Thursday, November 1, 2012

#103 - Beach Boys - Today (1965)

I really don't know all that much about the Beach Boys, except for that they're surfer rock, based upon harmonies, Brian Wilson is the primary writer, and they're Jesse Katsopolis' favorite band. I know several of their hits but I don't think I've ever heard a full album - which is odd considering how much I love good harmonies.

Help Me Ronda
The first five tracks were lacking for me. The harmonies were deep, rich, and colorful (that's what the Beach Boys are what they're known for), but I was surprised just how much I didn't care for the music underneath. Lyrically it's nothing all that more interesting either. It's just supposed to be fun, beautiful music - which is great - but so far most of the album just isn't doing it for me. This track, however, does have a little more breathing space a little more musical variation and that's why I think it's the best track on the album.

Dance, Dance, Dance
This track is a perfect contrast to the rest of the album (save for Help Me Ronda). The bass and guitar help keep pushing the song along and it stands on it's own regardless of the harmonies on top. The harmonies in the tracks that I really enjoyed were the cherry on top to the rest of the music. While the Beach Boys may be described as surfer rock, a lot of tracks did not rock at all or have hardly any real energy. The tracks that pushed really set themselves apart from the rest of the record.

I'm So Young
This is a very old school rock and roll ballad written in 6/8. On this track focusing on the harmonies really work. Musically it's not all that interesting but the story, the swells, and the beauty of the vocals keep the listener engaged.

All in all, it's good. I wish I liked it more. With reviewing albums that are 50+ years old, I have both the crutch and the power of hindsight. I had a hard time listening to this record and trying to separate it from Brian Wilson's 'Smile' album, which I think is one of the best recorded albums of all time. I came into the album hoping to hear more of his musical genius, and it's not that he came up short - he writes harmonies I could only dream of writing. It's just the rest of the music underneath the harmonies just didn't do it for me.

Tomorrow's album: Laura Nyro's Eli and the Thirteenth Confession.

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