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Author Topic: The Beach Boys are weird.  (Read 5763 times)
Reverend Joshua Sloane
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« on: February 05, 2006, 07:45:20 PM »

So i've been listening to them for enough time now. I've been taken into their world and have only glanced at the outside through the windows in that little Smiley Smile cabin. I've because of that, forgotten how genuinely weird their music is, in comparison to the other groups around them, of course. When I first started listening to them, I was hearing the strangest pop music i'd ever come across. It was pure bliss.

I've just heard the Olivia Tremor Control cover of Do You Like Worms, and it has brought back that spirit to the Beach Boys' music. The excitement of it all being very unusual and delightfully strange has flooded back.

Do you remember how amazing it was first hearing Smiley Smile? Friends? The Smile album's bootlegs?

The weird side of the Beach Boys, though a side which could describe all of their material, is so damn cool.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2006, 07:47:04 PM by HeroesandVillains » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2006, 07:52:31 PM »

Hearing Little Pad just made me go, "Yes! The Beach Boys are f-ed up! The Beach Boys, those clean-cut whitebread boys with their tucked-in shirts that sing about surfing and cars.. are drugged-out weirdos! I love it!"
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Reverend Joshua Sloane
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2006, 08:14:56 PM »

There's something that is so fresh about their psychedelia. There's no pretentions, none of the stuff that makes me cringe at a ton of 60's "Psychedelic music".

It's just excellent, beautiful music that is timeless.
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2006, 08:26:16 PM »

And they say drugs have never done good. Yeah. Right.

And that's where Smile Smile comes in... heck, even Al Jardine was hittin' it.

It's so hard to explain sometimes... it's like, the band didn't care for Brian Wilson's SMiLE songs; but Mike Love cared to actually do "She's Going Bald"?

Yep. White boys from Cali... realy fuggin' high on drugs.

Heck, Smiley Smile was probably the last album where the laughs came natural!
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2006, 08:26:46 PM »

Exactly, H&V.
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2006, 08:37:34 PM »

Yeah, they are pretty weird.  That's basically what made me a big fan.  I was a casual fan as a child because I liked their surfin' songs but never really went out of my way to hear any of their music... then when I was about 16, I went to a Mike & Bruce concert.  They played a great show full of great music... and then... as the lights got dark in the amphitheatre, they did "Good Vibrations" with a little light show... whenever they got to the parts with the theremin, the whole stage would go dark (it was night, outside), and all you'd see were strobe lights behind the band going crazy to the sound of the theremin.  I went "whooooaaaaaa" and my eyes were forever opened, lol.  I thought that was just the coolest thing I'd ever seen, but most of all, WEIRD. 
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2006, 04:34:12 AM »

I do remember, after getting a best of and Pet Sounds... I picked up "The Capitol Years" comp, which is a late 60's focussed comp... I was about 11 at the time.

Well, I can safely say that my hatred for the intro chorus' of "Gettin' Hungry" still hasn't dimmed much over the intervening years... I thought the verses were so 'soulful', or something... and it was ruined by a bombastic, ludicrous chorus...  Other than that, the other things on the comp like "Be With Me", "Never Learn Not To Love", "Time to Get Alone" and the like snuggled neatly alongside, and surprassed the Pet Sounds stuff for me...  Never thought anything but "Getting Hungry" was wierd, well... Love You of course, but that's another kettle of fish.

The first time I listened to "Love You", I was on a train, hurtling for home... and I stopped it about 30 seconds into "Let Us Go On This Way"... I was actually frightened by what I was hearing.

I thought it were damned wierd...  But no, the wierdest 60's band I've really heavily gotten into is The Kinks...  Their stuff is just, so oddball... Ray just threw convention out the window from Kinks Kontroversy on...  but it never seemed forced, just perfectly 'Davies'.
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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2006, 09:33:53 AM »

That  Olivia Tremor Control stuff H&V mentions can be heard at

www.elephant6.com

just click on the left side and scroll down
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2006, 11:08:08 AM »

There's something that is so fresh about their psychedelia. There's no pretentions, none of the stuff that makes me cringe at a ton of 60's "Psychedelic music".

