Jan 022009

Among the many stimulating rock conversations that took place at our live Philadelphia chapter of RTH gathering earlier this week was the question of our five favorite Beach Boys songs following the release of Pet Sounds and the “Good Vibrations” single, also known as the period marking the end of Brian Wilson as the band’s leading light.

My top 5 in the post-Brian era was led by “Do It Again,” which E. Pluribus Gergely thought was a turd. “I Can Hear Music” was another one that quickly came to mind. Then, beside “Kokomo” (a given) I was stuck on clear song titles to round out my top 5. Maybe “Vegetables”… Others were quicker and more definitive in listing their top 5, and maybe those who were there will want to restate their selections here. As we wrap up 2008, I would encourage the rest of you to list your top 5 post-Functional Brian faves.

Note: Tracks recorded primarily during Brian’s reign and finished later will not be allowed for consideration. Things like the finally completed Smile, which were completed by people who aren’t even Beach Boys while Brian was propped up in a corner with an IV drip of B12 in his butt also do not count.


  130 Responses to “Your Five Favorite Beach Boys Songs Following Pet Sounds and the “Good Vibrations” Single”

  1. alexmagic

    I was glad to see you actually express your Kokomo love live and in person, to be able to gauge the heartfelt sincerity.

    If I recall the ground rules that were laid out, Smile wouldn’t be eligible, but Smiley Smile would, right? I’m mostly asking for clarification on Heroes and Villains.

    It’s a little hard to tell, but in that clip at the top of this post, is that half Abbey Road Lennon/half stevedore Look that Mike Love is sporting his finest look, relatively speaking?

  2. diskojoe

    Here’s my post-Pet Sounds Beach Boys fave raves:

    1. “I Can Hear Music”, which is fact my favorite Beach Boys song of all time.
    2. “Forever”
    3. “Time to Get Away”
    4. “Good Timin'”
    5. “All I Wanna Do”

    Happy New Year everyone!

  3. Mr. Moderator

    Yes, Alexmagic, songs from Smiley Smile are eligible, but neither the completed Smile nor any bootleg version of the orginal work in progress is eligible.

  4. As I asked on Sunday night, Mr. Mod, when was the last time you listened to “Kokomo” in its entirety.

    My Top Five:
    1. ‘Till I Die
    2. Feels Flows
    3. I Can Hear Music
    4. Meant for You
    5. Surf’s Up

  5. side 1 of Surf’s Up.

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    “Sail On Sailor” — GOD, I want to cover this song!

    “‘Til I Die” — the Great Brian Wilson “deep track”

    “Darlin'” — Carl brings it. Mod, I *know* you like this one!

    “Feel Flows” — I don’t generally seek out Caftan Rock, but this one just makes me want to fire up the hookah and settle into the bathtub with a book of poetry.

    “Our Sweet Love” — Is this a Bruce Johnston track? If it is, it’s a great one!

    BONUS TRACK: “A Day In the Life Of a Tree”

  7. saturnismine


    1. Surf’s Up

    2. Wind Chimes

    3. Heroes and Villains.

    4…..I Can Hear Music

    5…………..hmmm…………………………………………………………………… I guess I like the song “wild honey” (used to great effect later by the Jane Pow, which is maybe why I went back and gave it a fresh listen).

    I’m really out of breath….that was hard work.

    I won’t be posting again ’til ’09…gasp gasp…

  8. Mr. Moderator

    Oats asked:

    As I asked on Sunday night, Mr. Mod, when was the last time you listened to “Kokomo” in its entirety.

    Either the last time it came on the radio or the last time I called up the video. I say that, despite the cheesy ’80s production, the song perfectly captures the long-since-achieved upper-middle class aspirations of the Beach Boys’ classic era. It’s too bad Brian wasn’t involved, but I think it’s a touching, if pathetic, statement of who Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and John Stamos were at the time of the recording. I also think the song is very much in line with all the band’s Classic-era hits. What’s so different about the structure of the song compared with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and stuff like that? I love that fact that it has nothing to do with those late-period Functioning Brian workouts like “Heroes and Villains,” you know, all those songs that XTC, Jellyfish, and other prock rockers think is what the Beach Boys were all about.

    “Surf’s Up” does not qualify as an answer here, by they way. Some of the originally recorded tracks from the aborted Smile were used as the basis for the version completed in 1971.


    Sorry. That’s a great song.

  9. Mr. Moderator

    “Darlin'” is a pretty good song, Hrrundi. you’re right. The best thing about it is that it’s got some danceable balls, like a Four Seasons song.

  10. BigSteve

    I could easily pick 20, but here are 5 I love:

    The Trader (Holland)
    Marcella (Carl & the Passions/So Tough)
    Forever (Sunflower)
    Long Promised Road (Surf’s Up)
    Angel Come Home (Light Album)

    There ought to be something from Love You on my list, but I couldn’t pick just one song. Also, I felt like I should choose original songs, but I’d like to give an honorable mention to the cover of the Righteous Bros. song Just Once In My Life (a Carole King/Gerry Goffin song actually) from 15 Big Ones.

  11. underthefloat

    I’m going to cheat and not play fair..

    Of the ones mentioned, and with a quick once over, I LOVE:

    Till I die
    Good Timing
    Surf’s Up
    Heroes and Villians
    Sail on Sailor

    So for the heck of it I’ll add five that have not been mentioned yet (I think)

    I’ll add
    Tears in the Morning
    I’ll bet he’s nice
    Airplane (kind of goofy but I love it just the same)

    OK, I’m just adding four per my family is calling. A few more off Sunflower would easily be in the 5 spot. Many other really terrific tracks.

    Steve (who only came to appreciate the Beach Boys post Pet Sounds in the past 8 years or so. I’m still not in love with early beach boys I must admit)

  12. My favorite song, and therefore my favorite Beach Boys song, is “Don’t Worry Baby”

  13. saturnismine

    “Surf’s Up’ is no different than the “Smiley Smile” material, in that it was a “Smile” era song that got re-worked shortly after it became clear that that “Smile” was untenable.

    Since the Smiley Smile material is allowed, so should Surf’s Up be allowed.

    (It also wasn’t finished decades later by people who were never Beach Boys).

  14. hrrundivbakshi

    I call bullshit on Sat’s Smile-y logic. Any songs that were destined for “Smile,” then picked up, dusted off and repurposed for later albums are verboten. That means:

    NO “Surf’s Up”
    NO “Cool, Cool Water”
    NO “Cabinessence”
    NO “Wonderful”
    NO “Heroes and Villains”
    NO “Vege-tables”
    NO “Our Prayer”

    I feel certain Mr. Mod would agree with this logic.


