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Poll
Question: Poll :: Rate Brian Wilson
5 - 35 (25.7%)
4 - 66 (48.5%)
3 - 30 (22.1%)
2 - 3 (2.2%)
1 - 1 (0.7%)
0 - 1 (0.7%)
Total Voters: 123

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Author Topic: Brian Wilson  (Read 67142 times)
Dr. Tim
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« Reply #50 on: February 19, 2006, 12:49:36 PM »

I say 4.  That's for the HDCD reissue with the bonus stuff.  No corrections or remixing that I know of.  The original 1988 CD (which I still have) sounded OK but very thin, lots of digititis.  I know other posters above consider the old CD better but to my ears the shrillness was largely cured on the reissue (as much as it can be as it's so synth-heavy).  I should try to find BW88 on vinyl (probably easily enough in the 99 cent bins) and see how that compares, though of course that lineup ends with the original Rio Grande.
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« Reply #51 on: March 14, 2006, 11:47:21 AM »

I will give this a 3.  Some fine songs, some not so fine songs and some really bad production!!  Love And Mercy, of course, is a terrific song and I think Melt Away is great as well.  Rio Grande is pretty cool although I think it could have been much better.  One For The Boys is a nice vocal workout.  I know that I am in the minority on this opinion, but I absolutely love Let It Shine.  Of course, I am also a huge Jeff Lynne fan so maybe that has something to do with it.  So sue me!!  Overall, a fine effort.
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« Reply #52 on: February 01, 2007, 11:37:35 PM »

I gave it a 5. My favorite Brian solo. Not knocking the others, but this one connected with me in a deeper way. A lot has been said about the collaborators/interferance on this album, but I hear a lot of pure Brian coming through. Brian had all these people around him, but not the ones he needed, and his loneliness comes through in songs like "There's So Many" (even if I can't be with her, I still have my fantasy, fantasy world). I related to that so much, in my adolescent loneliness. I listened to these songs and felt like Brian was the only person who understood my loneliness. "Melt Away" is my favorite, "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" took a while to...uh... grow on me, but I love it now, especially the transition from the "baby let your hair grow long" part to the "i've been waiting to see that change in you" part. I like "Love and Mercy" but don't understand why it is rated above all the others on this album. Got to see Brian do it and "Let it Shine" live in 1990, and those were the highlights of the show for me. "Meet Me in My Dreams Tonight" should have been a single, it's got potential hit written all over it. "Rio Grande" is a masterpiece. I love all the sections, I don't care if it's trying to copy "Smile", everybody else who tries to copy that style is praised, Brian has more right to do it than anyone. I don't even mind the synths throughout the album. Everything was synthy in the 80's (i.e, The Beach Boys 1985), but this album uses them more artfully than most. Brian's voice isn't the sweet voice of Pet Sounds, but it's miles better than the croaky/scratchy 15 Big Ones era. A more mature voice than on the 60's hits.
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« Reply #53 on: April 26, 2007, 06:49:28 AM »

I gave it a 5. My favorite Brian solo. Not knocking the others, but this one connected with me in a deeper way. A lot has been said about the collaborators/interferance on this album, but I hear a lot of pure Brian coming through. Brian had all these people around him, but not the ones he needed, and his loneliness comes through in songs like "There's So Many" (even if I can't be with her, I still have my fantasy, fantasy world). I related to that so much, in my adolescent loneliness. I listened to these songs and felt like Brian was the only person who understood my loneliness. "Melt Away" is my favorite, "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" took a while to...uh... grow on me, but I love it now, especially the transition from the "baby let your hair grow long" part to the "i've been waiting to see that change in you" part. I like "Love and Mercy" but don't understand why it is rated above all the others on this album. Got to see Brian do it and "Let it Shine" live in 1990, and those were the highlights of the show for me. "Meet Me in My Dreams Tonight" should have been a single, it's got potential hit written all over it. "Rio Grande" is a masterpiece. I love all the sections, I don't care if it's trying to copy "Smile", everybody else who tries to copy that style is praised, Brian has more right to do it than anyone. I don't even mind the synths throughout the album. Everything was synthy in the 80's (i.e, The Beach Boys 1985), but this album uses them more artfully than most. Brian's voice isn't the sweet voice of Pet Sounds, but it's miles better than the croaky/scratchy 15 Big Ones era. A more mature voice than on the 60's hits.

I agree with pretty much everything you say. Except Id say that Love And Mercy is one of my favourites of this album, though I love them all. I totally agree that I dont really mind the synths on this album, it just works for me. Anyway a great album and certainly my favourite Brian Wilson solo album (Yes, even over SMiLE) I just love this album. A definite 5 from me.
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« Reply #54 on: January 05, 2008, 09:56:47 AM »

I'm with Eddie Cochran here: Three Stars.
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« Reply #55 on: January 23, 2008, 10:20:21 PM »

Haven't heard the album yet.......but I downloaded ONE FOR THE BOYS and it rules.............. Rock!