It's just excellent, beautiful music that is timeless.

Right on.  There are no poems to orbs or sparrows like the Moody Blues.
Their psychedelia is FUN..  not pretentious.  "Little Pad" is an awesome
tune to listen to.  I love all those parts.  Same with "She's Going Bald."
Far-out, man!
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2006, 12:30:18 PM »

That  Olivia Tremor Control stuff H&V mentions can be heard at

www.elephant6.com

just click on the left side and scroll down

AWESOME!
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Surfer Joe
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2006, 12:57:50 PM »

Most musical weirdness has always struck me as pointlessly weird- or the point is "We're really weird!"  The Beach Boys- especially during SMiLE, but at other times as well- were designer-weird, with wonderful results like "Little Pad", or the yodel in "Wonderful"- one of my favorite things in the history of recorded music- or the "deep and wide" of "Time To Get Alone", or the Fire intro- designer-weirdness to great musical effect.

TV Forces, the "pretentious" observation is a good one.  Most bands try to be wierd rather than use weird.  Brian's ideas were incidentally weird, simply because no one else could ever have imagined the things that he pulled off.

I always secretly wished "Little Pad" would be someday be identified as a lost SMiLE section- part of "Wind Chimes" or "I'm In Great Shape" (or "Blue Hawaii"/"Dada"?) or something.  It would have sounded great in there.
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Reverend Joshua Sloane
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2006, 01:12:11 PM »

I've felt for a while that some of this "weirdness" was purposely removed for 2004's SMiLE. There's a definate lack of that humour that is present in both the 66' sessions and Smiley.
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2006, 01:14:22 PM »

As far as I can tell -- even Brian considers Smiley to be a little too weird. I love the BB's for their eccentricities (The Fairy Tale ep, anyone?) But such is the norm in Beach Boy world that there is so much to like/dislike. I will say that Fall Breaks is ridiculously genius. The rest, eh!

Now, Love You-- there's weird on a grand scale! And yet, oh so satisfying.
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2006, 02:00:01 PM »

Quote
I've felt for a while that some of this "weirdness" was purposely removed for 2004's SMiLE. There's a definate lack of that humour that is present in both the 66' sessions and Smiley.

Oh, I think BWPS is completely lacking in weirdness.  That was all glossed over in favour of making it a "serious" work, I think.  Not serious like not fun, but in the bizarre quest to make Brian into a classical composer or something.
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Reverend Joshua Sloane
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2006, 02:10:40 PM »



Oh, I think BWPS is completely lacking in weirdness.  That was all glossed over in favour of making it a "serious" work, I think.  Not serious like not fun, but in the bizarre quest to make Brian into a classical composer or something.

It's funny about that, since the whole essence of the album was to establish humor into musical forms. I can think of about three funny parts of BWPS, which is not to down-size the strengh of the songs as serious compositions (as many of them are). The written list from Brian seemed to include a lot more peices which were more true to the origional concept of the album regarding humor and general oddness.

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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2006, 02:21:40 PM »

On the one hand, I agree- the 2004 album was more clinical and far less warm than the original.  On the other hand, I can partly sympathize in that the odd task of recreating things that have already been recorded to perfection is going to restrict your spontaneity a little bit.  Of all the things in the original recordings, the hardest- and maybe least desirable- to reproduce would be the humor and the weirdness.  Yelling "you're under arrest" is about as far as you can go without sounding really canned.  What if Foskett had said "Swedish frog" and the Wondermints had giggled- take 7 marked 'best'?  Now, on the other hand, what if they had tried to produce modern replacement-humor- or weirdness- in that same spirit, but outside the context of the mid-sixties and drugs?  They'd have faced the same dilemma in 1972. 

SMiLE was a lightning bolt; BWPS was a very good computer-generated image of that lightning bolt.
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2006, 02:24:58 PM »

Good point.

Hard to capture the spontenaity of that humor and weirdness when you're intentionally looking for it to use on an album. In the long run I suppose it's better that we have the two sides to look at, both can be enjoyed fully anyway.
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2006, 02:49:03 PM »

I don't think SMiLE was intended to be 'weird'. It just evolved that way, which is what helped send it off the rails. The 'weird' element is also probably a big part of what kept Brian from revisiting it for so long.

