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Author Topic: Which is better: That Lucky Old Sun or That's Why God Made the Radio?  (Read 3728 times)
KDS
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« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2017, 05:53:24 AM »

I love both albums, but my vote was for TWGMTR because it was a new release the year I really really got into The Beach Boys, which was also a great year for me personally. 

Plus, even without Carl, the Beach Boys vocals have a certain magic that the Wondermints simple can't replicate. 
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« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2017, 09:56:30 PM »

TLOS, dig the speech tracks too. "Bill & Sue", "Shelter", "Pacific Coast Highway", "Summer's Gone", "Spring Vacation" ruin Radio.
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« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2017, 11:32:13 PM »

I love both albums, but my vote was for TWGMTR because it was a new release the year I really really got into The Beach Boys, which was also a great year for me personally. 

Plus, even without Carl, the Beach Boys vocals have a certain magic that the Wondermints simple can't replicate. 

Take away Jeff and the vocal processing, and the vocals on TWGMTR would make Love You sound like the Trinity College Choir. Razz
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« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2017, 06:41:19 AM »

TLOS, dig the speech tracks too. "Bill & Sue", "Shelter", "Pacific Coast Highway", "Summer's Gone", "Spring Vacation" ruin Radio.

I've read a lot of criticisms of TWGMTR, but this is the first time I've ever seen Pacific Coast Highway mentioned. 
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« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2017, 06:41:59 AM »

I love both albums, but my vote was for TWGMTR because it was a new release the year I really really got into The Beach Boys, which was also a great year for me personally. 

Plus, even without Carl, the Beach Boys vocals have a certain magic that the Wondermints simple can't replicate. 

Take away Jeff and the vocal processing, and the vocals on TWGMTR would make Love You sound like the Trinity College Choir. Razz

Having seen them live in 2012, I can't say that I agree. 
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« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2017, 09:23:09 AM »

I love both albums, but my vote was for TWGMTR because it was a new release the year I really really got into The Beach Boys, which was also a great year for me personally. 

Plus, even without Carl, the Beach Boys vocals have a certain magic that the Wondermints simple can't replicate. 

Take away Jeff and the vocal processing, and the vocals on TWGMTR would make Love You sound like the Trinity College Choir. Razz

Nah, I think the songs heaviest on Jeff and heaviest on the vocal processing on TWGMTR sound the worst. There are moments where it's more heavy on actual BBs and lighter on the processing. The best example is the vocal intro to "Pacific Coast Highway", which is one of the moments on the album where I can almost swear Carl's in the stack. It isn't "wall of Fosketts" or those weird Brian album vocal stacks with Scott Bennett mixed in a bunch, etc. Mike's bass vocal on that bit in addition to Al's mid-range make moments like that sound like *THE* Beach Boys.

But yeah, I do wish I could take the TWGMTR album now and pull out two Fosketts from each stack and replace it with one Matt and one Al. I think that alone would alleviate the "wall of Fosketts" sound that is probably most prevalent on the title track.

Another big problem I have with TWGMTR is not just the autotune/processing, but the penchant for mushing together multiple lead vocals in unison to where you can't really make out who it is. The lead lines on the title track are a good example. What is that? Brian tripled? Brian and Al doubled? Brian and Al and Foskett? The track has almost no moment where one single lead vocal voice/track is there with no adornment. One of the reasons probably why live versions of that track were kind of a trainwreck on many C50 tour stops, a weird anomaly in a uniformly AMAZING live performance/tour.
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« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2017, 06:29:27 PM »

I've read a lot of criticisms of TWGMTR, but this is the first time I've ever seen Pacific Coast Highway mentioned. 
Tastes differ. Btw, forgot "Think About The Days" & Mike in the bridge is way better in IIT single than Jeff.
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« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2017, 05:32:49 AM »

I've read a lot of criticisms of TWGMTR, but this is the first time I've ever seen Pacific Coast Highway mentioned. 
Tastes differ. Btw, forgot "Think About The Days" & Mike in the bridge is way better in IIT single than Jeff.

