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Author Topic: GIOMH redux  (Read 2775 times)
Matt H
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« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2017, 05:40:47 AM »

Not to stray too off topic, but am I the only one who much prefers the original "Sweet Insanity" version of "Make A Wish"?

Another much preferer here. The backing track and those backing vocals-----sheer heaven!

Agreed, I prefer Make a Wish, Rainbow Eyes and DLHKSAA on Sweet Insanity.  The vocals on these on GIOMH for Make a Wish and Rainbow Eyes are not good.
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« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2017, 07:07:38 AM »

How Could We Still Be Dancin' -"Dancin' the Night Away", co-written with Andy Paley and recorded with Carl and Mike on Mar. 3, 1995
nope...
Sorry. I think I've read this somewhere, but I think I'm wrong. Dancin' the Night Away has nothing to Do with How Could We Still Be Dancin', right, or just partly?

There is definitely a small link between the two songs.

Listen to Brian's vocal intro to "How Could We Still Be Dancin'."

Then, listen to the piano intro to the "backing track" version of "Dancing the Night Away" (I think the versions with partial BB vocals are missing that piano intro). I think there's an audible similarity for several bars there, especially the first several piano chords versus Brian's first few "dancin', dancin'" bits at the very beginning.

On top of that, both songs have pretty straight-forward, simple verse chord structures such that I could easily envision "How Could We Still Be Dancin'" as a "re-write" of "Dancing the Night Away."

It's possible Brian and Joe Thomas didn't tackle the latter song as a re-write of the former, and that Brian simply lifted a few ideas from it (a la "Walkin' the Line" and "Looking Down the Coast", etc.), but given the close time frame between the two (1995-ish and 1997/98-ish), and that Brian was already starting to re-tool Paley material as early as 1997/98/99 (e.g. "Gettin' In Over My Head" with Thomas, recutting the lead for "You're Still a Mystery" in '99), it's easy to envision Brian and Joe simply doing a head-to-toe rewrite of "Dancing the Night Away" with little remaining from the original. We don't even have a version of "Dancing the Night Away" with most of the lyrics (or verse melodies for that matter), so there may be more in common with the two songs than we would be able to tell.
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« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2017, 04:24:30 PM »

I'm not so sure how much Brian's vocals are truly bad across the board on this album.

Certainly, the intro to "You've Touched Me" sounds like a case of making one quick pass at each vocal part in the stack and moving on. There are a few other wonky vocal bits.

But plenty of his vocals are just fine. I think even his stacks on "How Could We Still Be Dancing" are pretty solid overall. Still a bit sloppy, but I love Brian vocal stacks. It's why I love "Orange Crate Art" so much.

I like Steve Kalinich, but his two contributions to the album aren't a high water mark. Pretty drippy, sing-songy lyrics.

Some of the songs have solid performances and productions but are bland songs, while other songs are solid but with wonky production.

There's a solid song buried under "A Friend Like You", but the lyrics and the arrangement and the mixing are way too syrupy.

The version on this album of "Soul Searchin"" is a non-issue now that the MUCH stronger BB version was released on MIC. (Brian removing Carl's bridge vocal, arguably Carl's shining moment of the song, and also adding an epic sax solo also didn't help).

I don't think the album is the trainwreck some paint it as. But it's almost like a bunch of the tracks would have made interesting b-sides/bonus tracks rather than "main album" tracks.
Had Brian's band done all the backing vocals and harmonies, the overall sound of the album would have improved greatly, imo.
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« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2017, 05:05:29 PM »

I'm not so sure how much Brian's vocals are truly bad across the board on this album.

Certainly, the intro to "You've Touched Me" sounds like a case of making one quick pass at each vocal part in the stack and moving on. There are a few other wonky vocal bits.

But plenty of his vocals are just fine. I think even his stacks on "How Could We Still Be Dancing" are pretty solid overall. Still a bit sloppy, but I love Brian vocal stacks. It's why I love "Orange Crate Art" so much.

I like Steve Kalinich, but his two contributions to the album aren't a high water mark. Pretty drippy, sing-songy lyrics.

Some of the songs have solid performances and productions but are bland songs, while other songs are solid but with wonky production.

There's a solid song buried under "A Friend Like You", but the lyrics and the arrangement and the mixing are way too syrupy.

The version on this album of "Soul Searchin"" is a non-issue now that the MUCH stronger BB version was released on MIC. (Brian removing Carl's bridge vocal, arguably Carl's shining moment of the song, and also adding an epic sax solo also didn't help).

I don't think the album is the trainwreck some paint it as. But it's almost like a bunch of the tracks would have made interesting b-sides/bonus tracks rather than "main album" tracks.
Had Brian's band done all the backing vocals and harmonies, the overall sound of the album would have improved greatly, imo.

