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Author Topic: She Knows Me Too Well - Production analysis video  (Read 658 times)
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« on: July 06, 2020, 12:25:39 PM »

Another great homebrew track played exclusively by the Boys themselves (plus Russ Titelman), She Knows Me Too Well is a simple production with a couple of unusual features.  Hear about them here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i1e86d1TE4
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2020, 01:16:03 PM »

Phenomenal! I love the detail about the plugins you used. ‘She Knows Me Too Well’ is one of my favorite pre-Pet Sounds songs. The Keep An Eye On Summer Sessions disc was such a treat to be able to hear the a cappella and track w/ background vocals. Thanks for yet another great video!
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2020, 01:34:53 PM »

Oh great! I will watch this right after posting this message!

One of my favorite pre-Pet Sounds tracks. The different tempos of Mike and the other boys during the chorus, the beautiful melody with Brian's awesome singing, especially the "and she-ee can tell"... oh man, such a wonderful thing!
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2020, 09:20:36 PM »

Very nice, thanks!

I like the mellow, jazzy guitar part with those little "bends" at the end of certain lines. Quite subtle. I agree that it ultimately sounds better in mono (the official stereo mixes for Today are generally unbalanced and reverb-heavy), but I appreciate hearing the details in stereo as you've presented.

Regarding the lyrics vs. the music, there is definitely something "off" in the chords, and once again Brian effectively conveys feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.

I'd love to hear your hypothetical SD&SN/Pet Sounds versions, or at least a sampler! We do have some vocals-only mixes to add to them for a full effect...
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2020, 11:49:51 PM »

So fantastic. Thank you.
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2020, 04:18:19 PM »

Terrific to hear it pulled apart, and then to go to another YouTube post that replicates salient excerpts from the session (as condensed from SOT 7) to hear it coming together in real time--and then back to the last 2:00+ minutes of Joshilyn's video to re-hear the parts in better isolation...

Question for any of the experts...We've read about Brian sitting at the piano, pounding away creating his unique chord progressions--in various sources, these were the given the name "feels" (an apparent Brianism that I don't recall being referenced in the most recent autobio--though I could've missed it). When did that particular process become his dominant mode of creation? Is it here? Would this piano part, which truly dominates here, be among the first of these "feels"? If not here, then where?

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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2020, 06:17:16 AM »

Terrific to hear it pulled apart, and then to go to another YouTube post that replicates salient excerpts from the session (as condensed from SOT 7) to hear it coming together in real time--and then back to the last 2:00+ minutes of Joshilyn's video to re-hear the parts in better isolation...

Question for any of the experts...We've read about Brian sitting at the piano, pounding away creating his unique chord progressions--in various sources, these were the given the name "feels" (an apparent Brianism that I don't recall being referenced in the most recent autobio--though I could've missed it). When did that particular process become his dominant mode of creation? Is it here? Would this piano part, which truly dominates here, be among the first of these "feels"? If not here, then where?



Pretty sure Brian was using "feels" before that...one reference that comes to mind, although from many years later, is Dennis describing his own piano part on the POB/i] track "What's Wrong". He told David Leaf, "I love that old feel Brian used to play." The "feel" on "What's Wrong" is a shuffle, very similar to Brian's "feel" on "Little Deuce Coupe". Now, we know that for "LDC", the lyrics came first (mostly from Roger Christian, although Brian threw in at least one line), but it's conceivable that Brian "felt around" on the piano for the rhythm and chord structure before coming up with the melody to fit Roger's words. Whether or not he called it a "feel" at the time, I don't think we can say for sure, but I'm guessing he was using that term at least by 1963.
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2020, 11:47:42 AM »

Thanks, c-man. I don't think there's any question but that Brian used the piano to map out chords as he wrote songs, but the "feel" thing seems to me to be an outgrowth that goes beyond that process. I haven't got access at the moment to the UM disks where the session for LDC is housed--is that that a piano-dominated backing track? My memory (which is likely to be faulty...) tells me that it's not. Dennis' memory of the piano part would likely be more pronounced because he probably figured out his drum part from a run-through with Brian on  piano.

Maybe the question would be more focused if rephrased as follows: when did Brian's "piano poundings" become more integral to the songs in the studio production phase? That preference and practice clearly grew more and more pronounced from '64 on. While guitars are never exactly eliminated from Brian's own concoction of a "wall of sound," they clearly become subordinate to keyboards and other orchestra-specific instruments, especially as Brian moves away from standard rock'n'roll (compare the up-tempo tracks on SDSN to even TLGIOK, for example). I'm surmising from your answer that you consider the piano track for SKMTW to fall into the category of a "feel," right? How does a track like this, which carries through from beginning to end, compare to the "modular" segments we see in GV and the SMiLE tracks?
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2020, 12:17:54 PM »

"I have a big Spanish table, circular, and I sit there hour after hour making the tunes inside my head. Or I go to the piano and sit playing 'feels'. 'Feels' are brief note sequences, fragments of ideas. Once they're out of my head and into the open air, I can see them and touch them firmly. They're not 'feels' any more." - Brian in Melody Maker, 1966.

