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Author Topic: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Album Discussion Thread  (Read 17993 times)
Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #175 on: June 11, 2018, 07:43:56 AM »

Agree with the quality of Disney Girls. Now I want other BB tracks to be remixed to highlight lead vocals in the same was as was done with Bruce. He sounds exquisite!
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« Reply #176 on: June 11, 2018, 09:19:08 AM »

I just listened to the RPO version of Don't Worry Baby because it came on Sirius. To me, not having heard these sorts of albums before, it is a really strange marriage of a rock/pop song and a classical arrangement, kind of 'neither fish nor fowl'. My brain tells me that the arrangements are technically well played, but it seems a really odd fit and the extra orchestra sweetening seems to go against the grain of the song.

If this is one of the standout tracks as folks have suggested, I think it's safe to say this is not the album for me. For whatever reason I'm just not feeling it.

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HeyJude
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« Reply #177 on: June 11, 2018, 09:40:59 AM »

There are a hand full of the tracks that have compelling elements, but they're mostly because the remix has pushed something previously a bit more buried to the fore, like Bruce's harmony vocal on "Kokomo." Some stuff sounds a bit more dry and upfront and modern, so "Darlin'" for instance certainly sounds fresh and Carl's vocal sounds like it could have been cut yesterday. But that's really more due to the excellent work of Brian and the engineers (and Carl) on the original recordings.

Some of the orchestra swells and arrangement pieces sound goofy and very much a case of "well, we gotta add *something* and make *something* sound a little different." In a few cases, they've rejiggered the underlying melodies of some of the background arrangements, replacing Brian's choices with their own. I'm all for hearing an interesting alternate version, and even to hear an intriguing countermelody, even if written by some random guy in 2018. I'm fully prepared to say someone can make one individual decision here or there that sounds better to me than what Brian did. I'm not predisposed to blindly say everything Brian could have done will always be better. But in this particular case, I hear nothing that actively *improves* on Brian's arrangements/production.

But some of the tracks sound fine and interesting enough. Some sound goofy.

Hopefully we'll see some more exciting releases announced as the year progresses.
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« Reply #178 on: June 11, 2018, 09:45:28 AM »

While Iíll agree that this album isnít for everyone, I hope everyone checks out this RPO version of Disney Girls. Had they done the whole album like that song I think it would be getting a much better reception among us more ardent fans.

One thing that I forgot to gripe about: the harpsichord on YSBIM is so jarring from the original that I canít enjoy the song at all. The original version has that heavenly harpsichord (Brian made it sound like an instrument that has never been played before or since the recording of Still Believe In Me) and that magic is completely missing from this version.

And one positive thing I will re-emphasize, this version of Sloop John B is amazing. They really made it into their own track without destroying the heart of the original version. And they added that extra vocal goodie at the end which really makes that track for me.

Get a good pair of headphones or speakers and listen to just Disney Girls and Sloop John B, itís worth it.
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« Reply #179 on: June 11, 2018, 11:16:33 AM »

While Iíll agree that this album isnít for everyone, I hope everyone checks out this RPO version of Disney Girls. Had they done the whole album like that song I think it would be getting a much better reception among us more ardent fans.

Thanks! I listened and I agree with you. It's dramatically better than Don't Worry. The orchestra arrangement is pushed MUCH further into new territory, and the sound of the orchestra works well for the song. (The opening notes sound... for lack of a better word... "Disney"!) Bruce sounds great against the more minimal backing, again compared to Don't Worry where the vocal has extra competition.

Will check out the others you mention as well.  Smiley

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« Reply #180 on: June 11, 2018, 06:42:20 PM »

Quote
I hear nothing that actively *improves* on Brian's arrangements/production
Nothing will.
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« Reply #181 on: June 11, 2018, 07:38:41 PM »

I have heard a few of these tracks played on the SiriusXM Beach Boys channel lately and I was intrigued, as I wasn't aware of this project being in the works.  I am a fan of orchestral music and a big fan of the Beach Boys so this album is a win for me.  The songs are the old familiar favorites, but the orchestral arrangements provide a much fuller, richer, and warmer sound.  "The Warmth of the Sun" was done beautifully.  As Al commented "...the fans are just gonna take this one to heart, they're gonna love it.  They're going to feel the way I do I'm sure, I hope they do."   I do love the album and musical arrangements and I appreciate and enjoy hearing the Beach Boys in a new and musically diverse manner.
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« Reply #182 on: June 11, 2018, 11:42:03 PM »

While Iíll agree that this album isnít for everyone, I hope everyone checks out this RPO version of Disney Girls. Had they done the whole album like that song I think it would be getting a much better reception among us more ardent fans.

