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Author Topic: Brian's next solo album (NPP followup) speculation and info thread  (Read 2879 times)
Sweetmountain
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« on: July 16, 2017, 11:45:46 AM »

Brian's solo career has seen its share of highs and lows, but I for one will always listen to what the man puts out. I'm not a big fan of No Pier Pressure (although it does have a few gems, like "I'm Feeling Sad" and "This Beautiful Day.")

It feels like perhaps Brian is ready for another explosion of creativity like the one he experienced after BWPS that led to That Lucky Old Sun, which is probably my favourite Brian solo album... Reimagines Gershwin is brilliant too.

I adored the production on Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin; his voice is the best it's sounded in his solo career, and there are none of the adult contemporary arrangements we've seen from Joe Thomas. Beautiful, beautiful record. Imagine an album of that quality, with TLOS-level material, featuring Al Jardine and Blondie et. Al!  3D

With all that said, is there any chatter about a new BW album? I know we are about to get a new track in "Run James Run" - will we be getting Pleasure Island/Rock and Roll album some time before 2020? Is Brian still working with a Joe Thomas, aside from the new track?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 11:48:25 AM by Sweetmountain » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 12:21:07 PM »

He has been talking about that rock 'n' roll album again.. Maybe the recent passing of Chuck Berry (and others) has given him new drive or inspiration?
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 01:29:07 PM »

In an interview he gave to Helsingin Sanomat (Finnish newspaper) he said he hasn't written anything in three years, and he nowadays plays piano only for his own enjoyment. Doesn't sound too promising, but hey, who knows.
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2017, 02:14:52 PM »

I think Brian's ability to compose is directly connected to his time on the road. In 2006, when he wrote most of TLOS, he only played 11 dates. In 2010 and 2011, when he was assembling material for the Beach Boys reunion, he played 8 and 38 dates respectively. In 2013 and 2014, when he was working on NPP, he played 28 and 8 shows respectively.

In 2015, he played 45 shows (and promoted both NPP and the movie), in 2016 he played 96 shows, and this year he's doing 83. If we're hoping for original material, he'll need to take a year or two away. But my guess is this phase of touring is probably pretty lucrative, and he's looking to bank as much as possibly while he's still physically able. That's what Leonard Cohen did.
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2017, 02:20:00 PM »

BW is always writing! Cool Guy
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2017, 02:25:49 PM »

Joe Thomas wasn't that involved with NPP past a certain point...I doubt he'd be involved much if at all on any new sessions. 
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2017, 03:07:36 PM »

As long as it contains him doing a piano and vocal cover of "Take Me To Church" I'll be happy.   Grin
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2017, 04:37:35 PM »

I just really hope he ditches Joe Thomas, and goes back to the sound he got with Gershwin and That Lucky Old Sun. Scott Bennett undeniably brought out some real magic in Brian (plus that material is IMO by far the most tastefully and best-produced of Brian's solo career) and I hope Brian can find another collaborator who could approach that work.

Is there anyone who is actually specifically a *fan* of Joe Thomas' production work with Brian? I don't mean being a fan of some of those songs, but the production work as a whole, specifically. Someone who actually likes and prefers the robo-sounding vocals and super slick AC type of sound? And by anybody, I mean anybody who's a big fan of Brian's material and is also familiar with the other solo albums which don't have these unfortunate production touches?

I suppose maybe there are some general, less discriminating casual music fans who might feel that sound more closely aligns to some other modern artists' production sound, and might prefer it just because it's simply more familiar to them. Other than that possibility, I cannot honestly see anyone else preferring that production sound to Gershwin and TLOS. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2017, 04:57:00 PM »

I really doubt Joe Thomas will be involved in a rock and roll covers album. He was involved with the C50 because Joe had material for a possible Beach Boys reunion from '98...and it was probably so much more convenient for Brian to go with Thomas for NPP as he had more past material to use (as opposed to writing all new material). Brian needed good material right then and there for a solo follow up to the C50, as well as an album that would come out around the time of Love and Mercy. Thomas' involvement was more out of a huge convenience than anything.
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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2017, 05:21:26 PM »

I really doubt Joe Thomas will be involved in a rock and roll covers album. He was involved with the C50 because Joe had material for a possible Beach Boys reunion from '98...and it was probably so much more convenient for Brian to go with Thomas for NPP as he had more past material to use (as opposed to writing all new material). Brian needed good material right then and there for a solo follow up to the C50, as well as an album that would come out around the time of Love and Mercy. Thomas' involvement was more out of a huge convenience than anything.

I tend to agree. I honestly hope that fans voicing their displeasure over the production, and there are many of us who feel this way, might possibly influence the powers that be to rethink any idea of working with him again.  Brian found an amazing production sound in the later part of the last decade… He can find it again, I'm sure.
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2017, 05:27:40 PM »

I just really hope he ditches Joe Thomas, and goes back to the sound he got with Gershwin and That Lucky Old Sun. Scott Bennett undeniably brought out some real magic in Brian (plus that material is IMO by far the most tastefully and best-produced of Brian's solo career) and I hope Brian can find another collaborator who could approach that work.