I don't think Brian is talking about any particular form or style of music in a literal sense, he's just describing the way he writes. He's always been about wedging together different modules of chord patterns and drawing on melody fragments from all over the place.
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2020, 01:00:35 PM »

Brian's description of what he did is probably accurate , but I don't think he fully divulged what he was doing at the piano. For years, his 'feels' have had a mystical implication, like the keyboard was his Ouija board or that his hands were divining melodies from another world. There is a down to earth way to view this.

A "feel" is basically the rhythmic characteristic of a track or a song and its accompaniment. Twist, shuffle, swing, straight 8's, cha-cha-cha, boogie woogie, bossa nova are common ones we know. Listen to Brian's 'Do You Wanna Dance.' He dropped Bobby Freeman's original latin feel (4/4 divided and counted as  123 123 12)and used Del Shannon's straight eighth note feel, instead. Another easy to hear example is the feel change Brian applied to The Times They Are A-changin' on The Beach Boys party album. There, he changes the not only the rhythm of the melody and underlying accompaniment but also, most importantly, the meter, transposing its original 3/4 to 4/4.  A song's feel can also be changed with the help of reharmonization and ornamentation.
Brian sitting at a piano and trying out different feels for a riff, chord progression, melody, or what have you, made for getting extra mileage out of his song ideas. You could nearly double your output if you applied different feels to very similar sounding sections. For instance, a shuffle feel for a chord progression like, I vi IV VII V, gives you Car Crazy Cutie. Using a a very similar chord progression,  I VI ii VII V,  with a straight 8th note feel, produces I Get Around's chorus. Early on, Brian had devised a clever system of structuring songs with similar features in novel ways in order to give them their own distinct identity. Very clever.

Brian may have known the term early on, but I suspect he started using it regularly after working with veteran session musicians who could could call a progression and feel and be off an running - so you could say something like "blues progression meets The Stripper." All that the guys in the room would need to know was key and tempo, and they'd be good to go.

A clever change in feel happens on bar 9 of the instrumental section of HERE TODAY. For six bars it's a March - the snare drum hitting the upbeat of every count, then it goes back the the regular pre chorus, where  the snare lays out, and into the chugging quarter note feel chorus fade.  
 
« Last Edit: July 12, 2020, 01:28:57 PM by SBonilla » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2020, 02:07:55 PM »

The problem can be the translation of "feel" in music because it has multiple meanings and those can change depending on which part of the music you're talking about. A full chapter could be written about that term as a noun, an adjective, a verb, etc solely based on how musicians use it. Add "feel" to words like groove, pocket, touch, tone...

Adding some more examples specific to these points above:

God Only Knows, the bridge: On early takes, the musicians play through the bridge/instrumental break with the same swing feel as the verses. Classic triplet-based swing/shuffle feel. As we can all hear on the outtakes then the final version, someone between takes suggested they try it with a straight 8th note feel. So the entire section of music changed for those 4 bars into a straight, staccato 8th feel, and it made it stand out within the song. That's a rhythmic feel specific to how a passage is played by the group of musicians.

On a Heroes section session outtake, Brian is in the booth telling a large group of musicians how he wants them to go for a "perfect feel" on the upcoming take. That's similar, but more of a case where when you're playing in a group, everyone is locked in and ebbing and flowing together, not as much about specific rhythms or staccato versus legato or swing versus straight 8ths, but rather that groove you create as a group that feels right. How do you define that? You know it when you hear it. And the issues about Brian going for perfection in the studio, you can hear it wherever we can hear take after take of a song play out on tape, and one take may sound perfectly good but he goes for another because it doesn't have the overall feel he is waiting for from the musicians. It's hard if not impossible to define, but you know it as a musician or producer when it happens.

How about melodic feel? Take a tune like Mary Had a Little Lamb, play it on any instrument. E D C D EEE, DDD, E GG. Play it over the regular chords, C major and G major. Then try it with A minor and D minor in place of the C and G. You're reharmonizing it to a minor key, playing the same notes and the same rhythms and "feel", however the chords will radically change how that melody feels to someone listening. Again the notes, rhythm, tempo, groove, feel, etc are the same, but those reharmonized chords give it a different "feel", one that is sad or melancholy versus the usual nursery rhyme. That is what Brian did transforming "You Are My Sunshine" by playing it as a minor key or even a Dorian modal chord progression over the same melody. It feels totally different.

Understanding that every musician may take a different definition of the word, those are just a few examples. And when you're writing a song, you may start with a rhythm, playing two chords a certain way, or messing around with a few notes as a melody that even in that early stage suggest a certain "feel", whatever that may be at the moment. It's how most songwriters work with ideas, but I think the word "feel" and the many definitions are what makes it harder to define when someone describes it. And also some players are known more as "feel" players over a more technical approach. Guitarists and drummers and bassists...there is an X-Factor when you hear some of these musicians play a note or two and you know who's playing it, like Neil Young or BB King. They're feel players more than the guys who run scales up and down the neck and shred. Or compare Ringo versus any highly technical drummer from the prog-rock or metal genres. One has pure feel and groove, the other is more technical and precise.

So there's yet another use of the word feel in music. I think Brian's use of it in terms of songwriting was basically what he said it was - You sit down and start playing and these ideas start coming out as "feels" that could encompass multiple aspects of music all at once.
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