Call for Music Writers... Rock, Indie, Urban, Electronic, Americana, Metal, World and More

 
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Monday, Jun 16, 2014
For the last proper song on The Beach Boys Today, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys craft their most inventive and sublime track to date, "In the Back of My Mind".

For the last proper track on The Beach Boys Today!, Brian Wilson and the rest of the group don’t hold anything back. “In the Back of My Mind” is a huge step forward musically, lyrically, and production-wise, and even tucked away in the back of this album, the song has taken on an iconic status among fans and critics for being a true masterpiece.


It’s notable, then, that “In the Back of My Mind” was recorded in the same session as “Good to My Baby”, the Beach Boys Today! track that I discussed as sounding the most like the group’s earlier music. In contrast, “In the Back of My Mind” really sounds like nothing they’ve ever done before, even with all the experimentation and sophistication we’ve previously seen on this album. Philip Lambert comments, “The chord progressions of ‘In The Back Of My Mind’ are virtually unprecedented in Brian’s previous work”, but it’s not just the chord progressions: the masterful lyrics from Brian Wilson and Mike Love, as well as Wilson’s sublime orchestral arrangement, are innovative in their own right.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Monday, Jun 9, 2014
Likely the first song written for The Beach Boys Today!, "She Knows Me Too Well" is surprisingly sophisticated and unique.

“She Knows Me Too Well” was technically the first song recorded for The Beach Boys Today!, before the band’s All Summer Long album had been released or recording for The Beach Boys Christmas Album had begun. But the song got re-recorded later for Today! and that initial June 8th, 1964 recorded has never been subsequently released (like so many other alternate takes from this and other Beach Boys albums). It’s safe to assume, though, that not much changed between the June and the August recording of the song, compositionally at least. If we look at other tracks from Today! for which earlier recordings that have been released, the changes between versions tend to be in the arrangement and occasionally the lyrics. So while we can’t be sure exactly what changed from the first version of “She Knows Me Too Well” to the final released version, we can imagine that they are fairly similar.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Monday, Jun 2, 2014
Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys continue side two of The Beach Boys Today! with a delicate and elegant ballad about coming to terms with lost love.

In his book, The Beach Boys FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About America’s Band, Beach Boys scholar Jon Stebbins keeps a fairly neutral tone in describing interesting tidbits about the group’s music and career. But he becomes uncharacteristically enthusiastic when discussing “Kiss Me, Baby”, the third track on side two of The Beach Boys Today!:


“Perhaps the pinnacle of balladry…is “Kiss Me, Baby”. It’s one of the Beach Boys’ most romantic and emotional songs. “Kiss Me, Baby” is also a mammoth artistic achievement. There is something so penetrating about this recording that it can make the hairs on your neck stand up, or even bring tears. The level of quality that Brian [Wilson] and the Beach Boys could produce in bunches is astounding, and this song is more proof of that. “Kiss Me, Baby” would be a career achievement that any musical artist would be proud of, but for the Beach Boys it was just another album track on another album of great ones.”


It would be hard to get more glowing about a song than this, but it’s also hard to disagree with him. “Kiss Me, Baby” is truly something special, and it’s because every aspect of the song from composition to arrangement to performance is so flawlessly executed.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
"I'm So Young" may not be a Brian Wilson original, but this elegant cover version is one of the high points of The Beach Boys Today!

When your band has a songwriter as talented and inventive as Brian Wilson, why do you record covers? “I’m So Young”, the second cover song featured on The Beach Boys Today!, serves a very different purpose than “Do You Wanna Dance?” As we saw in our discussion of the latter, that track was used to show off Wilson’s creativity and skill as a producer and arranger. By taking a familiar song as a starting point, Wilson’s extensive changes to the track could stand out as impressive displays of his budding genius. But the arrangement of “I’m So Young”—originally recorded by the Students in 1958 and covered by the Ronettes in 1964—doesn’t change much.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Monday, May 19, 2014
Opening a side full of lush ballads, "Please Let Me Wonder" presents a multi-layered lyric about the difficulties of intimacy and pursuing creative fulfillment.

As discussed in previous posts, the b-side of The Beach Boys Today! is comprised entirely of ballads, contrasting with the up-tempo songs of the a-side. And although both sides contain complex, introspective lyrics, the slow and densely orchestrated songs of the album’s second half inherently feel more personal. So it’s perfect, then, that the side opens with “Please Let Me Wonder”, possibly the most sentimental of the Beach Boys’ songs up to this point in their career. Like so many of the other songs we’ve looked at on Today!, “Please Let Me Wonder” is a layered narrative exposing personal anxieties. Here, Brian Wilson explores ideas of intimacy and love along with the difficulty of growing up and pursuing creative fulfillment.


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.