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Author Topic: Has anyone ever argued that Brian reached his artistic peak before Pet Sounds/Sm  (Read 3242 times)
cablegeddon
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« on: May 08, 2012, 04:23:17 AM »

Brian Wilsons output in the year 1965 was amazing. I look this list of songs and it's hard to think that noone ever made a serious argument that this was Brian Wilson artistic peak as a songwriter.

I'm not saying that these songs are better than what's on Pet sounds and Smile but I can't think of these songs as less(er) in any way.
   
              "California Girls" 
   "Let Him Run Wild"     
   "You're So Good to Me" 

   "Please Let Me Wonder" 
   "Kiss Me, Baby"     
   "She Knows Me Too Well" 

   "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"
   "Help Me, Ronda" 
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harrisonjon
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2012, 05:55:28 AM »

Dave Marsh prefers the pre-1966 work so would probably make this argument.

I have no problem with seeing 1964-67 as a unified peak. Pet Sounds is only better than Today because it has no filler (and the instrumentation is more exotic and luxurious, I guess). Purely as compositions (as opposed to arrangement and production) I think Today and Pet Sounds are equal.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 06:00:28 AM by harrisonjon » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2012, 06:21:29 AM »

I believe Brian had the capacity to pull off something like Pet Sounds since '64 if 'Guess I'm Dumb' and 'She Knows Me too Well' is anything to go by. What's even more amazing than that is that both of those tracks were composed and recorded before Brian had touched marijuana. For this reason, I think the effect marijuana and LSD had on enhancing Brian's compositional ability is often overstated. I wouldn't be surprised if Brian's drug-use produced good songwriting only because the drugs allowed him to escape from the pressures he and Capitol had placed on himself to make 'Beach Boys music'.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 06:32:22 AM by Quzi » Logged

"A/S/L"?
"Age:24. That's when Brian Wilson made Pet Sounds. Sex: Brian Wilson was having loads of sex with Marilyn when he made Pet Sounds. Location: Gold Star Studios, where Brian Wilson assembled with the Wrecking Crew to make Pet Sounds. Hbu?"
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 11:45:36 AM »

In addition to Marsh, there's also Greil Marcus and Nik Cohn in Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock. In fact, I'd say Cohn's is probably the quintessential statement of this idea:

http://books.google.com/books?id=O9xtRMht6sgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=nik+cohn+awopbopaloobop+alopbamboom&hl=en&sa=X&ei=I2mpT9nFM5CatwfrroijAg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Brian%20Wilson&f=false

page 99 on---page 103 where he makes the claim.
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Ron
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 12:04:59 PM »

Brian Wilsons output in the year 1965 was amazing. I look this list of songs and it's hard to think that noone ever made a serious argument that this was Brian Wilson artistic peak as a songwriter.

I'm not saying that these songs are better than what's on Pet sounds and Smile but I can't think of these songs as less(er) in any way.
   
              "California Girls" 
   "Let Him Run Wild"     
   "You're So Good to Me" 

   "Please Let Me Wonder" 
   "Kiss Me, Baby"     
   "She Knows Me Too Well" 

   "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"
   "Help Me, Ronda" 

I've been preachin' it for years but nobody's got the balls (outside of you) to agree Smiley  Pet Sounds and SMiLE were a progression, but he had already reached the peak of his abilities on previous songs.  Let Him Run Wild is as ambitious as anything he did on SMiLE.  It's also similarly realised; some parts of it are incredible, other parts hit the mark a bit, but it's all the sign of genius. 
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Chris Brown
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 05:07:30 PM »

Can't say I agree with you guys (although I can certainly go along with the "unified peak '65-'66/'67" idea) - as great as Brian was in '64/'65, I look at those as the years where he refined and mastered his craft, whereas on Pet Sounds and Smile, he set out to see just how far he could go with the skills that he had perfected.  The Pet Sounds and Smile era was a time of unparalleled confidence in his songwriting, arranging and producing, and the way I see it, the few years that came before were important stepping stones to his achieving that level of confidence. 

Brian's songwriting on songs like "God Only Knows," "Surf's Up," "Wonderful," etc. were so far beyond what he'd done even a year or two prior (which is really saying something when you look at his '64/'65 output, which was already fantastic by anyone's standards).

Ron's statement about "Let Him Run Wild" being as ambitious as anything on Smile is just plain untrue - maybe it was true at the time he did it, but Smile redefined the term "ambition" in pop/rock.  By that time, he had taken the things he'd learned from tunes like that to a whole other level.  There's a world of difference between the ambition of "Let Him Run Wild" and, say, "Heroes and Villains." 
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Moon Dawg
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 06:19:30 PM »

  Brian & The Beach Boys had a better year in 1964 than 1965:

 1) The Beach Boys' 1964 45 RPM releases were more "rock & roll" and arguably just as iconic as the 45's of '65.  ("Fun Fun Fun", "I Get Around", "Don't Worry Baby, "Dance Dance Dance", "When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)" versus "Do You Wanna Dance?", "Help Me Rhonda", "California Girls", "The Little Girl I Once Knew" and "Barbara Ann".)
 2) IMO, ALL SUMMER LONG hangs together as the quintessential  pre-PET SOUNDS Beach Boys album more so than TODAY or SUMMER DAYS (AND SUMMER NIGHTS).
 3) Brian was a full-time member of the touring group until the very end of the year.
 4) The Beach Boys were more prominent as studio musicians in 1964 than 1965.
 5) Record sales were slightly better in 1964.