  15. sammymaudlin

    Feel Flows (used during credits of Almost Famous. In your face MOD.)

    Surf’s Up

    Slip On Through

    Disney Girls

    Lookin’ at Tomorrow

  16. saturnismine

    Mod already okay’d smiley smile material.

    I’ll reiterate: “Surf’s Up” is no different than the Smiley Smile stuff, which he’s already okay’d.

    The only difference is an arbitrary one: it didn’t wind up on Smiley Smile, which is filled with Re-worked Smile songs.

    Besides, the released version of Surf’s Up isn’t even based on a recording made during the Smile sessions (mod’s other obscure rule here): it’s from a tape of a TV appearance by Brian, performing it solo.

    Whether they dusted off the Smile master tapes or started from scratch doesn’t matter. They’re both “post Pet sounds,” no?

  17. I feel the same way about the Beach Boys than I do about The Beatles.

    I got into both when I was in high school for their later period stuff and as I got older I found I liked the earlier stuff more and more. I then settled into the mid period stuff as my favorite.

    The mid-period stuff seems to have a touch of experimentation and adventure sonically but the structure that I like is still there. For the Beatles my favorite period is 65-66 (Rubber Soul, Revolver) For the Beach Boys I love “Don’t Worry Baby” and “I Get around” and, of course, Pet Sounds.

  18. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh, come ON, Sat. Mod isn’t obsessive enough about the eventual fate of “Smile” material to place an effective ban, and you know it. You’re following the letter, and not the spirit, of Mod’s anti-Smile law. ‘Fess up, and stop hiding behind your legalistic, hair-splitting mumbo-jumbo!

  19. hrrundivbakshi

    Mod’s rule was simple:

    Tracks recorded primarily during Brian’s reign and finished later will not be allowed for consideration.

    That means NO on all the songs I listed earlier. Mod, where are you? We need a ruling here!

  20. Assuming Mr. Mod rules in HVB’s favor, I’m tweaking my list.

    1. ‘Till I Die
    2. Feels Flows
    3. I Can Hear Music
    4. Meant for You
    5. Busy Doin’ Nothing

  21. hrrundivbakshi

    Glad to hear you’re on Team Truth & Justice, Oats. Welcome aboard — we’ve got some heavy lifting to do.

  22. dbuskirk

    1. Good Time
    2. Aren’t You Glad
    3. Anna Lee, The Healer
    4. This Whole World
    5. Add Some Music To Your Day

    SUNFLOWER is probably the greatest Beach Boys album, insofar that it has all the band (outside of Brian) giving the best showing of themselves.

  23. There’s two tracks that I won’t turn off should they blast out of my car radio speakers: “I Can Hear Music” and “Surf’s Up”. And those are mildly interesting at best. The rest of the post Pet Sounds catalog is solid shit.

    E. Pluribus

  24. saturnismine

    simmer HVB.

    above, mod wrote:

    “songs from Smiley Smile are eligible, but neither the completed Smile nor any bootleg version of the orginal work in progress is eligible.”

    sounds pretty hairsplitting to me. One might even describe it as “obsessive enough about the eventual fate of “Smile” material to place an effective ban” on it.

    I don’t see what you’re getting so upset about.

    as for the “spirit” of the whole thing, I’m with him.

    good post pet sounds beach boys material is hard to come up with.

    peace, man.

  25. Student Demonstration Time (my fave)
    Transcendental Meditation
    I Can Hear Music
    Sail On Sailor
    Cool Cool Water
    Wild Honey

    wow, after looking through the titles, I forgot how forgettable their post 1972 output was

    I was lucky,in the late 70s and early 80’s I was still discovering The 2-lp comps that came out from the surf stuff, the car stuff and the Surf’s Up record I got from my dad’s collection. I didn’t even know they had new songs out at the time (The “Spirit Of America” double lp and the Beach Boys Party were their “new” records to me and the 2 lp greatest hits was playing at our house every day. I think my first record I owned was the Beach Boys Christmas and it had to be 1977 or so, so it was not current.

    Didn’t make it to the post 72 stuff until the mid 90’s where I picked up some of the 2-for-1 CDs in the used bins

  26. hrrundivbakshi

    Sat: are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? This is more than just a mild disagreement between RTHers eager to precisely interpret Mod’s conflicting directives; I see it as a TITANIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL — and I know which side *I’m* on.

    Come on, man; do what’s right.

    And Gergles — I’m surprised you can’t see anything to like in “Wild Honey.”

  27. hrrundivbakshi

    Whoops — sorry, Plurbie, I meant “Darlin’.”

  28. Hey Dan,

    Just for the record, The Who’s “Happy Jack” is one of those “everybody contributes” efforts. It’s more or less what happens when the creative genius in the band is a) fried and can’t come up with anything or b) is sick and tired of taking shit from the other members who are continually complaining about never having any say.
    Whatever the situation, it always adds up to a real bad album because the people who take over always have a collective talent avg. that’s about a tenth of the leader.

    I don’t know about you, but there’s never been a time when I’ve thought, “Hmm, I think I’d like to hear some democratic pop today, despite the fact that the music will most probably suck horse dick.”

    You’ve got WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON YOUR HANDS if you’re having any thought whatsoever similar to the one posed above. One would think having brats and such would negate the necessity of your relentless championing of the mediocre: Them, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Domanic Troiano, etc. Honestly, is there really any need to hang on to that nonsense anymore? You’re most probably getting laid on a conistent basis, you’ve found your niche as a film expert (regardless of the fact that your taste in that area blows as well), you’ve had steady work for quite sometime. . . .

    Doing a lot of real practical stuff tends to help one’s self separate the wheat from the chaff, i.e. a revisiting of the Tucky Buzzard catalog ain’t all that important when you’re wiping rear ends and cleaning up vomit.

    The first round’s on me when you finally throw in the towel.

    Have a Happy New Year and tell that hot looking theater broad friend of yours I said hi.

    E. Pluribus

  29. Hrundi,

    I can honestly say that there’s not a single part of me that ever needs to hear even a second of “Darlin'” ever again.

