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Author Topic: Brian's use of humour  (Read 5015 times)
Mitchell
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« on: January 16, 2006, 01:48:47 PM »

I mentioned this in the Today! thread and I like the subject, so I thought I'd bring it over here for its own discussion.

Brian's got a funny sense of humour, which can rear its head in many ways. One of these is the use of jarring juxtapositions.

Examples include:
'Cassius' Love vs. 'Sonny' Wilson going into The Warmth of the Sun

This one is funny because it has Brian and Mike mocking one another's voices before going right into a blast of Brian's sweet falsetto and Mike's deep bass ringing together in harmony.

Our Favourite Recording Sessions going into Don't Back Down

This one is funny because it's a bunch of sloppy mistakes/random comments/outtakes from the studio, cleverly going into the casual "I forgot my note, LAAAAAH, Okay, let's make one, Charlie," at which point Don't Back Down takes off perfectly.

Side 2 of Today! going into Bull Session with Big Daddy

Ian mentioned this in the Today! thread: "Playing a practical joke on the listener. Brian is not the ultra-simple fellow he turned into, post-LSD. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew exactly the effect that putting 5 ultra-serious ballads in a row would have on the listener and he knew exactly what putting the Bronx cheer following it meant. It's a joke, that's all. He even has Denny saying Dick Rising in it, fer Chrissakes!"

and perhaps the most jarring of all:

Wind Chimes going into Gettin' Hungry

A gorgeous Gregorian chant quietly fades out... if you turn it up you can hear it... it's so pretty... ORGAN SOLO!!!!!!!! The same joke is pulled during Wind Chimes itself with the HONK partway through the verses.

Discuss these and add any others that you can think of. I'd prefer to keep it to the officially released Beach Boys music, if possible.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2006, 01:50:56 PM by Mitchell » Logged

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I. Spaceman
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2006, 01:53:04 PM »

Cool, man.
At the end of OFRS, he even strikes the first note of Don't Back Down on the piano.
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2006, 02:39:03 PM »

Even as a kid, Our Favorite Recording Sessions has always sounded staged to me vs something that was extracted as outtakes or flubs. Can anyone elaborate on this?
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zelilgirlI1cenu
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2006, 02:45:55 PM »

I think Brian sense of humour derives from the fact he lets us see, or achem, pretends to let us see, what goes on in his head, and often laughs at himself.
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2006, 03:01:03 PM »

The end is definitely staged. But at least some of it is genuine. For instance, the "All the way from Hawthorne, California" exchange is from the session for the outtake "Let's Live Before We Die".
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2006, 03:26:39 AM »

The quiet/loud-changes in "Wind Chimes" always remind me on something our music-teacher told us:

A classical composer (forgot which one) was annoyed that most people visited his concerts because it was hip for rich people. To be seen, not to listen to the music. So he played a very soft, quiet, relaxed piece of music, for a long time, everyone felt asleep and then ... BANG!!! Loud horns and drums etc. Made everyone wake up.  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2006, 11:19:27 PM »

I love doing crap like that.  I made some weird "bad on purpose"  music (music is a relative term in this case) five years ago or so with my friends called Marty Tingles.  On one of the CDs, for about four tracks, the music would get quieter from track to track, making the person turn up their radio listening.  Then the most obnoxious sound would bring it back up to normal volume.  We also did stuff like that within a song.  Awesome!
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2006, 11:28:17 PM »

Quote
We also did stuff like that within a song.  Awesome!

I thought of doing this when I was younger, just to annoy people...in the end though I decided not to, for fear of causing a car accident someday.  Still a cool idea though!
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2006, 03:27:14 AM »

That´s what Peter Gabriel did with "Darkness". I still remember the first time I heard it.  Grin


By the way, "Our Prayer" followed by "Gee" is another example for Brian´s funny sequencing ideas.
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2006, 06:48:04 AM »

I think "Busy Doin' Nothin' " is pretty funny lyrically.  I've never heard anybody write so conversationally.  Plus the whole idea that he's telling everybody in the world how to get to his house is kind of funny too.

His biting Franki Valli's falsetto line from "Walk Like A Man" and putting it in Surfer's Rule is pretty funny.  It's as if he's saying "I can sing that!" It's like the first diss song or something.  I think Brian helped invent Rap.

I always laugh at the background vocals to "This Whole World".  Let me try and explain, but it's hard to get across the way I hear the song.  O.K.  I think the period that song was recorded in saw Brian at likely his creative peak musically and especially in a harmony/arrangement sense.  Instead of singing the song lead, Brian was often it seems more interested in how the blend and the harmonies sounded, which usually meant doing a lot of work on the background vocals.  So the song starts off with Brian (who had been making some sub-par and downright silly songs around the same time period) saying just the first line, to kick the song off.  "I'M THINKIN' BOUT a- THIS WHOLE WORLLDDDD!!!" then he immediatly passes the lead vocal to Carl, and starts singing backup with the rest of the group.  "A UM, DAP DIDD AH, A UM, DAP DIDD AH, A UM, DAP DIDD AH, A UM DAP DIDD UH!"

The background vocals are mostly nonsensical if you write them down or pay attention to what they're saying, but the whole vibe and mood of the song shows Brian and the rest of the band working really hard to back Carl up and fill the song out.  You can almost hear Brian thinking "Man, we can do this, this is so cool!" A UM DAP DIDD AH

Then, in the second verse, you hear somebody (Brian maybe) finally step out of the background and go "I'M Thinkin' bout this whole world!!!" again.  Then of course the song ends in that amazing acapella performance that swirls and raises and lowers and trips over itself.  Beautiful!  I always laugh when I hear that song because I cannot believe how friekin' GOOD they are vocally.  I like that Brian stays in the background so much on the song, too, but of course like I said him and the rest of the guys are the ones working to add so much to the song.  Hard to explain but I definatley feel humour and usually laugh straight out loud when I hear that song.  It's kind of like most of Brian's songs, you feel emotion when you hear them but often can't even say why. 
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Mitchell
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2006, 07:07:24 AM »

That's a good subject: Comical background vocals.

Also note the 'raspberry' in Busy Doin' Nothing.

I think Brian's "day to day" lyrics are funny, too. The first time I noticed the end of I'd Love Just Once to See You, I laughed aloud.
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2006, 11:27:35 PM »

I love doing crap like that.  I made some weird "bad on purpose"  music (music is a relative term in this case) five years ago or so with my friends called Marty Tingles.  On one of the CDs, for about four tracks, the music would get quieter from track to track, making the person turn up their radio listening.  Then the most obnoxious sound would bring it back up to normal volume.  We also did stuff like that within a song.  Awesome!

I think most of my own music is based around that concept LOL:
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Mitchell
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2006, 07:47:05 AM »

I was listening to Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) the other day for the first time in a while, and the end of the album is very obviously another example of Brian's juxtaposition humour. Going from the gentle, lush Summer Means New Love to the sloppy pounding of I'm Bugged at My Old Man (even the title is funny) is great! Then he follows the shouted lead vocals and comical backing vocals of Bugged with the gorgeous a cappella And Your Dream Comes True to turn the trick back on itself. It would make SENSE to follow Summer Means New Love with And Your Dream Comes True, so Brian just tosses in this awkward beast right in the middle!
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