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Question: Rate Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle
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SMiLE-Holland
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« on: July 19, 2010, 03:15:15 AM »

Discuss, review and rate Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle, released in 1968.


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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2010, 03:22:36 AM »

a great album, but it's hard to explain why.
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2010, 11:13:07 AM »

Simply mind-bending. Explanations do seem to fall flat, but it's sad he hasn't really explored the symphonic route more in his solo work (Not that i don't mind - Discover America is possibly just as good)
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2010, 12:44:54 PM »

A great album thats ambitious, clever and resolutely uncommercial, Van Dyke does himself proud on this.

P.S.Please change the title of the thread to 'Song Cycle'!.
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 02:34:11 PM »

P.S.Please change the title of the thread to 'Song Cycle'!.
Or, failing that, maybe "Kong Cycle." Thanks.
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2010, 07:24:14 PM »

5/5

'Song Cycle' reminds me of SMiLE....between the heavy use of instrumentals, studio effects, and abstract lyrics. However 'Song Cycle' has a MUCH darker overall feel to it.

Though darker, it still has it's beautiful moments: the bridge in 'The All Golden', or the instrumentals halfway through 'Palm Desert' - extremely revolutionary in the music world for its time - and even for today. 'Donovan's Colours' is a flipping amazing instrumental. The string arrangement in 'The Attic' is extremely beautiful...I'd love to hear the instrumental tracks of some of these songs.

The lyrics are trademark Van Dyke Parks....extremely abstract, but fun to try to decipher.

All in all, not a desert island album, but a great listen when in a creative mood.

BTW, has anyone read the '33 1/3: Song Cycle' book? If so, is it worth buying?
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 07:46:39 AM »

I've been lovin The All Golden...the way it's timed...it seems like there's two different beats at the same time, IDK, I'm no music major. The intro achieves a sound that sounds somewhat warped or something to that effect, and I love it!

Of course Vine Street and Palm Desert are favorites. On Palm Desert, I really enjoy the section: "I went West unto Hollywood, Juxtaposed to BBD.....", one of the best moments from the album.
Window's Walk sounds kind of like a Smiley or Wild Honey outtake.

I like the short bits a lot too like Van Dyke Parks and Laurel Canyon Blvd.


Over all, a great, overlooked, underrated album...

What genre do you consider this?
I'd like to say part psychedelic, part baroque/pop, with a slice of experimental.

What do you Smiler's think?
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2011, 11:33:37 AM »

For me this album is a journey to a whole different world, another level. Bizarre and psychedelic. Using a great range of classical instruments in an atmosphere of strangeness creates an impression of perfect harmony and anxiety at the same time. One of my definite favorites.
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2011, 07:15:11 PM »

I asked a guy who owns a record store if he has any vinyl copies.


He just laughed.

5.
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2011, 01:42:25 PM »

Holy sh*t... VDP was born on January 3rd?!?! HE LOOKED JUST LIKE ME ON Song Cycle's COVER TOO!!!! OMG!
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2011, 01:57:20 PM »

Holy sh*t... VDP was born on January 3rd?!?! HE LOOKED JUST LIKE ME ON Song Cycle's COVER TOO!!!! OMG!

Child, Van dyke Parks is your father. Easy my child, it's just enough to believe.
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 02:02:19 PM »

It has some very clever moments but ulimately I feel like it doesn't really go anywhere.
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 04:41:25 PM »

Holy sh*t... VDP was born on January 3rd?!?! HE LOOKED JUST LIKE ME ON Song Cycle's COVER TOO!!!! OMG!

Child, Van dyke Parks is your father. Easy my child, it's just enough to believe.

That might explain how i'm such a good writer.
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2011, 01:59:03 AM »

It has some very clever moments but ulimately I feel like it doesn't really go anywhere.

I'd like to hear some more from people as to what it does for them, because i too have never clicked with this.

Jump! & Orange crate Art are just fantastic, they make their own worlds, incredible arrangements, Jump! is catchy but oh so clever, uplifting a mini musical from some parallel universe. And Orange Crate Art with its recreation of a past that never was & Brian's voice becomes an iconic voice through which this amazing alternate history comes through.

but Song Cycle hasn't taken me anywhere yet.
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 02:39:45 PM »

Listen to "The All Golden" in a quiet, classic americana room, it's incredible.
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2011, 06:29:25 PM »

Song Cycle reminds me of a certain time in my life; the sounds, the texture of the recording, the lyrics - It really reminds me of the gritty but upscale social class of the South (where I used to live). Song Cycle is like a very dark place that has jewels and beauty sprinkled throughout.

Perhaps I'll never get Van Dyke Parks true intentions with this album - but regardless I get a lot of satisfaction out of listening to it.
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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2012, 11:46:02 AM »

Great album - Van Dyke: genius.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2013, 02:47:48 PM »

I finally got a copy of this album. I love it. I don't really know how to explain the album. It's so avante garde, somewhat psychedelic, so cleverly put together, Smile-ish, very complex music. The All Golden really trips me out. Excellent and uncommercial. Classic cult album.
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2013, 04:37:34 PM »

Ive tried many times to get into this LP  to no avail.. Impossible for me its a jumbled mess to my ears..3/5 for I don't know I guess out of respect..
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« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2015, 10:09:36 PM »

It has some very clever moments but ulimately I feel like it doesn't really go anywhere.

I'd like to hear some more from people as to what it does for them, because i too have never clicked with this.

Jump! & Orange crate Art are just fantastic, they make their own worlds, incredible arrangements, Jump! is catchy but oh so clever, uplifting a mini musical from some parallel universe. And Orange Crate Art with its recreation of a past that never was & Brian's voice becomes an iconic voice through which this amazing alternate history comes through.

but Song Cycle hasn't taken me anywhere yet.

I have to count myself in with you fellas. I love Palm Desert, it's one of my all-time favorite songs. The rest of it is kinda boring to me. Not to downplay how creative, brave (in how uncommercial it is) and avant garde it is. It just doesn't click with me. It's not fun or particularly thought provoking to me when I listen to it.
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