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Author Topic: Pet Squares #10 (Beach Boys' Christmas Album) is up!  (Read 643 times)
adamghost
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« on: May 19, 2022, 07:25:42 AM »

You heard it here first: the latest episode of PET SQUARES: A GEEK'S GUIDE TO THE BEACH BOYS is up and we're doing are usually ridiculously wonky and detailed dive into The Beach Boys' Christmas Album, another highly overlooked entry into the band's discography. You can view it here:


https://youtu.be/dRZOTNZ1Etk

Also, I've been reluctant to talk about this but, I'm starting to have a battle of time between making the PET SQUARES, ADAM WALKS AROUND and music videos for the channel and doing the things I need to do to put food on the table. I want to keep these videos coming on a pretty regular basis and not have to cut back, so I'm doing another push for patrons for the channel over the next month.

For those that want to pitch in, check the first comment under the video for the Patreon and PayPal links.
Thanks all for watching.
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Rocker
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2022, 01:13:26 AM »

I'm a little busy right now, but I will definitely watch this! There is so much great content to be found. Especially the Beach Boys' incredible ability to sing even complex "grown-up" arrangements. These kind of thngs were'nt heard of from a Rock and Roll band. Especially Mike shines on this album imo. Not only on the mentioned "grown-up" tracks but also on the originals. He is almost channeling Ronnie Spector on a track like "Merry Christmas, Baby". And it shows that when it comes to singing lead he was way ahead of all the other guys which gets very clear if you compare with Brian's and Al's lead vocals. Mike puts in more character and swagger. At this point in time the other guys were just not able to do this in such a convincing way. They would be soon, but here Mike is the de facto lead singer. I always pont to this album when I talk about how good Mike's singing was.

I'm looking forward to watching the video. Hope I'll get around to do so soon.
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
adamghost
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2022, 01:45:18 AM »

I'm a little busy right now, but I will definitely watch this! There is so much great content to be found. Especially the Beach Boys' incredible ability to sing even complex "grown-up" arrangements. These kind of thngs were'nt heard of from a Rock and Roll band. Especially Mike shines on this album imo. Not only on the mentioned "grown-up" tracks but also on the originals. He is almost channeling Ronnie Spector on a track like "Merry Christmas, Baby". And it shows that when it comes to singing lead he was way ahead of all the other guys which gets very clear if you compare with Brian's and Al's lead vocals. Mike puts in more character and swagger. At this point in time the other guys were just not able to do this in such a convincing way. They would be soon, but here Mike is the de facto lead singer. I always pont to this album when I talk about how good Mike's singing was.

I'm looking forward to watching the video. Hope I'll get around to do so soon.

I'm a bit critical of parts of this album but I do zero in on Mike's singing as a highlight, just as you say here.
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BJL
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2022, 12:04:03 PM »

I'm a bit critical of parts of this album but I do zero in on Mike's singing as a highlight, just as you say here.

I totally get where you're coming from on Brian phoning it in on parts of this album, and agree completely. But there was something kind of funny when you're talking about Merry Christmas, Baby, and you're like, this song...they're really just phoning it in. Sure, it's got a nice verse melody. And Mike Love really sells the lead vocal. And yea, it's got a nice driving rhythm and a deceptively cool intro that looks forward to Smile.... but just phoning it in! It's a little like the "what have the Romans ever done for us" Monty Python sketch Smiley Just goes to show what a great band this was, even when they weren't 100% on the ball!
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adamghost
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2022, 08:17:08 AM »

I'm a bit critical of parts of this album but I do zero in on Mike's singing as a highlight, just as you say here.

I totally get where you're coming from on Brian phoning it in on parts of this album, and agree completely. But there was something kind of funny when you're talking about Merry Christmas, Baby, and you're like, this song...they're really just phoning it in. Sure, it's got a nice verse melody. And Mike Love really sells the lead vocal. And yea, it's got a nice driving rhythm and a deceptively cool intro that looks forward to Smile.... but just phoning it in! It's a little like the "what have the Romans ever done for us" Monty Python sketch Smiley Just goes to show what a great band this was, even when they weren't 100% on the ball!