 One could argue that 1964 was the peak year of The Beach Boys' entire career.
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2012, 07:09:28 PM »

Brian Wilsons output in the year 1965 was amazing. I look this list of songs and it's hard to think that noone ever made a serious argument that this was Brian Wilson artistic peak as a songwriter.

I'm not saying that these songs are better than what's on Pet sounds and Smile but I can't think of these songs as less(er) in any way.
   
              "California Girls" 
   "Let Him Run Wild"     
   "You're So Good to Me" 

   "Please Let Me Wonder" 
   "Kiss Me, Baby"     
   "She Knows Me Too Well" 

   "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"
   "Help Me, Ronda" 

I've been preachin' it for years but nobody's got the balls (outside of you) to agree Smiley  Pet Sounds and SMiLE were a progression, but he had already reached the peak of his abilities on previous songs.  Let Him Run Wild is as ambitious as anything he did on SMiLE. 

ambitious... and finished.


One more thing, someone mentioned that the influence of drugs on Brian's seemingly improving songwriting abilities have been overstated. Agreed. Nevertheless, I cannot think anyone completely clean can come up with a song like God Only Knows: almost unsingable without accompaniment, with an ineffable chord progression, a crazy yet beautiful melody, quirky yet majestic production, masterful vocal arrangement... and a hit (somewhat).
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 01:40:47 AM »

I see Brian from 1961-66 as getting better and better. By 1963 he was already one of the rock music's best producers, writers, singers, songerwriters etc. I think from 1967-71 he remained at the top of his field creatively if not comercially. He admitedly was not going for a mind blowing sonic soundscape all the time, but his talent was still unique as were the directions he took it in.

In short I think Brian's creative peak began early, lasted all through the sixties, and remained intact through the very early seventies.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 11:02:57 PM by Mike Eder » Logged
harrisonjon
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 05:42:23 AM »

I think we have to separate creative and productive, or clarify whether true creativity must involve consistent output.
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Mujan, 8@$+@Rc| of a Blue Wizard
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2012, 03:45:25 PM »

1964-65 was Brian perfecting the art of songwriting according to the rules already set down by others. 1966-67 was him boldly going where no band had gone before, breaking all the rules and still producing great music. I'd agree that 64-65 were the peak Beach Boys years, but 66-67 were definitely the peak Brian Wilson years. Pet Sounds is like a musical Citizen Kane: ignoring the trends of the time, redefining what it means to be a great album and setting down the gold standard by which all others are measured. SMiLE then, is like a musical 2001: A Space Odyssey in that it broke all those rules and still managed to be an excellent piece of work.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 03:46:34 PM by Mujan » Logged

Here are my SMiLE Mixes. All are 2 suite, but still vastly different in several ways. Be on the lookout for another, someday.

Aquarian SMiLE>HERE
Dumb Angel (Olorin Edition)>HERE
Dumb Angel [the Romestamo Cut]>HERE

& This is a new pet project Ive worked on, which combines Fritz Lang's classic film, Metropolis (1927) with The United States of America (1968) as a new soundtrack. More info is in the video description.
The American Metropolitan Circus>HERE
[
cablegeddon
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2012, 08:37:18 AM »

Thanks for all the replies


I sit and listen to Kiss me baby, She knows me too well, Let him run wild (instrumental) and I think to myself: holy crap something was lost when BB started recording Pet sounds and Smile.

I think it's that perfect balance of production, ambition and songwriting. Somewhere along the line the ambition took over and the production values and songwriting had to take step back  Sad Sad Sad Sad
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2012, 09:34:02 AM »

I constantly write that All Summer Long is my favorite Beach Boys album...its so good it makes Pet Sounds stink. Wink
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2012, 09:45:06 AM »


I sit and listen to Kiss me baby, She knows me too well, Let him run wild (instrumental) and I think to myself: holy crap something was lost when BB started recording Pet sounds and Smile.

And yet a great deal was gained.
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2012, 09:45:22 AM »

Brian Wilson peaked with Pet Sounds/SMiLE, but he's shown many flashes of brilliance after that.
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2012, 11:24:33 AM »

Whether old material or brand new, Brian's music was always the best stuff on their albums from the 69-79 time frame. The 85 album is his weakest input and yet Male Ego stood out amongst the rest. Goin' On was definitely the standout on KTSA, while his other tunes, not so much.
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2012, 02:53:14 PM »

I'm no writer, but I think Brian hit major artistic peaks both before and after PS/Smile in Today and Wild Honey -- and the aforemention All Summer Long. Which means I don't see his career as a path leading to a single peak, but more as to a series of high points.






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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2012, 03:18:44 PM »

I'm no writer, but I think Brian hit major artistic peaks both before and after PS/Smile in Today and Wild Honey -- and the aforemention All Summer Long. Which means I don't see his career as a path leading to a single peak, but more as to a series of high points.








Well said, MDH.
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2012, 04:35:46 PM »

Brian hit his peak from 73-75! Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2012, 08:25:20 PM »

debatable, but the harmonies brian wrote post 65'  were so much more advanced and complex than their predecessors. imo.
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« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2012, 08:34:45 PM »

It's funny considering I've been revisiting the earlier years before PS. All Summer Long is currently a song in the catalog I really can't get enough of now. All Summer Long captures so much to me. Everything about them actually. Girls + surf + car and a really solid backing behind it. It's even more obvious to me hearing it live.
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