    And big thumbs up for Art. When all this came up at Sugar Mom’s, his facial expression told all that struggling to come up with even a single title was most probably not worth the effort. After a few more beers, he also told all that he’s a)never owned a copy of “Exile on Main St.”, b) never listened to more than a side of the thing, and c) never had any intention whatsoever of making any further research. 3 beers later he chose to show a few of us pictures of his woman and her brat, aka stuff that was way more important than standing up for unjustifiably forgotten gems on Bill Wyman’s “Monkey Grip” LP.

    He’s a good man, Hrundi. He’s got all his priorities in the right place. And one other thing. He really understands women. I mean that. I think you could learn a lot from him.

    E. Pluribus

  30. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Plurbs — do we have to get into that “Monkey Grip versus Stone Alone” argument again? I know you feel strongly about it, but it just doesn’t mean that much to me.

    Glad to hear you found a role model you can look up to in the making-women-like-you department.


  31. dbuskirk

    Thanks Gergle, don’t let my generous estimation of the non-Brian Beach Boys’ talents lead you to believe I’m a booster of CCR’s MARDI GRAS, Peter Criss’ solo album or any Wings song with lead vocals by Linda. Sad truth is, the world of rock like society in general is saddled with the same brand of nepotism, favoritism and basic rotting corruption that leads the few musicians with talent to drag along mediocre dead weight (often referred to as “drummers”) who just are just pleased to do as they’re told and play what they’ve been bullied to rehearse in practice.

    When are you and your cronies going to stop clutching this nostalgia for the first time you had a girl reach down your pants and eschew this mindless teenage crush music you cackle over and evolve into jazz listeners? You’re like second graders who refuse to learn cursive.

    Listening to these Mingus/Red Norvo/Tal Farlow trio recordings, there is no worry you’re going to pass the ball to some doofus who going to ruin the vibe, they’ve ditched they’re pals and hanging with folks worthy of their talent. Sure, party with your high school buddies, enjoy your relationship with your wife but don’t insecurely drag them up on stage when you’re out to do a job. What, Johnny Cash couldn’t make the Family thing fly, but you can?

    Gergle, shame we couldn’t have met in high school, when I could have encouraged you to trust your own instincts and not take the ROLLING STONE ALBUM REVIEW GUIDE as being some Bible to be worshiped. Bands, films, books etc don’t climb to he top because they’re quantifiably the best, they succeed because of the vagaries of distribution, passing fashion, packaging and a million other non-artistic factors. Don’t be so shy about straying from the pack Gergle, you have the right to develop your own taste! I’m pulling for you and I’d bet others are too (although frankly I can’t think of anyone).

    Happy New Year, Mold Vendor

  32. BigSteve

    Eepie, do you actually like music at all? It seems like the only time we hear from you is when you’re shitting on sounds that other people honestly enjoy. It’s much more helpful to hear someone who takes pleasure in music and wants to turn me on to something I might not know about than it is to always be harangued by some commissar who thinks it’s his duty to limit everybody else’s playlist to a small selection locked behind barbed wire.

  33. Mr. Moderator

    Hey, I’m catching up on some astute comments. Sorry I’ve been out ot the loop on the all-important ruling re: Smiley Smile material vis-a-vis Surf’s Up. I consider Smiley Smile to have been completed under Brian’s reign. At that point, although struggling with his personal demons, he still knew more or less where he was dropping his loads. The other guys still needed to follow the spirit of his rule. By the time of Surf’s Up he wasn’t just missing the litter box now and then, he’d forgotten where it was placed. During this period, when Carl and the Boys reworked those old Smile tracks, it was like messing with a senile person or violating someone passed out at a party. Smiley Smile material is eligible; Surf’s Up reworkings are not. Sorry. I can’t tell you how much I respect and admire the case you made, Sat.

  34. Mr. Moderator

    So, in listening to 20/20 tonight, I realized that “Do It Again” is so far ahead of the pack on all other recordings from this period, beside “Kokomo,” that it’s not funny. Even “I Can Hear Music,” which I thought I’d liked more, ran out of gas midway through. How great is the sound of a hand quickly fading out “Do It Again” about as soon as the song hits the 2-minute mark? That’s a graceful exit for a song that celebrates the decrepit state of the post-Brian Beach Boys! I honestly find the “smallness” and humility of that song moving, much more moving than anything the band woud do once hi-jacked by Carl, Dennis, and the South African guys. There’s a lot of love in Mike’s performance on “Do It Again.” Think about what I’m saying.

  35. underthefloat


    I’ll be to the point…

    Good call on “Anna Lee, The Healer”! I missed that one.
    Also on SUNFLOWER. It’s the most consistent B.B. album post PET SOUNDS to my ears.

  36. saturnismine

    1. plurbis, thanks for the thumbs up. no sarcasm here: approval from a man of your ilk matters to me.

    2. RTHers, plurbs is telling the truth regarding my drunk-onset behavior phases at the rth get-together.

    3. i am proud of the fact that i have waxed opinionated so many times regarding ‘exile’, and have had those opinions taken seriously, while never having owned a copy.

    4. mod, thanks so much for your acknowledgement of my efforts to remove us from the horns of the Smiley Smile dilemma. it was hvb’s well-being i had in mind first and foremost. clearly, it was killing him. i’m sure he appreciates your clarifications as much as i do, though i’m not sure he will have given them the critical thoughts they deserve. though not without reservations, i am willing to abide by your interpretation of this murky phase of the post-pet sounds beach boys in the interest of the greater good.

    5. i’m eyeing up the latter half of my beach boys collection (which includes smiley smile, wild honey, 20/20, and sunflower, and ends at “love you”), and i’m actually considering giving it one more listen before disposing of it.

    6. i remarked to plurb at the get together, and i feel it bears mentioning in this thread: i think the best thing the beach boys did post pet sounds was give their voices to Chicago’s “Wishin’ You Were Here.” Not since they tracked their vocals for their cover of Doc Pomus’s “Hush-a-bye” had there been a better vehicle for that wistful sadness their unique blend of voices can evoke. Nothiing they did on their own stands up to that addition to an otherwise solid, but not spectacular, Chicago song. The choice to include them on that track was a stroke of genius, and their performance more than fulfills the idea’s potential.

    happy new year RTH…may 09 bring you all good health and good fortune.

  37. saturnismine


    7. if Sunflower is the “most consistent” post Pet Sounds album, complete with Dennis Wilson turds like “Got to know the woman” then there’s little hope. What a piece of shite. My needle begs me for relief from those grooves.