One thing that I forgot to gripe about: the harpsichord on YSBIM is so jarring from the original that I canít enjoy the song at all. The original version has that heavenly harpsichord (Brian made it sound like an instrument that has never been played before or since the recording of Still Believe In Me) and that magic is completely missing from this version.

And one positive thing I will re-emphasize, this version of Sloop John B is amazing. They really made it into their own track without destroying the heart of the original version. And they added that extra vocal goodie at the end which really makes that track for me.

Get a good pair of headphones or speakers and listen to just Disney Girls and Sloop John B, itís worth it.
I agree with YSBIM it does nothing new. Same with California Girls, there is a Take during the original Session from 1965 where Brian complains about too much G#d D#mn Vibe. Well the new PH mix has just that, too much Vibraphone. Sloop works great since the used the original Vocal Tracks as well as parts of the original Instrumental 4-Track. You can really hear the Glockenspiel, Bari Saxes and Drums Track. I wished they had used Bill Strange's high 12-String part though. It's so magical on it's own. I'm sure they could have cheated on Good Vibs as well since some of the Vocals exist as well as the complete Backing Track Masters.
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« Reply #183 on: June 12, 2018, 06:50:22 AM »

Quote
I hear nothing that actively *improves* on Brian's arrangements/production
Nothing will.

Depends on which material we're talking about. I could remix "A Friend Like You" and make it sound better. 60s material not so much.
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« Reply #184 on: June 12, 2018, 07:37:09 AM »

It's interesting how the new string arrangement on "In My Room" is just a bit like the string arrangement done for their 1964 "Red Skelton Hour" TV appearance (as seen/heard in "An American Band").
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« Reply #185 on: June 12, 2018, 09:04:49 AM »

Sitting at number 1 on amazon UK, 3 versions in the top 100.

Annoyingly amazon have sold out so hopefully that doesn't put off potential buyers, capitol probably didn't anticipate the interest.

Mike and Bruce on a UK morning show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSQ155YNolg
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« Reply #186 on: June 12, 2018, 09:27:47 AM »

The Orbison orchestral album hit #2 in the UK last year: I'm pretty sure he hadn't seen that kind of chart action since the Wilburys and "Mystery Girl" in 1988/89 upon his death, so they should have anticipated the BB album would probably be more popular in the UK than in the US.
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« Reply #187 on: June 12, 2018, 10:00:49 AM »

Well, this is a curious album and no mistake. Where it excels -- Sloop John B, Disney Girls, You Still Believe in Me...........there , it justifies its existence.

Some of the arrangements are both too quiet and lacking much creativity.

Plain bad....is the unforgiveable burying of BWs brilliant vocal tags...especially the ending of God Only Knows.

If only, if only.........the excellence of Sloop etc had been shown throughout, the album could have been a GREAT addition to the catalogue.
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« Reply #188 on: June 12, 2018, 10:13:09 AM »

YSBIM is a disaster. It's been turned into a bright and optimistic song, missing the underlying vulnerability completely. The strings on the whole album are closer to Mantovani than anything truly classical. Brian put better strings on Don't Talk Put Your Head On My Shoulder.

Saying that, something different happens with Heroes & Villains. A person who understood Brian and VDP's intentions seems to have had some input.

In My Room also just about works. Vocals are beautifully mixed and the strings are reasonably restrained, except the Middle 8 which gets too loud.

The piano on Darlin', which I love, seems to have been removed; part of an overall "smoothing" process which misunderstands the reasons the originals are so great.


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« Reply #189 on: June 12, 2018, 11:20:06 AM »

Saying that, something different happens with Heroes & Villains. A person who understood Brian and VDP's intentions seems to have had some input.

Curious what you mean by this.

I think the song selection is overall very satisfying and a nice cross-section of the band's career. Having said that, there are some songs that aren't really elevated by the addition of the orchestra, while I can think of others where the added instrumentation would have worked much better. "Surfer Girl" and "Forever" come to mind, and the latter would have given us a Dennis-lead vocal on an album where every other band member has a lead vocal represented. 
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« Reply #190 on: June 12, 2018, 11:36:05 AM »

I have to chime in to say this. I listened specifically to Heroes And Villains and You Still Believe In Me because those two songs had elements in Brian's original arrangements that simply destroyed me, as in those musical triumphs that can be heard where you're just stunned at how beautiful or how emotional this young guy's music could be.

In the case of Heroes, it was that "sweeping strings" orchestral section, and when I heard the outtake where Brian is running the orchestra through take after take, I was simply blown away. Same with a lesser known outtake of Brian rehearsing different parts for the bowed upright bass to play...testing different rhythms, patterns, etc. The way that bass was mic'ed and cut through...wow.

