Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXXX: I’m Feeling Sad

November 22nd, 2015

Image result for "brian wilson" "i'm feeling sad"

Hidden among the “bonus tracks” on No Pier Pressure is this little gem of a song, which suggests that even although Brian’s life is immeasurably better than in the dark Landy days, there are still moments of sadness and reflection. In this respect, it’s one of the more personal songs from the No Pier Pressure sessions, and a hidden gem.

No Pier Pressure Track-by-track XIII: The Last Song

November 15th, 2015

It won’t be the last new song Brian Wilson song we hear, and it may be well not be the last song on a new Brian Wilson  record, but in giving this song that dramatic moniker, there is a sense that a big musical and lyrical statement is being made. If anything, the only slight letdown is in the expectation that this is an important track, rather than let the music speak for itself.

However, looking past any hype, the beauty and poignancy of the music and lyric shine through as Brian reminds us that, beyond anything else , it’s the relationships with people closest to us that is the most important thing.

No Pier Pressure Track-by-track XII: Saturday Night

November 13th, 2015

 The last of the outside collaboration tracks on No Pier Pressure is with indie star, Nate Ruess, and it’s a decent, uptempo song with a melody that easily becomes an earworm. While not breaking any new ground, it certainly shows that Brian is still the master of pop melody, whoever he collaborates with.

The 50 Year Party

November 9th, 2015

Well, I missed the anniversary by one day, but yesterday was the 50th anniversary of a somewhat different Beach Boys album. You probably all know the story of this – Brian was working on Pet Sounds, and Capitol wanted product! The result is this festive album, ostensibly recorded live at a party, but actually recorded at Western Studio with friends and family added to give a festive atmosphere.

The song selection veers towards some of the novelty hits of the moment (Alley Oop, Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow, Hully Gully), but you can’t go too wrong with a dose of 60s icons Dylan and the Beatles. There are also some nice slower harmony numbers, especially Brian and Mike’s voices combining nicely on Devoted To You. All in all, this was never going to be a great innovative step forward (although in retrospect, it could be seen as the first “unplugged” album), but it is a lighthearted, entertaining release with a dash of humor that was needed as we headed into the deep tangled emotions of Pet Sounds and beyond.

No Pier Pressure Track-by-track XI: One Kind Of Love

November 8th, 2015

One Kind Of Love has something of a life of it’s own outside the context of the No Pier Pressure album. Firstly, it’s the only track written with long-time Brian Wilson band-member Scott Bennett. But more importantly, it was featured in the Love And Mercy movie , and ties in to one of the key stories of the movie, where Melinda saves Brian through an unconditional love -not wanting anything from him but for him to be happy. It’s a beautiful ballad, but most of all , a heartfelt sentiment sung sincerely.

No Pier Pressure Track-by-track X: Sail Away

November 7th, 2015

This track could make you believe that we’ve sailed back to the Holland-era Beach Boys , with lead vocals traded between Brian, Al and Blondie Chaplin. It’s another slice of pop perfection, which certainly invokes Sail On, Sailor in more than one way, while still sounding fresh and original. The only injustice is that this wasn’t a big hit (or even a small one).

No Pier Pressure Track-by-track IX: Tell Me Why

October 29th, 2015

For this writer, this is one of the highlights of the album, featuring enough vocal interplay between Brian and Al that Mike Love may have been persuaded that he could have just missed a session for another Beach Boys album. Anyway it’s down as a Brian Wilson solo song, but Al’s still strong voice is an important part of it. The imagery of the lyrics and lovely harmonies certainly take this song to a special place.

No Pier Pressure Track-by-track VIII: Guess You Had To Be There

October 27th, 2015

Doing a collaboration with edgy country star, Kacey Musgraves, may not have given No Pier Pressure the hip quotient that it really deserved, but it remains a track which grows on the listener quite a lot -as does much of Musgraves’ music.  The vocal interplay between Wilson and the country belle is quite engaging, masking somewhat what is actually quite a melancholy breakup song.

The After Party

October 25th, 2015

Beach Boys Party - Uncovered and Unplugged It’s almost time for the 50th anniversary of the Party! album (the album before the big, big one) and Capitol are celebrating the party in a big way with an 8o track, two disc archival release. Reading through the tracklist , a lot of these are “chatter” tracks, but some intriguing new covers, including the Stones’ Satisfaction, and some more Dylan and Beatles. The extra party starts on the 20th, although the actual anniversary is the 9th.

No Pier Pressure Track-by-track VII: The Right Time

October 21st, 2015

In a perfect sane world, this would have been the album’s massive hit. Brian’s ability to write a perfect pop song hasn’t  been diminished by time , and neither has Al Jardine’s voice. Together, they combine on one of the album’s highlights, with a tune that you won’t easily get out of your head, but also with some transcendental moments, especially at the instrumental break at the end.