It's insanely logical that the 'weird' is not a big part of BWPS, but rather the songcraft.
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2006, 02:57:36 PM »

I would rather have had Brian and Darian et al reimagine the whole thing, rather than do the xerox version.    I don't understand why they tried to do it exactly the way it was, as you say, recorded to perfection either.  Because you're not going to top that.  I would have been far less critical of the sounds on BWPS if they weren't so obviously trying to get it just so.

Just get the band in there, don't listen to the original tapes as much, and hack out some versions with some new life.
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2006, 03:10:52 PM »

There was no ideal solution after about June, 1967.  (Reasonable) reverence was the route I probably would have chosen, but with the problems discussed here being an obvious concession.  Another obvious approach would be to do something with the original tapes; dropping new verse vocals over "Worms" and so on, and that would have also raised a howl. 

Your approach is another quite reasonable one, with advantages, but would have run its own risks and raised it's own howl. Who's to say whether we'd have liked what we got?  I can tell you what this board would be like- "I only wish they'd kept this one thing..." ...."No, that didn't bother me, but why did they do this that way..."  But it would have allowed a new imprint on the old material, and it would have been far less stifling.

The one thing that would have been most unacceptable was to let it all keep languishing in the vaults.  And as we know, that raised a howl for 37 years.
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2006, 03:25:29 PM »

To some, it still is languishing in the vaults.
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Surfer Joe
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2006, 03:41:05 PM »

A fair point.  I know what you mean, but you know what I mean... Undecided
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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2006, 04:04:23 PM »

Why do we love the Beach Boys? It seems the longer I am immersed in their music (going on four decades now) I find new reasons to stay interested. I think the one thing that keeps me always returning to the well is not the “weird” Beach Boys, the stoned Beach Boys or even the Fun Fun Fun Beach Boys. The central factor has always been the “heart” of the group, especially Brian Wilson.

No matter if it is Kiss Me Baby or God Only Knows or even Vega-Tables, there has always existed a soul and feeling that is hard to describe yet is as tangible as any other emotion. Once, while talking to Bob Hanes, he asked me why I got started with the group. I said that I liked some of their music, but when I was 15, I heard Please Let Me Wonder on the Spirit Of America LP and I realized that Brian Wilson (with Mike’s help) verbalized the same feeling about love that I had. And that was that falling in love shouldn’t be an “oh golly gee” kind of feeling. Falling in love should completely and utterly devastate you, but in a good way. Please Let Me Wonder said that with it’s “forgive my shaking, can’t you tell my heart is breaking” line so well.

So before anyone only comes to the group because of the strangeness, drugged out weirdness, or even the All American Feeling of the music, take time to listen for the heart in the music. It’s what is missing is so very very much of today’s music.

Ok, I sound like a girl now……..

Bob
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Surfer Joe
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2006, 04:31:50 PM »

Very, very well said, petsite.  God Only Knows, there's plenty of weird stuff out there, and more being done every minute.  At one point, Brian could use weirdness like no one else (I keep coming back to that eerie "yo-da-le-hi-hoo" on "Wonderful"...)- but it's the melodies, the chord changes, the sounds, the immaculate voices, and the heart in it all that keeps bringing me back.
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2006, 04:56:54 PM »

I couldn't agree more! Well said Petsite. And Joe, and yes you aeijtczthe (I'll never spell your handle right!) We all have slightly different takes on it all, but in the end it's the heart that's in the music that makes it so damn addictive.

I do believe that BWPS will ultimately lead to a much better SMiLE archival box than we ever could have expected before. That'll get it out of the vaults finally.  Whatever BWPS's limitations (and for me it's only the 'you're under arrest' part, and the loss of the Vegetables outro) it's hard to believe that Darian and co would have wanted to be saddled with a reimagining, or interpretive approach to it. Everything else they do is very reverential, so it shouldn't be too surprising that this is the way they played on BWPS.

For me, it does have very weird moments, tho, in fact plenty of them.
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