  38. saturnismine

    one more thing:

    8. The elephant in the room in this discussion is the conspicuous drop-off in SOUND QUALITY post Pet Sounds. In addition to featuring piss poor performances of uninspired songwriting, these later albums sound like shit compared to the golden era stuff that they did with the wrecking crew. They sound flat, thin, poorly arranged…what the hell HAPPENED? It may not matter to some of you, but it matters to me

  39. BigSteve

    Saturn, it seems like, given the choice, you always go for clean sounds, perfectly recorded in expensive studios with first-call session musicians over the rougher sounds I generally prefer. Give me some South African exiles plus longtime band members who don’t really get along anymore in a barely functioning ‘studio’ on a barge in Holland any day. Oh yeah, and add a few kilos of primo hash.

  40. Mr. Moderator

    E. Pluribus Gergely and I have been hanging out for the last 24 hours. We’re ecstatic at Sat’s post. We’ll have much more to add. Earlier this morning we were comparing the post-Brian years to the part in The Ten Commandments when Moses was in the desert and all hell broke loose. Was Mike Love the Edward G. Robinson character?

  41. dbuskirk

    SUNFLOWER strikes me as been a real vinyl experience, if I dare go down that rabbit hole. Maybe the latest edition clears this up but those 70’s mid-heavy records always work better on vinyl for me.

  42. Mr. Moderator

    I’m going to have to find a vinyl copy of Sunflower. Is it still as good if it’s packaged in a twofer with some other turd from that period?

  43. Hey Bisquick,

    A “vinyl” experience? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. What’s it like having the golden calf’s dick up your ass?

    E. Pluribus

  44. dbuskirk

    Seriously Gergle, you think downloading “This Whole World” into your banana yellow I-Pod Nano is the same as putting the needle down on “Slip on Through” and sitting in the couch and cracking open the gatefold and looking at a robed and bearded Mike Love anointing some of God’s natural children on the steps of an Aztec Temple? Your senses are fried.

    May all your bit rates be high in the New Year my friend.

  45. Mr. Moderator

    The thought of Plurbs downloading a track from Sunflower onto his iPod blows my mind. I can vouch for the man’s basement-full of vinyl of suspect and widely varying quality. I’m sure he’s sifted through those late-60s Beach Boys albums fully engaged in his own vinyl experience.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Sunflower. This thread I started is starting to depress me. I thought I’d remember a few more strong songs from those years by now.

  46. saturnismine

    re. Sunflower: i don’t think the medium makes all that much difference here. i only own the vinyl. to cop a move from lester bangs: it’s nice and shiny black, and the when i hold it up to the sunlight and look carefully, i can see all the colors of the rainbow reflected in the grooves.

    sadly, that doesn’t help, and as i said above, my *needle* begs for relief from those grooves.

    writing-wise, the songs are turds. recording-wise, all the instruments (including voices), the way they’re tracked, eq’d and mixed, do not work together well. and in fact, this is probably the *by the book*, state-of-the-art approach to recording, but without much in the creativity department. whoever was overseeing the translation of these songs into recordings didn’t have much of an ear or imagination for them. compared to bryan, was a hack at visualizing an arrangement / recording.

    they’re mastered in this shitty ‘duophonic’ format:


    it’s horrifying isn’t it? it really shits the bed.

    i don’t give a shit if it’s played on an mp3, an aiff, a cd, or a clean piece of 20 grain vinyl. it blows. besides, the detectable distinctions between these media are, by and large, overblown by audiophiles like us. i’m kind of sick of hearing my friends snivel about the ‘appreciable difference between mp3s and aiffs.’ blindfolded, they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, let alone distinguish their dicks from a ballpark frank.

  47. alexmagic

    I think Mike Love is more Anthony Zerbe’s character in The Omega Man.

  48. Although I have vinyl copies of Surf’s Up and Holland around here somewhere, I can’t say I pull them out much. On the other hand, I have found myself listening to disc 3 of the the Good Vibrations box set more than any of the others. This disc runs from Smiley Smile through Suf’s Up. My favorite song on that disc is a Brian recording circa 1971, and possibly my favorite Beach Boys song of all time is ‘Til I Die. It is something of a demo recording with a primitive rhythm machine and layered keyboards filling in all the instrumental parts, but it’s a great song that takes the lemons of Brian’s life at the time and makes lemonade. Totally depressing and uplifting at the same time.

    I avoid dic 4, which tops out with Kokomo, like the plague.

  49. Mr. Moderator

    Do yourself a favor and revisit “Kokomo,” Geo. You may find it completes the depressing/uplifting side of the coin that you ger from “‘Til I Die.”

  50. 1. Don’t Worry Baby
    2. Do It Again
    3. Surfer Girl
    4. Sail on Sailor
    5. I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times

  51. BigSteve

    I was wondering how many PRE-Pet Sounds Beach Boys albums were consistently great, no-needle-lifters great, which seems to be the standard we’re holding Sunflower to. I checked and I’m counting approximately …. zero. I’ve found them to be not exactly turd-free.

  52. dbuskirk

    It blows me away that The Mod has never gotten around to hearing SUNFLOWER yet. It is probably their most acclaimed post-PET SOUNDS but you weren’t curious? How many times can you spin those same George Thorogood and Bob Seger records before you get thirsty for something else?

  53. Mr. Moderator

    Maybe I started at the wrong place with Smiley Smile and then that turd-fer of Wild Honey and 20/20. I’m noting if not open minded. I’ll check it out.

  54. Mr. Moderator

    Northvancoveman, as great Beach Boys songs, I’m on board with 4 of your 5 choices, but 1, 3, and 5 predate the “post-Functional Brian” era.

  55. To all,

    I cordially invite ye to join Art, Jimbo, and myself as we journey toward the promised land, continually gaining strength by rejecting temptations which periodically fall out of the Golden Calf’s anus: The Beach Boys’ Smile, Skip Spence’s Oar, and anything by that Japanese clown who Fritz swears is the second coming of Christ.

    And speaking of Art, kudos to you once again for bringing up Chicago’s “Wishing You Were Here”. It is indeed The Beach Boys’ ONLY golden moment post Pet Sounds. For my money, it’s one of the greatest make out songs of all time.

    E. Pluribus

  56. OK, I listened to Kokomo. ‘Til I Die was depressing because Brian Wilson paints a portrait of his feelings at what might have been one of his bleakest periods, but uplifting because the resulting song beautifully captures the pain. Kokomo only seems to capture Mike Love’s Winner Rock aspirations, virtually devoid of value, but slathering enough cheese on top to capture the attention of a Tom Cruise audience yearning for some winner rock-lite to celebrate their hero. I’m pretty sure it’s not in my top five.