Depends...Desert Drive didn't sound that good either and thst had the band singing
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« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2017, 06:29:40 PM »

I'm not so sure how much Brian's vocals are truly bad across the board on this album.

Certainly, the intro to "You've Touched Me" sounds like a case of making one quick pass at each vocal part in the stack and moving on. There are a few other wonky vocal bits.

But plenty of his vocals are just fine. I think even his stacks on "How Could We Still Be Dancing" are pretty solid overall. Still a bit sloppy, but I love Brian vocal stacks. It's why I love "Orange Crate Art" so much.

I like Steve Kalinich, but his two contributions to the album aren't a high water mark. Pretty drippy, sing-songy lyrics.

Some of the songs have solid performances and productions but are bland songs, while other songs are solid but with wonky production.

There's a solid song buried under "A Friend Like You", but the lyrics and the arrangement and the mixing are way too syrupy.

The version on this album of "Soul Searchin"" is a non-issue now that the MUCH stronger BB version was released on MIC. (Brian removing Carl's bridge vocal, arguably Carl's shining moment of the song, and also adding an epic sax solo also didn't help).

I don't think the album is the trainwreck some paint it as. But it's almost like a bunch of the tracks would have made interesting b-sides/bonus tracks rather than "main album" tracks.
Had Brian's band done all the backing vocals and harmonies, the overall sound of the album would have improved greatly, imo.

Depends...Desert Drive didn't sound that good either and thst had the band singing

I know. I tried to cut Jeff some slack, but I can't really dig his falsetto on lines like "surfer girls" in that tune.

Sometimes his studio vocals are cool though, like in the end of the song TWGMTR.
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« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2017, 01:19:51 PM »

I found online an excerpt of a Scott Bennett interview done by AGD for Stomp re: TLOS. Pretty explanatory, I wonder if some fanzine did an interview with some of the band members about GIOMH...
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« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2017, 01:37:22 PM »

Hmm...
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« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2017, 02:26:08 AM »

Around June 2004 and the following months, the 12-minute EPK for GIOMH was accessible on Brian's website.  It's a great watch if you can track it down, brings back a lot of great memories (i.e. like Darian asking Brian how to sing the "look so fine" part in HMR)!  Back when most of the media on Brian's site was RealMedia format...
HMR ?
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« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2017, 02:20:32 PM »

That promo film also included footage of the band members talking about the recording and Brian playing Dancin’ on the piano.
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« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2017, 03:59:46 PM »

Around June 2004 and the following months, the 12-minute EPK for GIOMH was accessible on Brian's website.  It's a great watch if you can track it down, brings back a lot of great memories (i.e. like Darian asking Brian how to sing the "look so fine" part in HMR)!  Back when most of the media on Brian's site was RealMedia format...
HMR ?

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« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2017, 07:56:46 PM »

That promo film also included footage of the band members talking about the recording and Brian playing Dancin’ on the piano.

I still have it saved somewhere. I’ll try to upload it!
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« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2018, 01:35:33 PM »

GIOMH is truly the ultimate Brian solo album— the elusive Phil Spector-sounding rock and roll album. Brian and the band cut loose, mostly free of autotune and Joe Thomas. The much-maligned City Blues rocks harder than most any other Brian track, and Clapton’s pyrotechnical masturbation fits perfectly and sounds great.

Out-of-tune vocals? Sure, for 2004, but compare them to any random Ronettes song. Speaking of which, Brian does a killer Ronnie at the end of Fairy Tale— sounds almost like a placeholder for her to do her own vocal there, which would have been killer.

Even the Paley songs work, if you set aside the more vocally-alert originals. The fact that the original instrumental tracks were reused (while it was claimed that they were all new recordings) is really peculiar, particularly to those who have ears and/or software.

Overall, this is THE BW party record. Free of artifice and eminently crankable.
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« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2018, 01:38:33 PM »

Quote
Out-of-tune vocals? Sure, for 2004, but compare them to any random Ronettes song

Good point, spot on about the Ronettes...I thought I was the only one who felt that way!
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« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2018, 03:37:52 PM »

GIOMH is truly the ultimate Brian solo album— the elusive Phil Spector-sounding rock and roll album. Brian and the band cut loose, mostly free of autotune and Joe Thomas. The much-maligned City Blues rocks harder than most any other Brian track, and Clapton’s pyrotechnical masturbation fits perfectly and sounds great.

Out-of-tune vocals? Sure, for 2004, but compare them to any random Ronettes song. Speaking of which, Brian does a killer Ronnie at the end of Fairy Tale— sounds almost like a placeholder for her to do her own vocal there, which would have been killer.

Even the Paley songs work, if you set aside the more vocally-alert originals. The fact that the original instrumental tracks were reused (while it was claimed that they were all new recordings) is really peculiar, particularly to those who have ears and/or software.

Overall, this is THE BW party record. Free of artifice and eminently crankable.