Do you mean you like Think About the Days, or that you didn't?
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« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2017, 12:04:14 AM »

Do you mean you like Think About the Days, or that you didn't?
It's in addition to "Shelter" etc. listed before.
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« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2017, 11:38:58 AM »

Do you mean you like Think About the Days, or that you didn't?
It's in addition to "Shelter" etc. listed before.

So, you think Thikk About the Days ruins Radio?
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« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2017, 12:52:08 PM »

Vocals on TWGMTR are just so odd.

I've said before that I really doubt the rest of the guys are on it at all -- aside from their featured vocal spots. No Pier Pressure, which features Al and Matt and Blondie on backing vocals, has a more authentic sound. I don't hear anyone but Brian and Jeff the vast majority of the time.
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« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2017, 01:39:57 PM »

Guys. Do you think 'Wall of Fosketts' should be my new name?

Not just on this board, but actually in real life?
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the captain
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« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2017, 03:45:01 PM »

Vocals on TWGMTR are just so odd.

I've said before that I really doubt the rest of the guys are on it at all -- aside from their featured vocal spots. No Pier Pressure, which features Al and Matt and Blondie on backing vocals, has a more authentic sound. I don't hear anyone but Brian and Jeff the vast majority of the time.

I agree completely. As much as TWGMTR is praised for bringing "that sound" back, it's almost never actually there. NPP has its flaws, but it uses more singers more often by a mile.
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« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2017, 03:45:34 PM »

Guys. Do you think 'Wall of Fosketts' should be my new name?

Not just on this board, but actually in real life?

God, yes.
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« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2017, 04:48:19 PM »

Guys. Do you think 'Wall of Fosketts' should be my new name?

Not just on this board, but actually in real life?

God, yes.

Luther, I'm almost tempted to change it, if you change your name back to Captain.
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« Reply #40 on: September 10, 2017, 06:28:15 AM »

So, you think Thikk About the Days ruins Radio?
Yes. Dislike the melancholic type songs. If Radio began & ended positively, it'd be much better. Just because they're old doesn't mean they must sing introspective songs imo.
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« Reply #41 on: September 10, 2017, 07:06:49 AM »

So, you think Thikk About the Days ruins Radio?
Yes. Dislike the melancholic type songs. If Radio began & ended positively, it'd be much better. Just because they're old doesn't mean they must sing introspective songs imo.

To each their own
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« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2017, 07:25:23 AM »

Guys. Do you think 'Wall of Fosketts' should be my new name?

Not just on this board, but actually in real life?

How about the Wally George of Fosketts?

Or is that the pot calling the Foskettle black?
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the captain
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« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2017, 07:38:18 AM »

Guys. Do you think 'Wall of Fosketts' should be my new name?

Not just on this board, but actually in real life?

God, yes.

Luther, I'm almost tempted to change it, if you change your name back to Captain.

Impossible, in that my name has never been the Captain. Damn. So close.
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« Reply #44 on: September 11, 2017, 08:44:08 AM »

Vocals on TWGMTR are just so odd.

I've said before that I really doubt the rest of the guys are on it at all -- aside from their featured vocal spots. No Pier Pressure, which features Al and Matt and Blondie on backing vocals, has a more authentic sound. I don't hear anyone but Brian and Jeff the vast majority of the time.

Below is my off-the-top-of-my-head vocal breakdown I posted last year. I think most of the four main guys are on most of the tracks *somewhere.* But I'm certainly not under any illusion that all four of the guys strolled into the studio and busted out heavy work on every song. Obviously, Brian had most of the songs already written, and a bunch of the backing tracks appear to have been recorded before they even knew for sure they were going to be able to make a BB record (in particular the Nashville backing tracks with Chad Cromwell on drums). But I think at least one of Al, Mike, and Bruce are on every song on the album at least *somewhere* at some point.

For what it's worth, here is my "written without re-consulting the album on the spot" breakdown from last year:

The vocals on TWGMTR (and, to some degree, "No Pier Pressure") are performed and mixed in a weird way where the lead vocals (sometimes multiple) and backing vocals are sometimes smushed together to where you can't really pinpoint one single voice singing one, single-tracked lead. I don't know how much of this was due to liking the sound, versus trying to cover stuff up, or what.

