To me, songs like this best express the genius of Brian Wilson. Listen to the tender lyrics and vocal on this...this is the happiest he has ever sounded. (Given the time that this was recorded, it's almost depressing...this was probably also the last time in his life that he was truly happy. What the more poetic call bittersweet?) Yet, this is so mellow and unassuming. It's blissful, joyous - and above all else, madly in love, as evidenced by the spoken "I love you." at the end. The writing credits lists Wilson-Love, but all I can hear is Brian here. Mike Love was never this genuine.
As for the arrangement, it hints at what was to come with "Pet Sounds". Fender bass! Tambourines! Harpsichords! It's a beautiful thing, and Sonny Bono built his career off of it. Sleep well, sweet Congressman.
from The Beach Boys Today! (Capitol T-2269) available on CD - The Beach Boys Today!/Summer Days! (And Summer Nights!!) (Capitol)
By 1965, Brian Wilson's professional and personal lives were in such a state of constant panic that it was almost inevitable that he would turn to readily available forms of rock star relief. While his self-medication (and underlying mental illness) would ultimately render him into a poster boy for an imaginary DARE campaign, the early, merely marijuanic phase of his regimen yielded a brief but vivid string of almost absurdly gorgeous pop masterpieces. While a couple of these are permanently stamped into the forebrains of all radio listeners over a certain age ("God Only Knows," "Good Vibrations"), some remain almost unknown. Which brings us to "Wonderful," found on the Beach Boys box set, and remade a few years ago as part of the Don Was hagiography. It is a curious, brief (2 minutes) tune, austere in production (harpsichord and vocal) but staggeringly rich in harmonic interest. The melody evokes pure serenity and has no noticeable roots in any previous American pop style. Van Dyke Park's lyric is typically insane; what little one can make of it seems to dovetail with Wilson's growing religiousity, yet feels entirely physical, even pagan -- a sort of boy-loves-wood sprite nature idyll making the first movement of a really great ballet with set design by Maurice Sendak. Or something.
available on CD - Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys (Capitol)
Although it´s just a 50 seconds bonus track at the end of Capitol reissue of "Friends/20/20", I think it contains one of the most memorable vocal harmonies ever sung by the Beach Boys. The irruption of voices that come at the end is just sublime. I think there are longer versions in an "Unsurpassed masters" record but I have never listened to it. Anyone has ?
from Friends/20/20, available on CD
16 Aug 06 ·ambassador: I would love to hear a longer version of this. I agree, their harmonies on this classic bacharach/david tune are mind-blowing.
Possibly the most beautiful and complex pop song ever written. This is the apex of Brians foray into modular music. Loved by Bernstein and McCartney. This song will take you years to sink in. Perfect. I have heard some amazing versions he has done of this equally as powerful.
from Surfs Up
Recommend your favorite
tracks arranged by Brian Wilson