This was my point at the time. For all the folks who claim to want to hear BW unfiltered, without boundaries or fiddly studio tricks, GIOMH is it.

It's the real thing, without pretense or apology. Love it or leave it. A diamond in the rough.
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« Reply #39 on: January 01, 2018, 03:44:02 PM »

My essay on the album from 2004 --

In Depth with 'Gettin' in Over My Head'

OPENING ARGUMENT

Does Brian Wilson still have something to say? Some, overwhelmed by the founding Beach Boy's legendary work, find the current-day Wilson a disappointment or a problem. His continuing, somewhat befuddled presence annoys them.

Gettin’ In Over My Head (BriMel / Rhino, 2004) seems to confirm some of their most dire pronouncements – old songs, sometimes-shaky vocals – and thus leads to mutterings of “Brian Wilson shouldn't do this.” “He's being manipulated.” “I like my version of Brian better.”

Others, including myself, see Wilson as a contemporary recording artist. He's not what he once was, but that's what makes him interesting. What is he now? What can he do now? What can he express now? If these questions interest you, if you think that Wilson can still express himself through his music, then you'll be more likely to enjoy the album.

Those in the latter camp don't have to like the album. But they will be more inclined to listen without prejudice.

THE ALBUM

Brian Wilson's solo career has been plagued by dishonesty. From his first, collaborator-crammed solo album to the slickly produced Imagination, listeners have had reason to question how much of Wilson they were actually hearing. Did he hit the note, or was it digitally altered? Did he write the song, or was it Jeff Lynne? Who was pulling his strings?

With GIOMH, we have Wilson's first honest album. It's his music, his voice, his arrangements. It's the first record since the Beach Boys' Love You to be “produced and arranged by Brian Wilson.” That credit is important. That credit is crucial.

For the first time, on an album-length release, we can hear where Wilson's at. Could we tell on Imagination? Nope. Could we tell on 1988's Brian Wilson? Not really. But with this album we have confirmation of Wilson's continued vitality as a studio presence.

We had hints. “On Christmas Day” from 2000 showed that Wilson could still pull off basic production and arrangement duties. But it was a holiday song. “California Feelin'” showcased a relaxed band vibe – but it was an old tune. And, of course, Wilson's concert work of the past five years has consistently provided memorable vocal moments (mixed with regrettable ones).

But here, for 53 minutes, we hear Wilson doing it all. As he once did. For people to ignore or dismiss this misses the point of GIOMH. Good or bad, he is fully functioning in a studio environment again.

SHORTCOMINGS

The album does have problems, some of them serious.

The sequencing doesn't work. Too many duets and collaborations lead it off. The second half lags. Though individual songs and performances work, the excitement wanes a bit once you pass “A Friend Like You,” his collaboration with Paul McCartney.

Wilson should have used his exceptional touring band for backing vocals. I like his multitracked harmonies – there's a certain Beach Boys sound there that can't be duplicated – but Wilson sometimes put more effort into backgrounds than leads. If the group had been around to pick up the weight, I think the album would have had more consistent singing.

The reliance on tracks from his unreleased 1991 album, Sweet Insanity, bypasses excellent material from his mid-'90s collaborations with power pop pro Andy Paley. I hope we get to hear more of those in the future.

SURPRISES

I'm surprised Wilson still arranges as well as he does. The backing tracks throughout GIOMH exude his classic sound. It's not forced, it's not imitative, it's not cliched. It's just his touch.

I'm surprised to hear how robust his falsetto sounds. Check out the bridge to “Make a Wish.” It's far stronger than 1998's Imagination album. Touring has been good for Wilson's vocal strength.

I'm surprised those around Wilson allowed him to record this album. GIOMH is not a comeback record. It's not an album meant to gain a youthful audience. It's not a country or adult-contemporary crossover. It's a mildly eccentric, addled, emotional album from a 62-year-old guy. He sounds weird sometimes.

He doesn't care.

I applaud Wilson's bravery in making this album, and the bravery of those who support him in releasing it. We all benefit.

CLOSING NOTES

A handful of great songs, several strong tunes and a couple of selections that don't live up to their potential. That sounds like your usual Brian Wilson album. That sounds like your usual Beach Boys album. That's the blessing and curse of GIOMH – it isn't a Pet Sounds-level masterwork.

The curse? People who don't care for latter-day Wilson can complain that "he's lost it." Ask those who grumbled about the "tired album from a tired man."

The blessing? We haven't heard a "usual" Brian Wilson album – from his hand and his alone – for decades. We've forgotten what such an album sounds like. We've forgotten the subtle pleasures such albums provide.

Gettin' In Over My Head is an honest album from an honest musician. For that, I am thankful.
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« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2018, 10:50:33 AM »

I also feel like GIOMH would sound better on the production side, especially the *backing tracks* if it sounded more like TWGMTR and had less of the pseudo-wall-of-sound-kitchen-sink production of GIOMH.