Love the emotion it conveys..........in fact, I hear it as a Prayer.
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« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2008, 08:06:46 AM »

Not all eighties productions were bad, but this is one of the one that is. I don't mind synthesizers, I do mind sterility. THe sound is sterile. Some of the material though is so damned good that it definitely overcomes that sterility. A couple of the songs annoy me the heck out of me, the vocals could be...younger..., but the high points are so high that I give it a solid 3. I'd like to give it a four, but it just doesn't make it quite so high. Three is still listenable, though.
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« Reply #57 on: April 12, 2008, 07:26:55 PM »

Got this album today, listened to it once....this record has incredible tunes that are crumpled under the weight of the 900 producers and their use of bad 80's synthesizer exploitation. Why not get a synthesizer to sing the lead vocals too? Even the drums sound fake.

After one listen, I prefer Brian's Love You/ Adult Child, BWPS, and IJWMFFT voices to his voice on this record.

Before I rate this strange beast I'm going to have to listen to it again a number of times...

Oh, it wasn't the first time a rock band or musician used crickets and frogs in a song- New Order did it on The Perfect Kiss, 1985. It was probably even done before that but I wouldn't know.

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the captain
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« Reply #58 on: April 12, 2008, 07:32:58 PM »

Even the drums sound fake.

That's because there is no lack of synth-drum sound. Fucking gag.
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« Reply #59 on: April 12, 2008, 07:52:22 PM »

Even the drums sound fake.

That's because there is no lack of synth-drum sound. fodaing gag.

I stand corrected...I just assumed they used real drums and then processed the hell out of them.
 
I wish Carl contributed vocally to some of these tunes...and I also wish Brian did an MTV unplugged episode playing all the songs from this album. He would've killed it...(meant as a compliment)
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« Reply #60 on: April 13, 2008, 07:24:07 AM »

There are real drums on it, but there are also synth drums played by some guy named Roland or Yamaha. It's those shitty sounds that have often made me say that it would be nice if they took the better songs and tried to knock them out in the studio with the new band. Hell, I wouldn't even care if Brian did anything (knowing that such motivation obviously isn't a daily thing for him) other than sing a few parts. Let the others arrange them for real instruments, play them and sing backups and appropriate leads. Bring in Brian to work on the things he'd need to do. I think there's a very good album in there, but when you try to get close, it's so damn slippery to fly right off, careening into space.

People use the excuse that it sounds no worse than other synth-heavy albums of the time. And they're right, but that doesn't make it better. Comparing it to 85 is no fucking compliment. The production is trash, and it's an embarrassment that shows a master of the craft clearly working as part of a team that's chasing trends. Bo-ring. Thank goodness we got Love & Mercy redone in different versions, and Melt Away.


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« Reply #61 on: April 22, 2008, 09:28:08 AM »

I decided to give this album a 4. By "this album" I mean the re-issue with the bonus trax.

Love and Mercy- brilliant even though it is over cooked

Walkin' the Line- cool but prefer the demo version

Melt Away- brilliant (I'm curious as to what the high voice was that was removed)

Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long- outstanding

Little Children- great, but I prefer the demo

One For the Boys- great

There's So Many- prefer the demo

Night Time- annoying with catchy chorus

Let It Shine- OK tune, amazing vox by Brian

Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight- annoying

Rio Grande- Too long but with cool moments

I LOVE He Could'nt Get His Poor Old Body To Move, Too Much Sugar, Night Bloomin' Jasmine, and to a lesser extent Being With The One You Love . I also dig Brian's muses on the bonus trax.

Since I like the bonus trax so much I decided to give this record a 4 instead of a 3. To give this a five is a little over the top. However, IMO this is his best solo album except for BWPS. I haven't heard GIOMH yet, but since it has artists on it I more or less can't stand I'm in no rush to buy this especially since there are other BB's product I still need to get.

Amazing how so much of Brian's solo demo's and unreleased stuff sounds superior to the released versions.

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« Reply #62 on: April 22, 2008, 06:09:54 PM »

Melt Away- brilliant (I'm curious as to what the high voice was that was removed)

It was a tiny but very nice part on the fade that just went "AH-Ah". The song is slightly weaker without it, in my opinion.
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« Reply #63 on: April 22, 2008, 06:17:09 PM »

Oh, it wasn't the first time a rock band or musician used crickets and frogs in a song- New Order did it on The Perfect Kiss, 1985. It was probably even done before that but I wouldn't know.

