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631829 Posts in 25305 Topics by 3601 Members - Latest Member: smuffy May 21, 2018, 07:47:12 AM
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Author Topic: Janelle MonŠe feat. Brian Wilson - Dirty Computer  (Read 3390 times)
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2018, 08:30:17 AM »

As far as fact-checking what Janelle said in the various interviews about the Wilson brothers singing quietly, she's right. The Wilson boys would harmonize with each other as kids in their bedroom and had to do it quietly so they didn't wake their parents. Doing that on a weekly if not nightly basis for any extended period of time will inject itself as a style and technique which would shape the way they sing. Those harmony sessions late night in the Wilson bedroom came out on the Beach Boys records - They're not singing doo-wop or streetcorner harmony, they're blending with this quiet and hushed technique that married itself *perfectly* to the material, especially Lonely Sea, Surfer Girl, In My Room...all the way up to Cool Cool Water. It's a different style of singing.

And as a comparison, check out the Dixieland section of Heroes And Villains. THAT was the Wilson brothers (and Al and Mike) replicating how they used to riff like a Dixieland band using their vocals, dating back to the Hawthorne days and on car trips to various shows. It came out on their records.

A comparison from the jazz world is Wes Montgomery - The story is that his wife would get on his case about him practicing his guitar and waking up their kid. So Wes started playing with his bare thumb instead of a pick, so his guitar wouldn't be as loud while others in the house were sleeping.

And the way his thumb made the sound quieter and softer became Wes' signature sound, and a sound which defined his music - Because no one was doing that for the most part. Guitarists who are hip to it will even call playing guitar with their thumb after Wes, or will say they're using the "Wes Montgomery thumb"...I know I do lol.

Just a related example of how practicing at home and having to be soft or quiet leads to creating a signature sound and technique that defines a career in music.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2018, 09:43:36 AM »

Great track, BW is as creative as ever and MonŠe is a great artist!
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2018, 11:56:17 AM »


For context, Monae's last two albums and an EP were concept albums with her protraying an android robot name Cindi Mayweather

Or you could watch the first couple minutes of the film she made to go along with the album and it explains it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdH2Sy-BlNE


Here's the song credits, taken from that video:



So based on this, Brian did not arrange it. There's a credit for writing and for composing and arranging, and for lyrics. Not sure how all of these are different, but Brian is not named in any of them. I assume the harmonies were arranged, BW-style, by the arranger.
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2018, 01:14:36 PM »

"Vocal Arranger" is not as standard a typical "sleeve credit" as writing, production, engineering, etc. I wouldn't assume much one way or the other.

The background vocals aren't super twist-turny or anything. It's not like the "Orange Crate Art" album or something. It's mostly "oooohs" that match each of the song's chord changes. Essentially, the music part of the composition dictated the backing vocal arrangement.

"Arrangement" credits in general on albums can mean a lot of different things. It often is a credit given to a producer (or other individual) who does more than "production" on a song, but not something that full-on warrants a songwriting credit.

It may be that this credit pops up more now than it did years ago. For instance, I recall a bit of credit "overkill" on Brian's "Playback" album where Brian was credited with the arrangements on all of the songs
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« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2018, 02:12:53 PM »

"Vocal Arranger" is not as standard a typical "sleeve credit" as writing, production, engineering, etc. I wouldn't assume much one way or the other.

Right, and I won't pretend to know anything about how credits work, but you would think Brian would be credited in this case. If I buy an album and the artist did the vocal arrangement, I never see that credited. But Brian is a special (and honored) guest who would be doing some work on a major part of the song in this case. You'd think they wouldn't just not credit him. And you pointing out that the vocal arrangement is similar to the chords is another possible piece of evidence for the composer getting credit for doing the vocal arrangement.

Then again, did Brian get credit for other vocal arrangements he did, for Linda Ronstadt, Anton Figg, etc? Or did the sleeve just say he did the vocals?
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« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2018, 06:14:59 AM »

"Vocal Arranger" is not as standard a typical "sleeve credit" as writing, production, engineering, etc. I wouldn't assume much one way or the other.

Right, and I won't pretend to know anything about how credits work, but you would think Brian would be credited in this case. If I buy an album and the artist did the vocal arrangement, I never see that credited. But Brian is a special (and honored) guest who would be doing some work on a major part of the song in this case. You'd think they wouldn't just not credit him. And you pointing out that the vocal arrangement is similar to the chords is another possible piece of evidence for the composer getting credit for doing the vocal arrangement.

Then again, did Brian get credit for other vocal arrangements he did, for Linda Ronstadt, Anton Figg, etc? Or did the sleeve just say he did the vocals?

I think the important selling point for the song, as far as letting people know Brian is on it, and potentially enticing BB/BW fans about Brian's participation (though I doubt Monae is really angling at that at all), is simply billing Brian as being a guest on the track.

There have been other Brian guest backing vocal spots where he wasn't given any main artist credit (e.g. "featuring Brian Wilson") as Monae has given Brian. Random examples would include the 1992 and 1998 tracks Brian sang on for Ringo Starr. Brian was credited in the track-by-track musician credits for those tracks, but was not credited on the "back cover" so to speak as he is on this Monae track.

I don't think much of anything hinges on whether Brian actually arranged the backing vocals versus simply singing them as hired gun, as far as attacking people to purchase the song and/or listen to it. Nobody I can imagine is saying "well, I was going to listen or buy this track, but if he was directed in what to sing rather than arranged the vocals himself, then I'm out."