In terms of what I hear is most audible (as opposed to necessarily who technically is singing on the sessions), here's what I hear on the album:

1. Think About the Days - Al is obviously first most prominent with the "doo-doos" and whatnot. I hear Mike's nasal voice (not a dig, just trying to be descriptive), and I also hear Bruce prominently. Jeff is of course all over it. Ironically, Brian is least audible to my ears.

2. That's Why God Made the Radio - Brian and Al's lead lines are obvious, of course, though this is a classic example of that "smushing together" thing I was talking about. Foskett is all over this, too much so. Bruce is clear on the backing vocals. Mike sounds the least audible on this one (I think his voice is discernible near the end repeating the "that's why god made, that's why god made" before it kicks back in). It kind of just sounds like a wall of Fosketts with Brian, Al, and Bruce peeking through at times.

3. Isn't It Time - All four are pretty audible on this one.

4. Spring Vacation - Mike and Brian are obvious of course, and Brian is strong on backing vocals on this one. Bruce is high in the mix during the "seems like it could go on forever, etc.". Al is the one who is least audible on this one, if he's on it. The basic "aaahhhh" backing vocals during the verses are the most likely place he can be found, and those vocals for once aren't super-Foskettized, and one of the moments where you can almost imagine Carl being in the blend.

5. Private Life of Bill and Sue - A lot of Foskett and Brian on this one. As c-man mentioned, the group come in more prominently nearer the end.

6. Shelter - Besides Brian and Foskett, Al is prominent in the backing vocals (heard even more clearly during an isolate vocal bit on the "Doin' it Again" documentary). Bruce sounds like he's discernible as well. Mike comes in (doubled with falsetto by either Foskett, or, I believe according to Joe Thomas, actually Brian himself) on the "do you ever still think of me?" lines.

7. Daybreak over the Ocean - Mike solo track, sounds like the group tacked on the backing vocals during a few "bring back" interludes, with Al most prominent. In fact, it kind of just sounds like Al added to Mike's solo track, though I would assume Bruce and Brian are on it too (dunno if Foskett replaced Adrian Baker during those bits).

8. Beaches in Mind - Ironically, considering this wasn't one of the stockpiled older recordings, it's quite heavy on Fosketts. Mike is of course prominent. Brian, Al, and Bruce could easily all be there, though smoothed out in a wall of voices included a lot of Foskett.

9. Strange World - Al heavy on backing vocals, as is Brian. Bruce and Mike less discernible, though there's some bass stuff there.

10. From There to Back Again - The vocals are not quite "wall of Foskett" enough with a bit more nasal quality that I can think I can discern all four BBs including Mike on backing vocals. Mike is of course singing the bit near the end.

11. Pacific Coast Highway - The vocal intro here is one of the few moments where it's "Aaaah.... That's the Beach Boys!" instead of sounding like a bunch of Fosketts. It's the one moment where I could almost swear for a microsecond Carl's in there; it's so later-era "Beach Boys" sounding that your brain almost puts Carl in there. This is due in large part to not only the mid-range stuff from Al (instead of seventeen Fosketts), but heavy, prominent bass vocals from Mike.

12. Summer's Gone - A bit more Fosketty, but Mike is clearly in there in the mix in addition to Brian. Al and Bruce less discernible.

But yeah, I can buy the four are singing somewhere on all of these songs. It's too bad they couldn't have had Matt Jardine in, as that would have cut the Foskett voice concentration a bit. Foskett's voice cuts through too much, especially in the mid-range stuff. Matt could have helped round that sound out.
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« Reply #45 on: September 11, 2017, 10:33:14 AM »

Funny you mention the "smushing" technique. I have to say, I love it. I've had a great time listening to NPP in particular, enjoying as one part is suddenly joined by another, then the original is gone, replaced by something or someone else, etc. it might be a cover-up for Brian's reduced capabilities, but it's an ingenious one.
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« Reply #46 on: September 11, 2017, 10:45:37 AM »

It's weird, though, because the Gershwin and Disney albums show BW had no problem putting together persuasive leads. TWGMTR came out just a year after the Disney record, and NPP was mostly recorded in 2013 and early 2014. There's no real reason to record in that manner, except that Joe or Brian like the effect.