You Never Give Me Your Money from Abbey Road has crickets and the like at the end.
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« Reply #64 on: April 22, 2008, 07:36:37 PM »

I thought that was the sound of Yoko Ono meditating. My bad....
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« Reply #65 on: May 07, 2008, 03:05:39 PM »

"BW88" - simply is what it is. The follow up to "Love You" which often matches in quality and seriously iffy moments.

Re-recording it would work in theory - like everyone else, I find the drum machines horrible. However, I prefer the melodramatic "Melt Away" with Brian's voice a bit stretched, to the version on IJWMFTT where he sounds more relaxed. Perhaps I'm odd in this regard. I also like the crashing percussion on some of the tracks, the obvious throwback to Pet Sounds. When we say this has bad production, it's often an understatement. But in patches the production has brushes of greatness. Sometimes the great and terrible co-exist in the same song. "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long." It's all dissonant... making the album a hard listen to from start to finish.

Whatever the sins of Landy it's fair to say by this stage Brian needed some serious pushing and some of the songs - "Night Time" sound forced. I would argue Brian finds it hard to do filler - he either has a song or not. Maybe I'm wrong. Hard to see how changing the instrumentation could save some of these. The lyrics are often odd, whoever wrote them. The "Walkin' The Line" vocals could be replaced with a theremin with no loss to world of verse.

But in an ideal world, more of these songs would still be there in his live shows, rather than just the one, great version of "Love and Mercy."

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« Reply #66 on: September 03, 2008, 10:29:03 AM »

Just received the reissued version and am listening. It sounds as it has been corrected(at least my ears hear no different; certainly the "high vocal" on Melt Away is still there) and, to be honest, I think the sound squashes the original like a grape. I can dig that it would sound better on vinyl, but the clarity works better for me than the original. I almost feel like Im spouting heresy on this board. I like it even better than I did before.

(I must say that my copy of the original, however, was a copy that may have had slightly muddier sound.)

As eighties stuff goes, it's IMO a good deal less sterile sounding than a lot of stuff of the era--perhaps the arrangements are just so good that...Drum machines are not bothering me, I like the boom and crash of it all. I'm giving it a four out of five...I may have already given it that, if I have...I'm retaining that score...if I haven't, I'm changing it. The only problems for me are that, while I like every song, some of the songs I like less than others...
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« Reply #67 on: November 19, 2008, 10:43:54 AM »

3. Why? Jeff Lynne.
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« Reply #68 on: February 26, 2009, 04:45:20 PM »

After going on a TLOS spree over the past few months, I had an urge to listen to BW88 and I have to say this music has really grown on me... There is more of an edge to this record relative to TLOS, which can sound too prozac-y to these ears. With the right combo of mindless rock, ballads, and Rio Grande this album truly entertains. The synths don't really bother me at the moment.
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« Reply #69 on: July 31, 2009, 02:32:39 PM »

I listened to this today during a jog for the first time in a long time...I still like it quite a bit in fact it surpassed my memory of it. Along with TLOS it is miles ahead of everyhting else Brian has RELEASED (If the Paley sessions were released or will be counted it would be Paley Sessions first).

The main reason I like it so much is the material. Brian's songs haven't been this consistant in a while, Adult/Child had about six great new songs but not a whole album worth (it made up for it with the covers and leftovers), but here everything is presented in mostly good form. For my money both "Melt Away", and admittedly to a lesser extent "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" capture an unpdated version of Pet Sounds pretty well...not quite up to the level of the best PS tracks mind you...have that endearing quality that Brian's best ballads do. "Melt Away" is a gorgeous melody mainly, and, while it's not stated very often I think "Baby" is a darn good lyric which Brian wrote without any help from Landy. "Night Time" is the stinker for me, as well I don't think "Little Children" is up to par with the album, weak, weak, weak. I think that "Melt Away" and "Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight" are the best cuts on the album.

"Let It Shine" is an interesting situation...under Jeff Lynne's tutelidge Brian sings his best vocal with very little effects on his voice. His vocals are good on some of his own cuts "Melt Away" is gentle, "Meet Me" is fast and happy and "One for the Boys," while a tad rougher than say "Our Prayer," is very nice...but a bit too much reverb for me on the whole with these cuts. "Night Time" is a weak vocal as well as "Little Children," is too shouty. "Walkin' the Line" is right in the middle in terms of good and bad.

As for the production....deep breath...I do like some of it. "Melt Away" is a strong, organic production with lots of good percussion as is "Rio Grande"...perhaps the fact that I heard the latter's sessions decunstructed makes it real cool. I DON'T like the mixing on the album at all...too thin! As for the synths....they don't quite bother me too much, but here and there they do. The reason I don't really mind them so much is that they're basically an update of Love You's synthesizers in an 80s sheen...the latter part I don't like but the fact is the voicings, chord patterns and bass runs are basically an update of Love You's cool synths. So again, I'm partial.

