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665700 Posts in 26693 Topics by 3823 Members - Latest Member: BeachBoysTalkonTwitch January 18, 2021, 03:42:38 PM
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Author Topic: Which Beach Boys albums/songs do you consider to be psychedelic, if any?  (Read 1543 times)
thr33
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« on: December 26, 2020, 11:22:30 AM »

I guess the term psychedelic isn't necessarily rigidly defined but was wondering which albums/songs would qualify here.

So which, if any, come to mind?
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RubberSoul13
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2020, 12:27:57 PM »

Of course the music surrounding smile has its moments...as does "Friends" and "2020"...I guess I'd say that's about it? None of them are psychedelic albums by any means, though.
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DonnyL
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2020, 03:48:09 PM »

Probably just Smiley Smile, 20/20, and Surf’s Up as albums.
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juggler
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2020, 03:58:33 PM »

I guess I'd define "psychedelic music" as music that *sounds* like it was created by or for people under the influence of psychedelic drugs (e.g., LSD, mushrooms, peyote).  On that basis, the only album that I might classify as psychedelic is Smiley Smile.  With a few exceptions like GV, Gettin Hungry and H&V, most of Smiley sounds like it was or could have been part of a kind of acid trip soundtrack.

Brian has said that he wrote certain songs like "California Girls" while under the influence of LSD, and while I have no reason to doubt him, it also sounds like something he could have written while *not* under the influence of the LSD, so I really wouldn't classify it as psychedelic.   Ditto Pet Sounds.  Ditto perhaps 2/3 of Smile.  I mean, there's studio chatter suggesting that the Boys are on LSD while cutting "Our Prayer," but it also sounds like something they could have done while not under the influence.  On that basis, I don't consider the Smile versions of Surf's Up, Wonderful, Wind Chimes, Vega-Tables, TOMP/Sunshine, Barnyard, Great Shape, etc. to be psychedelic per se.

I guess I would classify Fire/Mrs O Leary's Cow as psychedelic.  I think if you asked some listeners whether that one sounds like it was part of an acid trip, they might say yes. The Iron Horse and Grand Coolie sections of Cabinessence are also fairly psychedelic, iMO. Ditto a few other Smile bits like He Gives Speeches and You're Welcome.  
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Tom
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2020, 12:05:39 AM »

Moments of the Smiley Smile and Wild Honey albums, Sail Plane Song. Nothing close to actual psych rock though (a good thing imo - imagine them trying to do 13th Floor Elevators style stuff??)
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NateRuvin
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2020, 12:10:29 PM »

I've always thought side 2 of Today! has a lot of elements of psychedelia, almost a stoned doo wop feel. All the tempos are slow, the instruments all blend together, very introspective lyrics.

The spoken word break during Amusement Parks USA is psychedelic as hell.

In my opinion, every album in between Today! and Love You features psychedelic moments. Whether it's the prominent genre like with Pet Sounds, or one of many genres (Sunflower, Surf's Up, etc)
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juggler
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2020, 01:29:24 AM »

That's a good point about Amusement Parks USA.  Pet Sounds' influence on Sgt Pepper is, of course, widely discussed.  But I've often thought that AP USA is under appreciated in that respect.  Brian hit upon the sort of bizarre carnival theme 2 years before the Beatles.
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phirnis
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2020, 01:34:44 AM »

That's a good point about Amusement Parks USA.  Pet Sounds' influence on Sgt Pepper is, of course, widely discussed.  But I've often thought that AP USA is under appreciated in that respect.  Brian hit upon the sort of bizarre carnival theme 2 years before the Beatles.

I totally agree with this! Sadly, nobody seems to take that song seriously because it's considered filler (wrongly so!).

Personally I think that parts of Wild Honey are kind of underrated in terms of being "semi-psychedelic". Lookin' at Tomorrow is a later sort-of-psychedelic production, it always reminds me of The Notorious Byrd Brothers.
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Very Extremely Dan
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2020, 09:52:31 PM »

I've often thought that there are two different types of psychedelic music that were popularized in the 60's.  While both visual, in one the lyrics, arrangements, textures all combine to create a recognizable "sound painting" for the listener to enter, a'la Penny Lane or Amusement Parks USA.  The instruments and textures sound like or are directly from the world the lyrics are describing.....Cabin Essence is a classic example of this...and in the other style of psych (which came to dominate) the instruments and textures themselves create their own unique visual sound world, think Hendrix's guitar panning from speaker to speaker.  So I find quite a bit of the Boys catalog to fall in the former "sound painting" style...and occasionally a song like "All This is That" or "All I Wanna Do" are more the latter "unique sound world".....though it could be argued that the repeating layers of "mantra" of "All This is That" support it's lyric theme......and the fuzz bass and echoed vocals on "All I Wanna Do" do feel like a warm bath....
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2020, 09:08:24 AM »

If the term psychedelic as applied to music were easier to define, this wouldn't be as much of a challenge or debate. But when you have listeners and journalists calling "Forever Changes" psychedelic alongside "Incense and Peppermints" and 13th Floor Elevators, the term becomes a convenient catch-all rather than an accurate description.