Is there anyone who is actually specifically a *fan* of Joe Thomas' production work with Brian? I don't mean being a fan of some of those songs, but the production work as a whole, specifically. Someone who actually likes and prefers the robo-sounding vocals and super slick AC type of sound? And by anybody, I mean anybody who's a big fan of Brian's material and is also familiar with the other solo albums which don't have these unfortunate production touches?

I suppose maybe there are some general, less discriminating casual music fans who might feel that sound more closely aligns to some other modern artists' production sound, and might prefer it just because it's simply more familiar to them. Other than that possibility, I cannot honestly see anyone else preferring that production sound to Gershwin and TLOS. 

I can't say I'm a fan of Joe's production and I'd say that I don't feel his presence on NPP like, say, how his production feels over-domineering on Imagination. But I am a fan of his working with Brian...

I'm a huge fan of BWRG and the Disney album, but you can tell there isn't much experimenting going on. On both those albums there is a 'Caroline No' harpsichord song, there are 'Help Me Rhonda' like songs on each, I think a WIBN intro mirror is on both as well. I'm not complaining at all about those albums, but with NPP Joe helped bring out new ideas in Brian, and helped Brian not be afraid to put those ideas on a record (where I think Brian may have felt safer in the Disney albums by not fucking with the Pet Sounds formula).

With NPP we got EDM, a friggin great country/surf hybrid, a modern day bossa nova (not just a mirror of BDN either) duet with Deschanel that Brian considers his favorite from the album. There was so much experimenting outside the normal bounds that it was actually a nice whiff of fresh air after his previous two albums.

So no, I'm not a fan of his production but I'm a fan of his ability to push the bounds of what Brian thinks he's capable of. I think that's why I was so annoyed by the teenage angst irritation that NPP seemed to rouse from a few posters. Brian stepped out and did something totally different and he did it very professionally. I mean, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but it didn't deserve a lot of the statements that were made about it.
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2017, 06:27:51 PM »


Being a fan of Imagination, I feel that JT somehow brought out the best vocals that Brian has had in his solo career. The only exception to that would be the Disney album in which Brian is singing even better than Imagination. BWRG has it's great moments indeed and the more I listen the more I appreciate it. I'll go with anyone, including JT, if they can produce whatever magic they use to extract the best BW vocals that  know he's capable of doing.

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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2017, 07:09:04 PM »


Being a fan of Imagination, I feel that JT somehow brought out the best vocals that Brian has had in his solo career. The only exception to that would be the Disney album in which Brian is singing even better than Imagination. BWRG has it's great moments indeed and the more I listen the more I appreciate it. I'll go with anyone, including JT, if they can produce whatever magic they use to extract the best BW vocals that  know he's capable of doing.



I have to agree OSD. I have always thought "Imagination" unfairly maligned.  Some great tracks and outstanding vocals everywhere.

That said, I am a big fan of Brian doing "Proud Mary" and I'd love an EP containing the different versions he has recorded. I am especially fond of his Love You style bass synth version.
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2017, 07:19:54 AM »

As a fairly new fan I am moved to make a comment and observation. I am a 22 year old college student who happens to love NPP & C50. I still to this day do not get the negativity over these albums. The songs are amazing and original TLOS  is an album based on a song Brian didn't write. The Gershwin album includes no songs that Brian wrote.

I seems to me that many of you are saying that any of the good songs on NPP & C50 must be Brian, and the bad songs or bad recording techniques must be Thomas. How about Whatever Happened, what can anyone possibly not like about that gem?  I read Brian's book and it sounds to me that he actually likes the guy. Why can't we just leave it at that.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2017, 08:35:33 AM »

Joe Thomas wasn't that involved with NPP past a certain point...I doubt he'd be involved much if at all on any new sessions.  

Realistically, the production credits on NPP should read along these lines --

Original sessions produced by Brian Wilson and Joe Thomas
Except: "Somewhere Quiet" and "One Kind of Love" produced by Brian Wilson and Scott Bennett
"Runaway Dancer" additional production by Sebu Simonian
"Our Special Love" additional production by Peter Hollens
Overdubs produced by Brian Wilson, Wesley Seidman and Don Was

Track arrangements by Brian Wilson
Orchestral arrangements by Paul Von Mertens

Reading between the lines in some of Don's interviews, it seems like Brian used him to run interference with Joe as the album progressed. And toward the end of the process, it was just Brian and Wesley working on the tracks.
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2017, 09:10:30 AM »

Sounds like a plausible scenario. Maybe interference wasn't what was provided, maybe Thomas was busy. He is  in Nashville a bunch. Mike Love says he hates flying in his book. Maybe he didn't want to come to LA . I just listened to the tracks and the production sounds pretty consistent to me. If Brian is in fact auto tuned  then whoever is doing it did it to the two Scott Bennet Productions also.Or maybe these days they just ship Thomas  the tracks so he can auto tune them once they record them perfectly! ( just kidding of course)
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2017, 09:15:25 AM »