  57. Nothing new out of me:

    Do it Again
    Til I Die
    Surf’s Up
    Student Demonstration Time

    Like a carbon offset, I’ll trade my 5th selection to whoever wants it if I can have 6 selections next time there’s a band with an actually choice here.

    Besides Pet Sounds, even every early BB album has at least a couple of immediate needle lifters. Find me a fan of Amusement Parks, USA or Salt Lake City!! They wrote a song about how cool Salt Lake City is!! Of course the later stuff would have even more drek.

  58. Mod, I didn’t even read the header, I just dove right into 5 favorite Beach Boys songs-whoops.

    I know ignorance of RTH laws are no excuse, but I beg for leniancy. Please don’t make me listen to XTC B Sides or read Jim Morrison lyrics or whatever RTH punishments are generally doled out. Have mercy on me!

  59. saturnismine

    BigSteve, there’s no accounting for taste.

    But let’s just pretend there is for a while:

    Are you suggesting that the post pet sounds beach boys made albums with the same quality to crap ratio as the pre pet sounds beach boys?

  60. BigSteve

    Saturn, I was talking specifically about Sunflower, not all of the post Pet Sounds albums.

    I think one of the things I’m saying is that album-era albums are a completely different listening experience than singles-era albums. This may be one of the things db was getting at. You can listen to Sunflower all the way through and have a quite pleasant listening experience, and this is precisely because it doesn’t have anything like California Girls upsetting the balance. And it doesn’t have anything as unlistenable as Bull Session with Big Daddy or I’m Bugged at My Old Man.

    The original point of this thread seemed to me to be “are there tracks after the golden oldie period that you really like?” Not “are any of them as good as Wouldn’t It be Nice?” The idea that Sunflower is consistently listenable brought up charges of individual track turditude. I was just pointing out that the earlier albums are not turd free. Even Pet Sounds has those muzacky instrumentals.

  61. hrrundivbakshi

    Well, one man’s turds are another man’s treasure. I *love* those “musacky instrumentals” on “Pet Sounds.”

  62. Mr. Moderator

    BigSteve, you have conducted yourself admirably through this difficult thread. Thanks for pointing out that the question posed was not a set up for me to be judgemental or to expect 5 favorites that match 5 faves from the band’s earlier period. I think most of you have gotten that, but it’s important to make that clear. I’m just bummed that I can’t find 5 songs that I even like as much as I like “Do It Again” and “Kokomo.” I’ll have to check out Sunflower.

  63. saturnismine

    BigSteve wrote:

    “You can listen to Sunflower all the way through and have a quite pleasant listening experience…”

    I write:

    i respectfully disagree (vehemently), but I see why you brought up the pre-album era albums now, Steve.

    But the way I’ve been discussing Sunflower is entirely relevant to the mod’s opening question: I’ve been arguing all along that Sunflower is *one long needle lifter,* a complete turd in every way. There are no songs for a ‘top five’ list of any sort on there. None. (except, maybe, “what are the top five songs on Sunflower?”).

  64. BigSteve

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, saturn, but least 6 or 7 people in this thread selected a song from Sunflower for their list, and we didn’t all choose the same song either. So that argues for the collective wisdom of RTH rejecting the idea that the album is “one long needle lifter.”

    And I think it was an interesting point db made that Sunflower was a real Beach Boys album. Most of the best stuff in the period leading up to and including Good Vibrations were actually Brian Wilson records that simply used the other members of the Beach Boys as vocalists.

    Not that I’m claiming anyone has to like Sunflower more for that reason, but I thought it was an insightful point.

  65. hrrundivbakshi

    Come on, Mod — chest thumping aside, are you seriously saying that “Kokomo” is better than “‘Til I Die” or “Sail On Sailor”? Or “Darlin'”?

    Regardless, I’d like to offer up a preview of Mod’s experience with “Sunflower”:

    1. He’ll say it’s generally lame; more accurately, he’ll type out a funny, damning, near-Gerglian description of how nauseating he found the album, then shelve his comments for something a bit less vitriolic, as part of his ongoing effort to keep his quasi-hippie, I’m-okay-you’re-okay persona intact and not offend anybody. But his mind is already made up on this one — he, Sat and Gergles have all donned their Cool Kid Shades on this topic, and they’re clearly enjoying the leather jacket and Ramones jeans rush.

    For the record, I find the record sorta okay to pretty lousy, depending on whose contributions you’re hearing — with the exception of two or three quite strong tracks, which have been identified in previous posts (though I really don’t understand the love for “Add Some Music To Your Day,” which sounds to me like the song Walt Disney rejected in favor of “It’s a Small World”). I’d say about half the LP consists of tracks I don’t care about one way or the other, or tracks that are genuine turds of the first order of magnitude. (“Dierdre,” anyone?)

    2. Beyond this overarching assessment, Mod will assess the quality of the album’s individual tracks in the following order, from best to worst:

    1. This Whole World
    2. It’s About Time
    3. Slip On Through
    4. Our Sweet Love
    5. All I Wanna Do
    6. Add Some Music to Your Day
    7. Got to Know the Woman
    8. At My Window
    9. Cool, Cool Water
    10. Tears In the Morning
    11. Forever
    12. Dierdre

  66. Mr. Moderator

    Hrrundi, I’m listening to “‘Til I Die” now. I have not heard this song in I don’t know how many years. It’s OK, but I don’t get a lift out of it the way I do a great Beach Boys song, or even “Kokomo.” I’m not kidding you. Musically, they dialed this up. I’m sure the lyrics are depressing and uplifting, as Geo described, but it’s the beginning of what would have once been a great Beach Boys song.

    I’m standing by my earlier comment that “Darlin'” is a subpar Four Seasons song, which is an improvement over most of what I’ve been hearing from this period of post-Functional Brian Beach Boys.

    “Sail On Sailor” has a couple of decent segments in it, but it’s the musical equivalent of a gift shop trinket, like some seabird sculpture mounted on driftwood that seems like a good idea when you’re on vacation. Who sings lead on the album, Brian? I say this because the lead vocalist sounds nothing like a real Beach Boy, which has long been the sad state of Brian’s voice. Maybe it’s not musical gift shop trinkets that I should be thinking of but some midlife crisis fling that a square businessman might have with a dippy barmaid, like an Altman-era Shelly Duvall. Didn’t the real Beach Boys once sing a beautiful and knowing song called “That’s Not Me”?