Yeah, true. I mean it's not the worst song ever written. I was just kind of appalled at the chorus when I was reviewing the album. From a songwriting perspective, Brian couldn't possibly have been lazier and still filled the requisite 16 bars. Repeat the (not very original) 3-word chorus phrase three times over not very interesting generic chord progression and then...finish by modulating up a whole step to the 5 chord, the most generic of all songwriting moves. That's the kind of chorus you write when you just need to crank out a song as fast as possible and you don't care. Not that I blame Brian for that really. Just given the ingenuity he'd displayed up to this point, even on fairly minor tracks, I found it a bit shocking.

The rest of the song is...okay.
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BJL
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2022, 11:19:04 AM »


Yeah, true. I mean it's not the worst song ever written. I was just kind of appalled at the chorus when I was reviewing the album. From a songwriting perspective, Brian couldn't possibly have been lazier and still filled the requisite 16 bars. Repeat the (not very original) 3-word chorus phrase three times over not very interesting generic chord progression and then...finish by modulating up a whole step to the 5 chord, the most generic of all songwriting moves. That's the kind of chorus you write when you just need to crank out a song as fast as possible and you don't care. Not that I blame Brian for that really. Just given the ingenuity he'd displayed up to this point, even on fairly minor tracks, I found it a bit shocking.

The rest of the song is...okay.

Yea totally. And doesn't help the comparison that Merry Christmas Baby is like twice as long as, say, The Man with All the Toys .... and the Man with All the Toys has at least twice the ideas!
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2022, 01:42:32 PM »

What this all points up (to me at least...) is just how insane the schedule really was for bands like the Beach Boys once they'd "made it." Clearly Brian was driven to create--one reason why he worked as many angles as he could to get off the road--but he must have rolled his eyes at the prospect of a Christmas album on top of what else he was doing in '64. It's no wonder he took some short cuts and angled to get Dick Reynolds involved in a large chunk of the project...

Very solid work as always, and really looking forward to an episode about BEACH BOYS TODAY!. Hoping all of your circumstances will work out so that it won't be too terribly long in coming our way...
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Emdeeh
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2022, 02:02:23 PM »

Adam, I've gotta disagree with you about "Merry Christmas Baby" -- that's one of my favorite songs on the Christmas album. Yeah, it does sound a bit unfinished to me, but it's still far and away more pleasing to these ears than any cut with the orchestra. In my opinion, that was not a good pairing of artists between the BBs and the orch. Just my opinion, YMMV.
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adamghost
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2022, 05:04:24 AM »

What this all points up (to me at least...) is just how insane the schedule really was for bands like the Beach Boys once they'd "made it." Clearly Brian was driven to create--one reason why he worked as many angles as he could to get off the road--but he must have rolled his eyes at the prospect of a Christmas album on top of what else he was doing in '64. It's no wonder he took some short cuts and angled to get Dick Reynolds involved in a large chunk of the project...

Very solid work as always, and really looking forward to an episode about BEACH BOYS TODAY!. Hoping all of your circumstances will work out so that it won't be too terribly long in coming our way...

Yeah, and that's something I keep trying to cycle back to. I don't really *blame* Brian, as I said above, just having analyzed a lot of his stuff up to the point I really was kind of shocked. It reminded me of when I charted out the vocals to "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Do It Again" back to back. The former was clearly done by someone reaching for the stars...Mozart level stuff...and then DIA just two years later you can see the ambition crash. They're both great songs. It's more about the process and seeing it from that perspective.

I'm planning to do a couple of standalone episode around TODAY and one of them is going to talk about Brian's Breakdown in the context of all that was going on in '64. We do get a bit caught up in the drugs and the mental illness but those likely were exacerbated, if not downright brought on, by the insane level of pressure Brian was under. It's easy to lose track of the fact that even a very psychically robust individual would have probably cracked under his workload.

The viewership of the show has fallen off quite a bit so it's just becoming a problem of slotting it in against the time I need to find paying work in a new country.  I'm planning to do a Patreon drive but even that's fallen by the wayside as I get other things together. It will happen, question is when. Thanks for watching!
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