Sounds like a plausible scenario. Maybe interference wasn't what was provided, maybe Thomas was busy. He is  in Nashville a bunch. Mike Love says he hates flying in his book. Maybe he didn't want to come to LA . I just listened to the tracks and the production sounds pretty consistent to me. If Brian is in fact auto tuned  then whoever is doing it did it to the two Scott Bennet Productions also.Or maybe these days they just ship Thomas  the tracks so he can auto tune them once they record them perfectly! ( just kidding of course)

I don't know -- I think Brian actually sounds quite a bit different on "One Kind of Love" than the rest of the record. It's a clearer, drier vocal sound that was all over TLOS.
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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2017, 09:22:57 AM »

And toward the end of the process, it was just Brian and Wesley working on the tracks.

Bingo. And that was made pretty clear in the interview Wes did with Mix magazine that I posted here when it was published.
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« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2017, 09:25:18 AM »

I do think that NPP is also very much like BW 88 in the sense that they were both albums that took a long time to make -- a couple of years at least -- and incorporated bits from multiple projects. BW 88 included a track from the Usher sessions, some Paley collaborations, and then random guest appearances. NPP had the Bennett material, instrumentals that seemed to hark from the Beck project and guest appearances. But in the earlier album, they at least made some hard choices about what material to include. NPP is a 16-track album in its fullest form, and that's simply a lot to digest. If you made it an 11-track album and excised the more peculiar tracks --

This Beautiful Day
Whatever Happened
Guess You Had to Be There
I'm Feeling Sad
The Right Time
Somewhere Quiet
One Kind of Love
Tell Me Why
Sail Away
Saturday Night
The Last Song

-- You would have a much more coherent experience. It would have been reviewed better, certainly. But from a fan's perspective, you'd also lose a lot of what makes the album so charming.
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« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2017, 09:29:22 AM »

I'm a fan of Imagination, TWGMTR, and NPP, so I would welcome another JT/BW collaboration.  But....

1.  No guest stars unless they were once a Beach Boy or a member of a BB live entity.  The songs with guests on NPP (IMO) ranged from OK to terrible, and took away any cohesiveness of the album. 

2.  No more remakes of past songs.  Granted, Somewhere Quiet turned out better than I imagined. 

3.  No autotune. 
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« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2017, 09:29:44 AM »

The fact that NPP incorporated segments from multiple projects also explains an issue that some so-called "fans" took issue with upon release, that being the listing of so many credits given to multiple engineers, etc. There were tracks and segments on there which were used from previous sessions and projects, simple as that...and nothing nefarious or anything of the sort.
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« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2017, 09:36:54 AM »

As a fairly new fan I am moved to make a comment and observation. I am a 22 year old college student who happens to love NPP & C50. I still to this day do not get the negativity over these albums. The songs are amazing and original TLOS  is an album based on a song Brian didn't write. The Gershwin album includes no songs that Brian wrote.

I seems to me that many of you are saying that any of the good songs on NPP & C50 must be Brian, and the bad songs or bad recording techniques must be Thomas. How about Whatever Happened, what can anyone possibly not like about that gem?  I read Brian's book and it sounds to me that he actually likes the guy. Why can't we just leave it at that.

Remember that the Gershwin estate allowed Brian access to many unfinished or incomplete Gershwin songs with an eye toward Brian adding to or even completing them, and Brian and Scott did just that with "The Like In I Love You" and "Nothing But Love". So there were two "new" songs on the Gershwin album which Brian had a hand in writing, with the blessing of the Gershwin estate.

The Gershwin album stands as one of the finest albums Brian ever made, IMO...well worth a re-listen and reevaluation every so often as a reminder.
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"There was no up front fees, period. swedishfrog  and I paid for the domain name. As of June 19, 2016 at 4:32pm edt, that is all I was charged for." - Dr. Beach Boy
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« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2017, 09:38:52 AM »

"No autotune" is likely impossible, given that Brian 1.) has used pitch correction/vocal processing on his solo albums since 1988 and 2.) approves of it as a convenience. The issue is just how audible the effects are. I'd be okay with a "One Kind of Love" vocal sound.
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« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2017, 09:41:30 AM »


The Gershwin album stands as one of the finest albums Brian ever made, IMO...well worth a re-listen and reevaluation every so often as a reminder.

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« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2017, 09:43:51 AM »

"No autotune" is likely impossible, given that Brian 1.) has used pitch correction/vocal processing on his solo albums since 1988 and 2.) approves of it as a convenience. The issue is just how audible the effects are. I'd be okay with a "One Kind of Love" vocal sound.

Frankly, I don't think the autotune is nearly as fan as some fans, so I wouldn't be crestfallen if they used it again.  But, please no more guest stars or BB remakes. 
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