    At least “Kokomo” is giagantic, initially satiating meal at some gaudy chain restaurant, like the Rainforest Cafe, or whatever that place is called. You may spend an hour in the john later that night, but at least it gave you something worth shitting out. “‘Sail On Sailor” is as interesting as breaded chicken on a bun from Chickfilet.

    I just checked out that “This Whole World” song and it blows away “Sail on Sailor”. For those of you who say you like “Sail on Sailor,” what’s going through your mind when you listen to that song? What are you feeling, you know, emotionally, if you can tap into that dynamic? I can’t put my finger on what lame ’70s band “Sail on Sailor” sounds like a proto-second-rate version of, maybe Captain and Tenille, if they ever let the Captain sing. And yes, I know Daryl Dragon played with the Beach Boys on some of these lousy songs you guys feel compelled to prop up. After cleaning your copies of Sunflower and 20/20 and Wild Honey and Surf’s Up and god only knows what other golden calf turds, do you shoot the grooves up with the same mixture of B12 and cocaine that they were shooting up Brian’s ass?

  67. saturnismine

    Okay, BigSteve, let me get this straight:

    First, it’s not okay to talk about the quality of Sunflower in comparison to the pre-Album era albums (even though you’re the one who made the comparison), because the discussion was supposed to be about post-Pet Sounds songs we like, not whether we think there’s anything after Pet Sounds that is *as good as* Pet Sounds.

    Then it IS okay to talk about it that way (as a “real” album) after I opine that it doesn’t have any top 5 songs on it?

    Whatever, dude.

    One could argue that since people are all citing different songs from it that there’s no consensus regarding what’s good about it. And that would only confirm my experiences with advocates of this album. They *want* it to be a great Beach Boys album because, for heaven’s sake, there has to be *something* of merit in their oeuvre after Pet Sounds. So this is the one they’ve all agreed to prop up. The “it’s a *real* album” rhetoric is not new to me. I’ve been hearing it for decades. But when it comes to the nitty gritty, when it comes to really citing where the quality can be found on that album, there’s no consensus because the cart is in front of the horse: this is what happens when people decide to like an album that’s not really very good. let’s say it’s a good album and worry about which songs on it are good later.

    good lord….the amounts of energy some of you people must waste justifying this garbage. do something worthwhile with that energy. be nice to an orphan or something.

    i’m listening to Sunflower right now, by the way, and i’m astonished by the advocacy of any of it.

    but i’m even more astonished that it took as long as it has for someone to note “It’s about Time” (written by committee thinking). If there’s ANY song on this album that rises ever-so-slightly above the muck to grab our attention, it’s that one. but not one of you Sunflower fans has mentioned it.

    sheesh….if they just tried to sell the album sleeve that says “Sunfower” on it, the printed matter containing all the cognoscenti sloganeering surrounding it, and they left the vinyl out, i think you guys would buy it.

    the rest of the album sounds like bad 70s variety show fodder (or as hvb says, like something disney rejected).

    the first song, “Slip on Through,” might not even pass for filler in an Archies cartoon. And what that means in reality is that if Dennis Wilson tried to *sell* this song to Don Kirshner, he’d probably be shown the door.

    If Sunflower wasn’t made by the Collective Formerly Known as the Beach Boys, it wouldn’t receive a second glance from most of you.

    if it was floated as a Klaatu-like attempt at sounding like the Beach Boys, you’d probably all turn your noses up at it.

    you get the picture: it’s a true naked emperor scenario.

  68. I think “I’m Bugged at My Old Man” is as chilling as listening to “My Mummy’s Dead” from Plastic Ono Band. With the benefit of the backstory, it stops being a funny teenager’s lament, and sounds like the target for a 300 page psychology major dissertation.

  69. Hey Art,

    Another big thank you for posting comments that I’m much too lazy to put together. Again, I really appreciate the fine work you’ve been doing because that leaves me more time to a) take the kids to my mother in law’s house b) pick up donuts, and c) eventually go to the movies tonight with my ball and chain to see “Milk”.

    I too am amazed at the number of people who champion ANY post Pet Sounds track. It’s almost like they feel that it’s their civic duty to engage in such activity. My secret theory is that they strongly identify with the dorkiness and total ineptitude of the post Brian Beach Boys and rejoice in the bonding with zeros from all over the world who have been never been respected for their hidden charms.

    As far as I’m concerned, you’ve either got the goods or you don’t. Plain and simple. I don’t piss my money away on support groups.

    That said, Brian clearly had the goods, on even something as silly as “You’re So Good to Me.” Even more alarming is the fact that that track alone, a total throwaway, is far superior than any post Pet Sounds turd. My money was well spent on all the LPs up to and including Pet Sounds.

    Hope all is well,
    E. Pluribus

  70. underthefloat

    snip: My secret theory is that they strongly identify with the dorkiness and total ineptitude of the post Brian Beach Boys and rejoice in the bonding with zeros from all over the world who have been never been respected for their hidden charms.


    Honestly, I like some post Pet Sounds music and I have no psychological connection to being a dork.

    Weird, my secret theory is deep down you know your a dork and can’t listen to anything that keeps you from reexperiencing this truth. Music MUST be cool for you or your back in high school with all the girls rejecting you! 😉
    I’m not even serious, I know nothing about you, nor you about me. Interesting to me that you need to put people in a box that get something out of music that you don’t.

    I do think some of the post Pet Sounds Beach Boys are dismissed a bit to easily by music critics per it’s NOT Pet Sounds. Yes, they had more then their share of bad tracks and bad albums. But to my ears they have been largely dismissed per they era it was made and/or them “not being cool” compared to music at the time or by any standard I guess. I know the come back from the Beach Boy haters will be “no I don’t like it because it sucks”. We’ll that’s fine by me. Honestly. But seriously, do you think that’s a daring position you are taking?

    I love finding something I really enjoy despite what Rolling Stone, Allmusic or what other with “music critics” might think about it. It’s all subjective to one’s own experience with the music or at least it should be. Some people talk like there is one musical truth..the one they hold. I know it’s passion but I never get it when it becomes an “I’m right and your wrong” arguement. I find that just silly. Again, I get that a lot of the back and forth is in fun but still….

    So, I’m fairly new here but I’m wondering if there has ever been a thread about album that you love that largely is not held in esteem by most music critics? I’m sure there has been but I’d simply love to read it.