For that matter, I was listening to Imagination this weekend and was struck by how clear (and sometimes single tracked) Brian sounds on that record. Goodness knows, that album sounds sonically awful (it's all high frequencies and the teensiest bit of midrange), but it's so different in approach from TWGMTR and NPP ...
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« Reply #47 on: September 11, 2017, 10:55:07 AM »

Also, for as much as people talk about the Joe Thomas "approach" in BW/BB records, has anyone noticed that the four albums he's co-produced with Brian all sound different?

Stars and Stripes -- Practically live in the studio, lots of Nashville studio cats, BBs essentially doing their live vocals on record. Country approach.

Imagination -- Wall of Brians, lots of vocal massaging (but less than you remember), all "bright" sounds -- keyboards, guitars, etc. are popping out of the speakers. AC approach, but not on every song.

TWGMTR -- Vocal smushing begins. Tracks sound like a combination of Imagination-era instrumentation and Brian's recent solo records (TLOS and Gershwin most notably). AC mixed with mainstream pop and classic BB re-creations.

NPP -- Clearer lead vocal separation, but still some smushing, better blend on backing vocals. Tracks are denser than on any previous record, with strings and horns on nearly every song.
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« Reply #48 on: September 11, 2017, 02:19:13 PM »

I think the overall production *sound* on the Thomas-helmed (or co-helmed) projects has changed to some degree over time, while it has mainly been certain key *arrangement* ticks that have carried over from project to project (e.g. claves, oboes, nylon string guitar, generally "tinkly" sounding instrumentation and percussion). But even then, the lines become blurred because some (but not all) of the "Joe Thomas sound" utilizes recurring Brian motifs and styles as well, and then there is also the idea that Brian probably took on a preference himself for a "Joe Thomas" bit of style here and there.

When I finally was able to hear TWGMTR after all that time wondering how "Imagination-ish" it was going to sound, I was surprised that some of the Thomas tropes were gone or minimized (though this was also replaced with much more modern and aggressive pitch correction, as heard on things like "Spring Vacation" especially).

But I don't think Thomas changing his "sound" in some respects is very surprising considering there's a roughly 14-year gap between "Imagination" and "TWGMTR." I think even a guy with as many hallmarks/ticks on the arrangement and production side as Thomas is apt to change to *some degree* over the course of more than a decade.

I also think Thomas took on a somewhat different role during his latter-day (2010-ish to 2014/15-ish) tenure with Brian, and this involved presumably being aware of that "mixed" reception to his older work with Brian, in addition to a less "public" persona (e.g. Thomas is visually and verbally *all over* the "Imagination" documentaries and whatnot, yet we were barely even able to find a *picture* of Thomas working with the BBs or Brian in the 2010-2015 timeframe, and he gave maybe one or two interviews and that was about it), and that and other factors led to the Thomas effect being dialed back to some degree.
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« Reply #49 on: September 11, 2017, 02:26:32 PM »

I should also mention that as far as I'm aware (and as far as I assume), the things I'm not a fan of on the arrangement/production side (in addition to of course the things I like) are things Brian does *want* there. If I'm ready to grab the claves from any Brian session and throw them out the window, I'm acknowledging that they may be there in some cases because Joe Thomas is into it, but also because Brian likes having them there.

So is the case with the vocal smushing.

I also think it's possible the autotune and smushing (and autotune at very early live C50 shows) was a case of somebody somewhere in the chain perhaps being overly-concerned (and/or needlessly protective) of Brian's voice being more to the fore. There was some sort of apparent predilection for putting a ton of autotune on his voice or smothering his voice inside of double or triple-tracked vocals, often with one or all of the other voices being Foskett or someone else. That sort of effect *very sparingly* can be interesting and effective (and sometimes needed; this was done on certain key lines on the Beatles track "Free As a Bird" where McCartney's voice was somewhat subtly smushed in with the Lennon demo vocal). But I think "No Pier Pressure" showed that an aged, gruff, but honest-sounding Brian lead is just fine and in fact amazingly refreshing, as heard on something like "This Beautiful Day."
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