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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Review: Brian Wilson – Smile

I could always take or leave the Beach Boys, mostly leave. The falsetto singing reminds me of Frankie Valli and I can’t figure out the appeal of castratto. Being from New York I also have no interest in surfer guys and chicks.

I recently bought some homemade surf comp tapes and while there’s no Beach Boys I do get a kick out of some of the tunes and a few are really, really bad (in a good way). The Surfaris do a song called “Surfer Joe” that sounds like “The Monster Mash”, spoken lyrics and all. Then there’s Jan and Dean, who sound like a parody of a comedy sketch.

This weekend I put on The Queer’s Don’t Back Down, the best of their albums influenced by the Beach Boys. I said to myself “self, maybe you should explore The Beach Boys”. Smile is where I start.

Smile is a legendary album started in 1967 and both finished and recorded in 2004. There were 85 original recording sessions that led to no finished album. That’s a lot of work. Fans and critics are collectively crapping themselves over how great this is, and I’ll grant them that even though I find Smile to be well recorded, pleasant, interesting and not the answer to any great existential question.

There's a definite nod to the Beatles and I never realized how much XTC were cribbing from these guys since at least Mummer in 1983. Here’s some lyrics from “Vega-Tables”. Some may find this silly. I think they answer the great existential question:

I'm gonna be round my vegetables/ I'm gonna chow down my vegetables/ I love you most of all/ My favorite vege-table/ If you brought a big brown bag of them home/ I'd jump up and down and hope you'd toss me a carrot/ I'm gonna keep well my vegetables/ Cart off and sell my vegetables/ I love you most of all/ My favorite vege-table/ Oh oh taba vega vegel/ I tried to kick the ball but my tenny flew right off/ I'm red as a beet 'cause I'm so embarassed/ Oh oh dum do dum de dooby do/ Oh oh dum do dum de dooby do/ Oh oh dum do dum de dooby dooh yeah/ Oh badumday oh dum do dum de dooby do/ Oh badumday oh dum do dum de dooby do/ Chomp chomp chomp chomp do-do-do do-do-do/ Bop bop bop bop do-do-do do-do-do


It’s upwards and onwards to Pet Sounds!

2 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

Brian Wilson was in the throes of dementia by this point. As it is with the Ramones, start from the beginning. It only goes downhill from there.

3:08 PM

 
Blogger Tucker said...

On "Vegetables" Brian Wilson sampled Paul McCartney eating a carrot in the studio....

Also, you should check out 20/20 by the Beach Boys, it's one of my favorites. It's a pretty cool balance between the uber-catchy early stuff and the weird production on the later stuff. Also, if you want a truly fucked up Beach Boys album, check out "Love You". It was done in the late 70's and the only instruments are layered synth/organ/piano parts. Drugs took a toll on their voices (they sound phlegmy), and the lyrics are super kitschy...it's great.

9:13 AM

 

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