  71. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Sat and Mod —

    I’m going to pull a George Stephanopolous on you here: do you reject, disagree with or condemn any of this Reverend Wright-caliber thinking?

    I too am amazed at the number of people who champion ANY post Pet Sounds track. It’s almost like they feel that it’s their civic duty to engage in such activity. My secret theory is that they strongly identify with the dorkiness and total ineptitude of the post Brian Beach Boys and rejoice in the bonding with zeros from all over the world who have been never been respected for their hidden charms.

  72. hrrundivbakshi

    To be clear, I reject it out of hand. However, I *do* believe the following with all my heart:

    I too am amazed at the number of people who champion ANY post “Freewheelin'” track. It’s almost like they feel that it’s their civic duty to engage in such activity. My secret theory is that they strongly identify with the dorkiness and total ineptitude of the post-folkie, electrified Dylan and rejoice in the bonding with zeros from all over the world who have been never been respected for their hidden charms.

  73. BigSteve

    Saturn, seriously I’m not trying to change your mind and shame you into liking Sunflower. You don’t hear it, and I’m perfectly fine with that. But this idea that we’ve “all agreed to prop up” the album is just silly. There really isn’t a Sunflower Preservation Society with meetings where we decide on strategy and “waste energy justifying this garbage.” Sheesh.

    My selection from the album was Forever. Someone else chose it too, but it’s near the bottom of hvb’s list. It’s a sentimental choice, and I’m aware that it’s a schmaltzy song. But the request was for five “favorites,” not five “greatest achievements.” Different propositions. Mr. Mod favors the gigantic meal that is Kokomo. Sometimes I prefer to imagine sharing a cookie with someone special.

    Now I have to go be nice to an orphan or something.

  74. alexmagic

    I’m glad the discussion has moved on from golden calf dick, golden calf anus and golden calf turds, must have been some New Year’s Day you guys had. I would like to throw out some questions on this difficult subject that I’ve run into:

    – Did anybody consider putting “Funky Pretty” on their list, but hold off because they were creeped out by the title and the very real possibility that they were singing about banging a lady space alien?

    – Does anyone take points off from “Heroes and Villains” because of that friggin’ whistle?

    – Has anybody here ever jumped up and down at the sight of a big brown bag of vegetables?

    – Did anybody ever take the band up on their request to send them a letter listing their favorite vegetables? Subquestion: Did Mike Love ever write an anonymous letter saying “Dear Brian, here is a list of my favorite vegetables: You”? Sub-subquestion: If so, when he later showed this letter to Bruce, did they high five or did they fist bump?

    Gotta agree with chickenfrank about what’s going on in “Bugged At My Old Man”. That last line – “and he doesn’t even know where it’s at” – the ‘it’ in question, I bet it was a gun.

  75. saturnismine

    Great post, BigSteve!

    And yes, we just have different opinions (thanks for entitling me to mine).

    Maybe there *should* be a Sunflower appreciation society. If such a society existed, then maybe you all could get your stories straight on which of its songs are “good.”

    As it is, appreciation society or no, where you hang your hat on liking these songs as opposed to thinking of them as great achievements by the Beach Boys, you come dangerously close to validating Plurbis’s theory about why anybody would claim to champion Sunflower.

    you too, hvb; your claim that you “have no psychological connection to being a dork,” is amazing in light of the rest of your post, which shows an astute knowledge of dork mentality.

    i like chickenfrank’s observation about ‘bugged’ (which i had to pull out and listen to), and i like, most of all, Alex’s questions, which do more to demonstrate the dreckiness of post – pet sounds beach boys than any head on argument I could make.

  76. dbuskirk

    Its odd how the ‘losers’ are the ones who have found a way to appreciate some out of the many virtues of SUNFLOWER and the ‘winners’ are those who are blind to its pleasures. And this is the most acclaimed Beach Boys record of the 70’s! Imagine if I mentioned how much I enjoy “Shortnin’ Bread”, “Male Ego” or “When Girls Get Together”!

    Sometimes I think people use their “highly refined taste” to hide the fact that nothing much turns them on any more. Its a little sad.

    (a loud public love of “Kokomo” is a sign that someone thinks the food at TGI Fridays is plenty good enough.)

  77. saturnismine


    there you guys go again with the “most accalaimed BB record of the 70s” rhetoric.

    who cares whether it’s acclaimed or not?

    do you know how long the list is of acclaimed record released by bands in their post glory days?

    The Who’s “It’s Hard” received 5 out of 5 stars by Rolling Stone and was heralded as a return to form for those who never thought they’d hear the who click again.

    your suggestion that my life is somehow less enriched by my “blindness” to the virtues of Sunflower makes me laugh. your notion that “nothing much turns me on anymore” because i can’t sit through a turd like Sunflower, however, makes me wretch.

    i’m consistently jazzed by lots of music of all different kinds, and from all different periods.

    and i don’t need to rooting through the subpar, lamer efforts of the Beach Boys after they had shot their wad to get turned on.

    give me a big fat hairy break.

  78. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Sat; I was just funning around, but I have *no* idea what the fuck you’re on about here. This statement makes no sense to me — and I mean that literally:

    As it is, appreciation society or no, where you hang your hat on liking these songs as opposed to thinking of them as great achievements by the Beach Boys, you come dangerously close to validating Plurbis’s theory about why anybody would claim to champion Sunflower.

    Perhaps you could explain? Then, you could tell me where you got this “quote” from, and what *it* means:

    you too, hvb; your claim that you “have no psychological connection to being a dork,” is amazing in light of the rest of your post, which shows an astute knowledge of dork mentality.

  79. BigSteve

    This ‘dork mentality’ issue is the best circular firing squad we’ve had in these parts in quite a while.

  80. saturnismine

    sensitive, aren’t we hvb? i was funnin’ around, too, of course.

    the first suggestion was that if BigSteve is surrendering the idea of this album as a great achievement while still claiming to like it, then he’s only a few steps away from doing exactly what plurbs says; championing it anyway, identifyiing with its lameness because he is lame.

    of course, BigSteve is not lame.

    so you see, that’s a JOKE son…a joke (albeit a poorly delivered one)

    same with my comment about you: i knew you were funnin’. and it struck me as funny that you claimed complete freedom from dorkiness (or whatever it was that you said) and then went on to post a defense of what i see as one of the dorkiest albums on the planet. in that moment, you started to resemble anthony michael hall in sixteen candles: only able to admit to being ‘king of the dipshits’ in a candid moment, but the rest of the time, not acknowledging his own dorkiness.

    sheesh…only dorks need this kind of thing explained to them.

    do you need some adhesive tape for the bridge of your spazz glasses?

    of course, BigSteve is right: this IS a circular firing squad! comedically so.

    i am among the dorkiest…i sincerely hope that rth’ers understand that this is how i feel about myself.

