attention when it was released. She loves it too, and I chalk that up to the delivery of the chorus. It's impossible not to feel Dennis' emotion in the song.

I now think it's just as amazing as I did when it was released. It should have been released in the 1970s, although it would have been just as criminally underappreciated as the rest of the band's work during this period.
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« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2017, 10:12:06 AM »

One of the biggest mysteries in the BB's misterioso career is why WIBNTLA didn't get any consideration for release on what became CATP. For goodness sakes, the song is sitting there just waiting to lead off Side Two. Could it have become a dominant song on the FM stations of that era? Absolutely.

Much momentum was lost with a disjointed-sounding CATP pitted in a dispiriting comparison with PET SOUNDS. Who to blame for that? The BBs? Warner Brothers? WIBNTLA wouldn't have solved all of the problems (they would've had to ditch such a lame-brained marketing approach and reissue PS on its own) but putting it in place of Make It Good really does make CATP into a much stronger collection.


I completely agree. But I think I recall reading on this board that perhaps one reason why the song didn't come out (on a subsequent BB studio album soon after) was that the song's content was possibly about a breakup, or feelings about one of Dennis' true loves, and that it might have been too painful for him to revisit the song with those feelings it stirred up?
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« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2017, 10:22:57 AM »

It's interesting how Denny was the first person in the band to repurpose the "Wouldn't It Be Nice" lyric on a subsequent song post-1966, which was a very famous title/line for them to be associated with. Considering that it's Mike who's always known for doing references to old BB song titles/lyrics on subsequent material.

Mike cheesily did it again with the "Wouldn't It Be Nice" lyric on Summer in Paradise (the song)... and if memory serves, the "Wouldn't It Be Nice" lyric might have been shoehorned awkwardly into yet another Mike-centric tune also?

But Denny did it first and best, and seamlessly, in a manner that didn't come off in the slightest as being any kind of reto/kitsch.

Question for everyone: If WIBNTLA had seen release in its time... does anyone think it could have been released as a single? And if so, would the fact that "Wouldn't It Be Nice" was part of the title have potentially caused any confusion to fans/listeners/DJs? Or might that actually have *helped* the song, being as it would have at least on paper, upon seeing the song title, reminded the fan/listener/DJ of The BBs at their creative heights during Pet Sounds?

One more question: when Stanley Shapiro (or Denny) came up with the song title/lyric, I wonder how quickly it was realized by them that this was a direct link to the famous 1966 BB song, and if this was in any way an intentional reference/callback, almost like a sequel of sorts. Or if that was totally accidental, and noticed after they had gotten a ways into lyric writing. Songwriters will sometimes rehash a lyric or melody without realizing they are unintentionally replicating another song from their catalog.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 10:25:29 AM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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