For me, to my ears, "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" was probably the most forward-thinking and psychedelic composition and production Brian had done, and it was ahead of the curve rather than following a trend. Literally nothing sounded or read quite like it before, and it set the bar so high especially for a non-single album track that it's hard to beat, though he did eventually. The producers of Mad Men nailed it when they used this song in one of the series' most memorable scenes. It's like "Tomorrow Never Knows", it is so far-out and modern and yes, psychedelic, that there becomes a clear before and after when you hear that. You can't hear something like that and expect the same band to revert to "Love Me Do", just like you can't be totally absorbed into "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" and expect to hear something more lyrically and sonically akin to 1963 from the same group. However, that's exactly what ended up happening.

Adding to the list of psychedelia: The entire Smiley Smile album. Most of "Smile" released and unreleased. "Good Vibrations" obviously. "Time To Get Alone". "Cool Cool Water". "Let's Go Away For Awhile". The intro to "California Girls".
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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2020, 09:13:19 AM »

I'm a fan of the description Brian coined, 'psychedelicate'.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2020, 06:13:55 PM »

I'm not sure anymore what psycadelic means. Years ago, I always heard the term used to describe Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, so I associated it with music created in the studio, using the studio as an instrument. Music that could not be replicated live on stage by a 4 piece band.
These days, though, I hear the term psycadelic often applied to raw, underproduced 60's rock - not exactly garage rock, but certainly not stuff recorded in a top end studio.

I can't think of any BB's music that fits the latter category.

Smiley Smile, except for two tracks, is very sparsely produced, so it's not trying to be Pet Sounds or Smile or Pepper.

Good Vibrations is psycadelic. Maybe Heroes and Villains.

Beyond that, I'm not sure.
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Aum Bop Diddit
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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2020, 08:41:21 PM »

Brian wasn't psychedelic -- he was psychedelicate!
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2021, 10:30:46 PM »

Agree with GF that IJWMFTT is "psychedelic"--primarily, to my mind, as a kind of first strike into more elaborate, elliptical melodies which are often found in the more ambitious psychedelic music that followed. (And, of course, the theremin.)

I would venture that there is more blues than R&B animating psychedelic music, particularly the SF bands, which puts GV in a unique context--psychedelic more in compositional technique than in overall texture, but achieving analogous effects due to the collision of different sounds that create an indelible, kaleidoscopic effect on the listener.

"Cabinessence" has some of that, particularly in the pictorial details embedded in the musical arrangement--in "Iron Horse" and "Grand Coulee" sections for sure, and Carl's slightly dissonant vocal coda in "Home on the Range."

Early versions of H&V have a version of that, but it's not really there in the SS version.

The more overtly sectionalized songs on SS have their own version, but this is more significant for what we might call the transition to songwriting employing "tags"--final sections that are not choruses. This is, again, something that the music has in common structurally with the more ambitious psychedelic bands.

I don't really think anything else on Pet Sounds is psychedelic aside from IJWMFTT. The title instrumental track is jazzy and is more of a sendup of earlier 60s "tiki" colliding with big band arrangements that the Wrecking Crew would do with pop-jazz singers. Let's Go Away is the romantic side of that type of composition/arrangement. It's like Brian was working through an entire series of expanded arrangements one by one with each track on PS, and IJWMFTT is the one that proved to be the harbinger of what would follow.

The vocal coda in Dennis' "Celebrate The News" is a trippy little rave-up--and is that Charles Lloyd's debut with the BBs with those brief flute filagrees?

"All I Wanna Do" is post-psychedelic pop, sort of a brilliant reimagining of "trippy" sounds that elevate what would otherwise be a downright sappy little love song.

And, hell, what about "Feel Flows" itself? Pretty trippy flute in that track, far more prominent than in "Celebrate the News"--was Carl a fan of Jethro Tull's "Bourée"?

The instrumental break in "Steamboat" is harkening back to something in that "psychedelic" realm, a hazy, slowed-down echo of a psychedelic guitar solo.

That's it--I'm all tripped out...  3D
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NickandthePassions
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2021, 07:38:27 AM »

I’ve heard that Friends is great on psychedelics.
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Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2021, 04:52:29 PM »

Sail Plane Song, All I Wanna Do.
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My Smile Solution
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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2021, 06:18:56 AM »

Pet Sounds - not psychedelic but I Just Wasn't Made For These Times is
Smile - Mostly psychedelic : Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains, Do You Like Worms, Cabin Essence, Vega-Tables, etc
Smiley Smile: Somewhat psychedelic - Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains (again), Little Pad, Fall Breaks, Vegetables, etc
Wild Honey: Not psychedelic...
Friends: A little psychedelic: Friends, Diamond Head, Transcendental Meditation.
20/20: A little psychedelic : Time to get Alone, Never Learn Not to Love, Cabinessence
Sunflower :  A little psychedelic : All I Wanna Do, Cool Cool Water.
Surfs Up : A Little psychedelic : Maybe Surfs up and Take a Load off your feet and Feel Flows
Holland: Steamboat! , parts of Mt Vernon EP

That's about it, outtakes like My Solution (Original 1970), Sail Plane Song, Can't Wait too Long, Over The waves and Rio Grande ( Brian Wilson Solo) I would regard also as psychedelic.
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