Imagine "City Blues", but with a backing track that was smoother and less cluttered like, say, "Beaches in Mind." These songs obviously aren't terribly similar. But songs like "City Blues" and "A Friend Like You" have nice songs buried under cluttered arrangement and production.

Wirestone's probably right, this is Brian doing a full-blown production more unfettered than at other times.

I think there's two types of "Brian left even more to his own devices" types of projects. GIOMH may be one. The other type, the one *I'd* like to hear, is Brian and a piano and a bag of songs. Kind of a less synthy version of "Love You."
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« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2018, 12:35:27 PM »

I mean, that's what I thought 13 years ago. Subsequent experience has shown that Brian can do transcendent solo work (That Lucky Old Sun is only the first of several records that come to mind). But GIOMH has a nice vibe. IMO.
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« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2018, 01:16:10 PM »

Great Essay Wirestone, I wish we had more defenders like you in 2004....
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« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2018, 02:58:58 PM »

If you listen closely, the "new" sax solo on Soul Searchin' barely covers up the original organ solo.

I like how the album incorporated some "organic" instruments that hadn't been heard in a while, such as the bass harmonica on The Waltz.

I think the title track is the best one on the album.

I agree with those who have said that the unreleased Make a Wish is superior.

When it first came out, I remember giving it a B-/C+ grade.  Over the years, I have downgraded it to a C-
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« Reply #44 on: January 02, 2018, 05:16:15 PM »

Why don't we gather information of the origin of the songs:
How Could We Still Be Dancin' -"Dancin' the Night Away", co-written with Andy Paley and recorded with Carl and Mike on Mar. 3, 1995

Soul Searchin' - co-written with Andy, recorded with the BB except Bruce on Nov. 7-8, 1995

You've Touched Me - "Turning Point a.k.a. So Long", co-written with Gary Usher and worked on during Jun 29-Jul 16, 1986.

Gettin' in Over My Head - co-written and worked on with Andy circa 1995, later reworked with Joe Thomas circa 1998.

City Blues- worked on with Dennis circa 1982, during "Cocaine Sessions".

Desert Drive- co-written Andy and worked on Oct 29, 1994

A Friend Like You- new track written with Steven Kalinich

Make a Wish- a "Sweet Insanity" track, which was co-written with Landy and recorded circa 1990.

Rainbow Eyes- same as above

Saturday Morning in the City -co-written wiwh Andy and first worked on during "Brian Wilson" sessions, later reworked on with Andy circa 1995.

Fairy Tale -"Save the Day", a SI track co-written with Landy

Don't Let Her Know She's An Angel -same as above, but demoed early in 80's

The Waltz -"Let's Stick Together,", same as above, but worked on with "Weird" Al Yancovic.
 

This is only AFAIK so correction please.


The only one I heard Brian writing was "Don't Let Her Know She's an Angel" around Holiday time in 1980 if memory serves me (that can be a problem, but I'm pretty sure on that one), so your timing I feel fairly certain is correct.  He had a little German wooden Christmas angel-at-a-piano statue on top of his piano, and it seemed to make him happy that year, so your timing makes sense.

As far as whatever he did with Dennis around that time, I wasn't invited.  Brian was always oddly protective of people, so maybe those stories are true.  The only really horrible drugs I saw Brian on were prescribed.  No one had a clue how to treat him then, and later under Landy, clearly the story was the same, or maybe under Landy the damage was deliberate, given the revised will and Landy's not legally being able to prescribe meds to Brian.

The remarkable thing is how well Brian survived and created so much more beauty.  Would I like to hear a re-mix of GIOMH? Definitely.  Do I think it will happen.  No.
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« Reply #45 on: January 02, 2018, 06:15:53 PM »


Soul Searchin' - co-written with Andy, recorded with the BB except Bruce on Nov. 7-8, 1995

This is only AFAIK so correction please.


Why would you say "except Bruce"? An eyewitness to the vocal sessions confirms Bruce's presence.
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« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2018, 01:17:44 AM »


Soul Searchin' - co-written with Andy, recorded with the BB except Bruce on Nov. 7-8, 1995

This is only AFAIK so correction please.


Why would you say "except Bruce"? An eyewitness to the vocal sessions confirms Bruce's presence.

This is why we need that sessionography.  Wink
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« Reply #47 on: January 03, 2018, 07:00:33 AM »


Soul Searchin' - co-written with Andy, recorded with the BB except Bruce on Nov. 7-8, 1995

This is only AFAIK so correction please.


Why would you say "except Bruce"? An eyewitness to the vocal sessions confirms Bruce's presence.

Also, we have quotes from Bruce discussing the sessions/material, where he slightly infamously seems to not think highly of the material.
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