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Posts tagged "The Beach Boys"

Vulnerability, Judgement and The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds Turns 50!

Vulnerability, Judgement and The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds Turns 50!

Half a century is pretty “outta sight” if you ask me. To celebrate, here’s the two main Pet Sounds portions of The Beach Boys essay in Mess of Help. We’ve posted portions before but never all of it. Catch a wave: 

Brian Wilson was the original heart-on-your-sleeve auteur. Young men had been vulnerable on record before, but usually in the service of garnering swoons rather than expressing actual warts-and-all weakness. Brian’s was not the attractive kind of vulnerability; it was the awkward kind. In the song, his girl’s devotion even makes him “want to cry”. The Beach Boys sang about teenage male tears more than…

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I Still Believe in Love & Mercy (and Brian Wilson)

I Still Believe in Love & Mercy (and Brian Wilson)

Saw Love & Mercy last night, and wow. As reviewers have been noting, it is not your average biopic, and certainly not much of a summer film, despite the source material. Which makes sense, I guess, since Brian Wilson is not your average bear. It has more in common with I’m Not There, than, say, Ray or Walk the Line, choosing as it does to focus on the two most dramatic periods of Brian’s life, his 1967 breakdown and his 1988 “comeback” (played by separate actors), rather than depict the full arc.

I’d read interviews where Brian himself decried the heaviness…

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Another Week Ends: Motivated Podcasts, Inverted Envy, Doofus Batman, Evensong Revelations, Rowling Rewards, Salinger Silence, Denny Lives Again, and Watterson's Speech

Another Week Ends: Motivated Podcasts, Inverted Envy, Doofus Batman, Evensong Revelations, Rowling Rewards, Salinger Silence, Denny Lives Again, and Watterson’s Speech

1. “Want to Win a Political Debate? Try Making a Weaker Argument” reads a headline over at The Pacific Standard, and what follows is a helpful refresher on the overpowering role of self-image when it comes to argumentation. In very Haidt-esque fashion, and with the help of some fresh research, the article claims that the strongest arguments for a particular position are the ones most likely to trigger a defensive response from those who disagree. The implications for those engaged in any kind of religious or theological dialogue should be self-evident. As we all know, social psychology of this kind…

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It's Been Building Up In Brian Wilson For Oh I Don't Know How Long

It’s Been Building Up In Brian Wilson For Oh I Don’t Know How Long

Now an excerpt from A Mess of Help (which takes its name from one of BW’s songs):

There is so much about The Beach Boys that is hard to believe. Toward the bottom of the list (but still on it) is the fact that “Don’t Worry Baby” was originally released as the B-side of “I Get Around”. Some of us consider “Don’t Worry Baby” to be the definition of a perfect record, as beautiful as anything “America’s band”, or any other, ever released, and to think of it playing second fiddle boggles the mind. What accounts for its greatness? First,…

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October Playlist

  1. Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It – Stars
  2. From Here On Out – The Killers
  3. Cry for Judas – The Mountain Goats
  4. Scared – Albert Hammond Jr.
  5. If You Gotta Break Another Heart – Albert Hammond Sr.
  6. If You Change Your Mind – The Raspberries
  7. Eddie Walker – Ben Folds Five
  8. Way Back Into Love – Hugh Grant and Haley Bennett
  9. My Diane – The Beach Boys
  10. February Seven – The Avett Brothers
  11. Around Every Corner – Derek Webb
  12. The Man I Didn’t Know – Scott Weiland
  13. The Moon Is Calling – Nada Surf
  14. Ashes to Ashes – Faith No More
  15. What Deaner Was Talkin’ About – Ween
  16. Black Tears – Ian Hunter and the Rant Band
  17. Pay in Blood – Bob Dylan
  18. There Is A Valley – Bill Fay
Goodbye Surfing, Hello God! A Conference Breakout

Goodbye Surfing, Hello God! A Conference Breakout

Maybe beauty is your thing. Maybe family dynamics fascinate you. Or maybe it’s mental illness or addiction or eccentricity. Maybe you’re interested in the intersection of commerce and art, or the rise (and fall) of the American music industry, or simply post-WWII America in general. Maybe irony is your strong suit, or maybe it’s heart-on-your-sleeve earnestness. Maybe you’re sensitive and emotional, maybe you’re more cerebral. Maybe you like softer music, or maybe something more aggressive. Maybe you’re into Top 40, maybe you prefer indie obscurity. Or maybe it’s classical that you enjoy, either choral or instrumental. Maybe you’ve got an…

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Another Week Ends: Moral Dieting, Self Illusions, Craig Sager's Suits, Superhero Saints, LIBERATE, Prometheus, Drive-In Church, and MJ's Bad

Another Week Ends: Moral Dieting, Self Illusions, Craig Sager’s Suits, Superhero Saints, LIBERATE, Prometheus, Drive-In Church, and MJ’s Bad