YSBIM...The moment when Brian reaches that high falsetto "whine" when he says I wanna cry..... and extends cry into a long descending musical phrase, followed by Mike's lower register recap of the same phrase...then it explodes into a vocal swirl of counterpoints and harmonies in between the two, punctuated by of all things a bicycle horn...Holy sh*t...THAT is the stuff that brings tears to my eyes and hits me in the gut. Sheer, unique beauty in music. Pop music as high art. Innovation. All of it. It's what got me hooked...no, obsessed.

So I hear the new orchestral versions. Heroes starts with a teaser in the cellos, but ultimately I don't hear anything that either compliments or enhances what Brian put on the track originally. If there had been something to set this apart, I would have been more enthused. But it is hard to be enthused when there are basically parts being added atop what was there originally. And what was there originally (and even more perhaps what was left unused in 66-67 via the various session tapes) was so unique, it just can't measure up.

YSBIM...Again, maybe it's a personal bias I have because the original is so special to me. That one part is beyond words. So hearing a string section covering up the very dynamic and octave contrast that made the original brim with anticipation and the soft-loud contrasting of dynamics that made the vocal explosion payoff so compelling is lost under multiple orchestral layers...where the payoff, the original climax of the song was almost entirely due to the vocal soundscape punctuated by a bicycle horn...

I don't know, I just don't know. I tried to give these two specifically an open-mind listen, but it's hard to not want to go back to the original(s), crank them up and fill the room with pure 1966-67 sound and sonic bliss after hearing these new takes.
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« Reply #191 on: June 12, 2018, 12:37:47 PM »

Apparently more of a projection at this stage, looks like this might hit #4 on the UK charts:

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/brit-winner-jorja-smith-line-170000713.html
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« Reply #192 on: June 12, 2018, 12:58:05 PM »

Apparently more of a projection at this stage, looks like this might hit #4 on the UK charts:

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/brit-winner-jorja-smith-line-170000713.html

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« Reply #193 on: June 12, 2018, 01:02:38 PM »

TWGMTR hit #15 in the UK, but it hit #3 in the US in 2012.

I'm guessing the symphonic album will not get anywhere near #4 on the US charts.

To compare to Orbison's symphonic album from last year, it hit #2 in the UK and #151 in the US.
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« Reply #194 on: June 12, 2018, 01:03:16 PM »

Sitting at number 1 on amazon UK, 3 versions in the top 100.

In the US: #14 (CD's and Vinyl) #64 (Digital) -- #55 on iTunes
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« Reply #195 on: June 12, 2018, 01:06:07 PM »

More recent chart comparisons: "Sunshine Tomorrow" hit #49 in the UK and #145 in the US.

Not sure why these symphonic albums seem to be more popular in the UK. Is it really because the albums are recorded by the Royal Philharmonic?
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« Reply #196 on: June 12, 2018, 02:08:10 PM »

More recent chart comparisons: "Sunshine Tomorrow" hit #49 in the UK and #145 in the US.

Not sure why these symphonic albums seem to be more popular in the UK. Is it really because the albums are recorded by the Royal Philharmonic?

I think mostly just because they are heavily advertised and sold anywhere that sells any CDs - so every supermarket in the country basically. The RPO probably helps since even if they own an Elvis/Orbison/Beach Boys comp, this is a new version, and having the Royal Philharmonic instead of just any old orchestra is probably good name recognition. But generally I think its just advertising and timing. Beach Boys before Father's Day. Orbison in the lead up to Christmas, etc.

Notably, the Aretha one didn't trouble the charts and it's also one I didn't see heavily promoted and that I wasn't able to buy at the same time as getting the milk.
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« Reply #197 on: June 12, 2018, 02:12:12 PM »

To fuel pointless reunion rumours and conspiracies, Al mentions in the HMV interview playing live with the RPO at the Royal Albert Hall, and Bruce mentions the same idea when discussing playing the Albert Hall next year on BBC Breakfast this morning...

https://www.hmv.com/music/the-beach-boys-with-the-royal-philharmonic-orchestra-interview-2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSQ155YNolg

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« Reply #198 on: June 12, 2018, 02:32:32 PM »

Apparently more of a projection at this stage, looks like this might hit #4 on the UK charts:

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/brit-winner-jorja-smith-line-170000713.html

That would be amazing and it might have staying power with fathers day coming up etc.

It's currently at 1 on amazon and 2 on itunes which is really remarkable, could easily finish higher.
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« Reply #199 on: June 12, 2018, 07:14:52 PM »

Apparently more of a projection at this stage, looks like this might hit #4 on the UK charts:

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/brit-winner-jorja-smith-line-170000713.html

That would be amazing and it might have staying power with fathers day coming up etc.

It's currently at 1 on amazon and 2 on itunes which is really remarkable, could easily finish higher.

Are there different charts for the UK with these same retailers? Or what charts are you guys referencing?

10:14 pm EST, in the US: Amazon #14, iTunes #27 on the respective album charts.
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