I'd certainly like to think, given the *copious* amount of detailed song-by-song liner notes the album has, that they would have credited Brian had he arranged the backing vocals. So I would guess they asked Brian to come in and said "sing this in these spots"; they may have even had a temp backing vocal track for Brian to work off of.

Which is fine; we all know Brian perhaps more than *anything* else has the capacity to arrange intricate vocal arrangements. Based on Monae's interview, it sounds like she didn't want his arranging talents, she wanted his *sound* and sort of tactics/attack plan for recording vocals.
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« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2018, 08:49:20 AM »

Brian's sound is the way he arranges vocals. Everyone can decide for themselves what they think Brian did or didn't do on this new track (use your ears, just a tip...lol), but his M.O. for decades as far as vocal recording/arranging has been pretty much the same with exceptions such as Orange Crate Art. He gets behind the mic and starts adding individual vocal parts to the track. Restating again, this is what he's been doing since he got that tape recorder in his teens in Hawthorne.

Not saying this was the same method, once again listen and decide with your own ears, but this is from Linda Ronstadt when she brought Brian in to add his harmonies to a track:

In the studio, under Brianís direction, we recorded his harmony parts for ďAdiosĒ with five separate tracks of unison singing on each of the three parts, fifteen vocal tracks in all.  He didnít seem concerned if some of the tracks veered slightly out of tune, but took advantage of the slight ďchorusedĒ effect it created when he came back into the control room to mix the harmony tracks into the creamy vocal smoothness instantly recognizable as the Beach Boys.

Brian was making up the harmonies as he went along, but sometimes, when he was having difficulty figuring out a complicated section, he would scold himself and say that he needed to work for a time at the piano.  However, when he sat down at the piano, he never played any part of ďAdios,Ē but instead would play a boogie-woogie song, very loud in a different key.  After a few minutes of this he would go back to the microphone and sing the parts perfectly, without a trace of hesitation.


And:

Brian came into the studio and sang 15 parts for 'Adios'! I was just flabbergasted. Brian's really a vocal orchestrator. There isn't anybody else in pop music with that kind of talent. He just comes in and puts the parts down, one right after another - real close, intricate harmony parts. I was astounded.


Would it make sense for someone influenced by Brian's harmonies and vocal arrangements to get him involved in a track, and have someone write a score for him to sing or replace demo parts as Brian had done since the early 60's with him dealing out parts to the Beach Boys to sing and create those vocal sounds that influenced so many through the years? Not saying what happened, but just asking would it make sense?

I remember a story about Earl Palmer. When he got to LA and started doing regular sessions, building up an already legendary resume and list of hit records anchored by his drumming, a young producer tried to explain to Earl how to play a certain beat. Earl's response should be a T-Shirt or meme:

"Son, I invented this sh*t".

(And as I'm posting this, Janelle's "Make Me Feel" just came on the radio.)
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2018, 09:53:07 AM »

Linda Ronstadt's recollection is really interesting! Who else, besides a true BB /Brian Wilson fan, would care about this information, or the source of their "soft" harmonizing? Thank you. 
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« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2018, 10:04:37 AM »

Is Brian's "Shornin' Bread" a slow boogie woogie?

Thank you for the remarkable Linda R. quote.

check out these two cats dancing to boogie woogie...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWDfxgngrNc
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« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2018, 05:33:43 PM »

Decent song and Brian sounds good.
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« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2018, 10:35:48 AM »

Maybe Brian can bring Janelle Monae, and perhaps Kevin Barnes, on his next album?
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« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2018, 10:20:41 AM »

Maybe Brian can bring Janelle Monae, and perhaps Kevin Barnes, on his next album?

And why not get Kevin's cousin Jeremy Barnes, and his bandmates Julian Koster, Scott Spillane, and Jeff Mangum as well? Bryan "BP Helium" Poole, Robert Schneider, Hilary Sidney, Will Cullen Hart, Bill Doss, Laura Carter...Elephant 6 party at Brian's house!!
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« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2018, 11:40:35 AM »

Bill Doss died five or six years ago.

I donít believe Jeremy and Kevin Barnes are related: where did you hear that?

Robert is a math grad student and teaching assistant at Emory University these days, not doing music anymore.

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« Reply #38 on: May 10, 2018, 08:58:35 AM »

Bill Doss died five or six years ago.

I donít believe Jeremy and Kevin Barnes are related: where did you hear that?

Robert is a math grad student and teaching assistant at Emory University these days, not doing music anymore.


I would have sworn I read somewhere that Kevin Barnes and Jeremy Barnes were distantly related, like third cousins or something. Now I think I was either dreaming, or someone online was making up bullshit.
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« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2018, 04:47:38 PM »

Bill Doss died five or six years ago.

I donít believe Jeremy and Kevin Barnes are related: where did you hear that?

Robert is a math grad student and teaching assistant at Emory University these days, not doing music anymore.



He still shows up occasionally. He performed at Athens Popfest back in 2016 as a "special guest", apparently.
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« Reply #40 on: May 15, 2018, 10:24:32 AM »

Hoping for an easter egg or bonus track that features the backing track plus Brian/Matt. The more I listen, the more I love these harmonies. However, Janelle's lyrics aren't exactly appropriate for my classroom (or for listening with the ol' man).
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« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2018, 12:14:25 PM »

Don't like it.  Sounds like a robot with backing vocals that sounds more like Matt than Brian
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