1. We’ve given him a rest for a few months, but the break is over! David Brooks wrote an another incisive column for The NY Times this week, “The Moral Diet,” reflecting on Dan Ariely’s new book on dishonesty. Brooks isn’t afraid to cast the research in historical-religious terms; indeed, the shift in Western self-perception, from fundamentally bad to fundamentally good, is one of his favorite subjects. But in this column he also touches on our proclivity for self-justification, questioning the unquestioned assumption that a good life is simply one where the good outweighs the bad, i.e. where the moral/political/achievement…

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Another Week Ends: Jewish Anxiety, Christian Juvenilia, Male Demise, Cheap Law, Underachievement and Imperfection, Bearded Brooklyn, Ram and Beach Boys

Another Week Ends: Jewish Anxiety, Christian Juvenilia, Male Demise, Cheap Law, Underachievement and Imperfection, Bearded Brooklyn, Ram and Beach Boys

1. “Do The Jews Own Anxiety?” asked Daniel Smith in The NY Times last week, and his answer may surprise you. A member of the tribe himself, Smith traces the public (gentile) perception of Jewish neurosis, as well as how its poster-boys (Woody Allen, Philip Roth’s Alexander Portnoy, etc) have almost gleefully perpetuated the stereotype, and managed to eclipse such once well-known non-Jewish neurotics such as Soren Kierkegaard, Emily Dickinson, Ingmar Bergman and William James in anxious notoriety — to say nothing of our favorite “patient of great significance,” Dr. Luther! My own experience would be that those whose neuroses…

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June Playlist

  1. Goin’ On – The Beach Boys
  2. Everything Hits At Once – Spoon
  3. Long Promised Road (live) – Carl Wilson
  4. The 1st Mistake I Made – The Bee Gees
  5. Broke Down – Slaid Cleaves
  6. Listening to the Wind That Blows – Wilco & Billy Bragg
  7. Big Sur – Mike Love
  8. Stevie – Saint Etienne
  9. This Summer – Squeeze
  10. If I Can’t Change Your Mind – Sugar
  11. Thou Shalt Not Steal – Glenda Collins [prod. Joe Meek]
  12. How She Boogalooed It – Al Jardine
  13. She Is Still A Mystery – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  14. God Did It – Brian Wilson
  15. Constant Companion – Dennis Wilson
  16. Perfect Man – Rufus Wainwright
  17. Disconnected – Keane
  18. The Scientist – Willie Nelson
  19. Saved By the Bell – Robin Gibb
  20. Do You Know How Much You’ve Been Loved? – John Davis
Beach Boys 101: Peter Bagge's "In Defense Of (And Praise For) Mike Love"

Beach Boys 101: Peter Bagge’s “In Defense Of (And Praise For) Mike Love”

One rainy day last year I decided to do the Internet a favor and digitize Peter Bagge’s brilliant, contrarian essay, “In Defense Of (And Praise For) Mike Love.” Ever since, I’ve been waiting for the right time to post it, and the 50th anniversary of the band seems like as good an opportunity as any. It was originally published in Hate Annual #2 back in 2001, and despite sincere disagreements about some of the points he makes–indeed, about his main point!–it’s still hands-down the best piece of Beach Boys writing I’ve ever come across, capturing much of what makes the…

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That Time The Beach Boys Made a Teenage Symphony to God

That Time The Beach Boys Made a Teenage Symphony to God

Many years ago I said that “Music is God’s Voice.” I’ve often felt that I was on a musical mission, to spread the gospel of love through records. – Brian Wilson

When Brian Wilson did the unthinkable and revisited/reassembled his long-lost masterpiece SMiLE in 2004, it was touted as a major personal breakthrough. To the wider public, the project represented a mythic highwater mark (pun intended) of American pop music, synonymous with tragic too-beautiful-for-this-world genius, but for Brian himself, what had begun as his “teenage symphony to God” clearly had a different association: pain, defeat and more pain. It was “inappropriate…

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November Playlist

  1. I’ve Been a Bad Bad Boy – Paul Jones
  2. A Breath Taking Guy – The Marvelettes
  3. If Dolphins Were Monkeys – Ian Brown
  4. I Told Her on Alderaan – Neon Neon
  5. Right Behind You – Brandon Flowers
  6. Speedway – Morrissey
  7. Man-Sized Wreath – REM
  8. Church on White – Stephen Malkmus
  9. It’s Real – Real Estate
  10. The Reason – Thunderclap Newman
  11. There’s No Way Out of Here – David Gilmour
  12. In No Resistance – Frankie Miller
  13. Bad Blood – Crooked Fingers
  14. The Neighbor – Dixie Chicks
  15. The Road to Birmingham – Mott the Hoople
  16. Boulder to Birmingham – Emmylou Harris
  17. In the World – Ryan Adams
  18. Nothing Lasts Forever – Echo & The Bunnymen