So this gets a 4 from me...not quite a contender for one of Brian's best but a real cool album in a very dark period of Brian's life in my opinion.

Some good quotes aboout this album:
Super fine album, flawed only by the synth-etic production. Great songs. Great melodies. Nice vocals. Nice arrangements. TOO MUCH SYNTHESIZER. Such a great album it pains me to say I can overlook the synthesizers for everything else.
Love And Mercy's passion exceeds craft. Same way Working Class Hero is a better song than say, Mind Games.
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« Reply #70 on: May 14, 2010, 12:45:10 PM »

I might be in a minority opinion but I think "Let It Shine" is the best song on this album, at least in terms of production. I'm a big fan of Jeff Lynne and Brian sounds FANTASTIC on this track. Really strong and commanding lead that I haven't heard from him before or since. It's especially astonishing when considering that this was recorded in pre-Auto Tuned/Pro Tools days.

Other standout tracks for me include "Walkin' The Line", "There's So Many" and "Melt Away". The only track that has me reaching for the skip button would be "Night Time".

Ending the album with the euphoric "Rio Grande" was a wonderful touch although it sounds more contrived than organic in certain sections (at least in comparison with Smile and other "modular" songs that Brian has done). I love the "river is deep" section of it most.
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« Reply #71 on: July 30, 2010, 03:44:54 PM »

I love this album and give it a 4.5.  In retrospect, the production is dated, but I don't hate the 80s sound, and I think it's cool Brian was trying to keep up with the times.

Two points:  I agree that "Let It Shine" is a strong track.  I think it's a very good tune -- better than Jeff Lynne's usual.  And I think Lynne deserves credit for the cleanest, crispest production of any track on the album.  Plus, however he did it, he really did get an awesome vocal out of Brian.

I disagree with all the hating on "Night Time."  It's one of my favorites.  High energy, catchy.  Sure the lyrics of the chorus are idiotic, borderline annoying, but that's part of the charm for me.

Best BB-related album post-MIU.
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« Reply #72 on: July 30, 2010, 04:20:31 PM »

The best of BW's three non-conceptual solo albums. With the bonus tracks, the 2000 edition is one of his best solo albums, period.

About two-thirds of the material is excellent to great. The final third is -- okay to poor. The addition of tracks from the time makes the 2000 version even better (they should have added Black Widow, though).

Vocals are the tough part -- Brian has a somewhat harsh sound on this record, which makes it less than accessible. The synth production has become part of the historic record, now.
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« Reply #73 on: August 01, 2010, 03:56:58 PM »

I might be in a minority opinion but I think "Let It Shine" is the best song on this album, at least in terms of production. I'm a big fan of Jeff Lynne and Brian sounds FANTASTIC on this track. Really strong and commanding lead that I haven't heard from him before or since. It's especially astonishing when considering that this was recorded in pre-Auto Tuned/Pro Tools days.

Your opinion wasn't shared by the artist: Brian hated that song, didn't want it on the album. Might have had something to do with the fact that he only composed the vocal round at the intro and outro: everything else is pure Jeff Lynne.
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« Reply #74 on: August 01, 2010, 04:27:28 PM »

Love and Mercy - 5/5 - has one of my favorite vocal harmonies on any Brian Wilson album, but the reverb heavy drum and synth take away from the beauty of the song.
Walk the Line - 2/5 - doesn't strike me as a good song - no matter how deep I listen I never find much to like about it.
Melt Away - 5/5 - an amazing song - perfect in every way, even the production.
BLYHGL - 4/5 - has a great hook and I listen to it constantly....the lyrics really remind me of the songs on Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!).
Little Children - 4/5 - The production really adds to the childlike feeling of the song, but I prefer the '76 demo...
One For The Boys - 5/5 - probably not his best vocal arrangement, but very nostalgic of his early BB years.
There's So Many - 5/5 - LOVE everything about this song - even the production.
Night Time - 0/5 - worst Brian Wilson song I've heard....subject reminds me too much of MJ's 'Thriller' - just a terrible song all around.
Let It Shine - 5/5 - I like the lyrics and the melody of the song. Very commercial but great!
MMIMDT - 2/5 - Brian seems like he's yelling into the mic on this one, and the reverb heavy drums and synths just KILL the song.
Rio Grande - 4/5 - I like the idea, but the production somewhat ruins it for me...but it doesn't really keep me from listening to it. I LOVE "the river's deep and the river's so wide," part. Rio Grande is a great closeout to the album.
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