  81. saturnismine


    this just in.

    Sunflower still blows.

  82. hrrundivbakshi

    Ah. I think you have my dorky comments confused with somebody else’s.

  83. saturnismine

    in other news…

    scientists have the determined nerd to normal ratio among Sunflower appreciators to be close to 90 to 1.

  84. underthefloat

    hey hrrundivbakshi

    Saturn’s quote of yours , “hvb; your claim that you “have no psychological connection to being a dork,” …

    was actually mine. As to the logic of his posts..you are on your own there.

  85. Mr. Moderator

    underthefloat, your joking psychoanalysis of rock dorks needing their music to stay cool for protection has some merit!:)

    underthefloat wrote:

    I love finding something I really enjoy despite what Rolling Stone, Allmusic or what other with “music critics” might think about it. It’s all subjective to one’s own experience with the music or at least it should be. Some people talk like there is one musical truth..the one they hold. I know it’s passion but I never get it when it becomes an “I’m right and your wrong” arguement. I find that just silly. Again, I get that a lot of the back and forth is in fun but still….

    We all enjoy finding records to love despite what the critics say. What’s been happening in rock circles over all this time, and one of the things I’m playing around with in this thread, is that there comes a point when critics and obsessives like ourselves run out of things to say about the commonly accepted classics and seek overlooked albums to rally around. I’ve seen this happen with the Beach Boys’ records from this period. As someone who really loves a ton of Beach Boys songs through Pet Sounds, I can’t get on board with the Critical Upgrade that’s been given to these post-Brian albums. To me, they lack the snap in the arrangements and production, the unified vision, and so forth. For as groundbreaking as the Beach Boys were in their prime, they created their music within fairly narrow confines. I don’t think they had the goods to do anything but “Beach Boys”-type songs, either the slightly geeky surf rockers or the teenage symphonies to god. There are some rare songs outside those templates from their prime, such as “Girl Don’t Tell Me,” but for the most part they were never going to be a band that could develop, like The Beatles, The Who, or even the Stones. I don’t think they were cut out to move into the late-60s, even had Brian kept it together. You are more than free to disagree, and as you noted, underthefloat, anything any of us says is in good spirit and for the sport of expressing how we feel about the music we care about. I actually think it does a disservice to the legacy of the Beach Boys to try to elevate those post-Functional Brian albums to anywhere near the level of their great singles.

    So, I’m fairly new here but I’m wondering if there has ever been a thread about album that you love that largely is not held in esteem by most music critics? I’m sure there has been but I’d simply love to read it.

    Yes, these pieces, whether focusing on a particular album or an artist, are often titled as part of a loosely organized “Critical Upgrade” series. Some of these pieces are more tongue in cheek than others, but sincere ones include BigStetve on Pylon, The Great 48 on De La Soul’s second album, me on Roy Wood’s Boulders… I also did a weeklong Battle Royale comparing Rod Stewart and Faces’ releases against Stones releases during a similar stretch of years. It was also a sincere, thought-provoking (if I do say so myself) approach to these issues.

    I hope these answers are helpful, and I hope you keep hanging with us and our occasional nonsense. Thanks.

  86. To every fuck out there who’s brought up “The Rolling Record Guide”:

    1) Rolling Stone was ALWAYS considered to be the worst of all rock mags, especially with me and all my punk buddies, and yeah, I’m standing up for me and my gang, who grew up in Central PA, where it actually took some balls to stand up for what you thought was great, where somebody would actually threaten to beat the living shit out of you on a consistent basis for wearing a shirt from the Goodwill.

    I don’t know Rolling Stone from squat. As far as I know, they’re most probably still championing the careers of Jackson Browne, The Who, and Dire Straits. That said, I believe their critics were smart enough back them to give a giant thumbs down to all the post Pet Sounds LPs, which was around the same time they opened their doors for buisness. And dissing those LPs was a pretty bold move considering how much cash and coke those folks were getting from Brother Records.

    2) The only reason most of you decided to give any of those Beach Boys LPs a second thought is because Mojo or some other publication told you to do so. You know damned well that that is indeed the case. I’m waiting for someone with balls to step up to the plate and take a real swing here. I’ve been burnt numerous times by that fucking magazine before I finally figured it out that it was all about paying bills. That would probably make a good thread -the last time you got burnt by Mojo’s “Buried Treasure” column or any review for that matter.

    3) As far as Dylan’s output up to and including Blonde on Blonde is concerned, it makes not a whit of difference if you can’t figure out what he’s going on about. One of his lines is worth way more than than the total creative output of the post Pet Sounds Beach Boys. On those electric LPs, his band is always smoking hot, and most important of all is the fact that he’s unbelievably cool, supergoodlooking, and witty as hell -three things that can’t be said of any post Pet Sounds Beach Boy. Again, if you haven’t figured out that those three things are vitally important in pop, you’ve got to be mentally retarded.

    4) And Alex Magic? Fuck you too! What I’m trying to do is zero in on the truth of the matter. Take a good look at the gang that’s championing this shit. They all look like post Pet Sounds Beach Boys, and they never having anything new or inventive to say about anything. It’s always splitting hairs and “I think it’s actually Lee Hazelwood playing the triangle at the very end of Vegetables”. It’s pop for Christ’s sake. Again, it’s all about looking good, being cool, and appearing to have something interesting to say. Sincerity doesn’t really mean shit. As long as it looks and sounds good, that’s all that matters. I have no problem accepting those rules because the entertainment factor consistently remains high. We’re not talking Jonas Salk or Louis Pasteur, for Christ’s sake. We’re talking about people who have to get their stomachs pumped after sucking too much cock all night long!

    Get out of the fucking lab!

    E. Pluribus

  87. I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m amazed at how the backstory here has shaped people’s evaluation of the songs. That is, we all should/do despise Mike Love, so in the spirit of cosmic justice, we conclude that no post-PS songs could possibly be any good.

    I would argue that Sunflower, Surf’s Up and 20/20 follow the same strategy as the pre-PS records: a handful of songs that aspire to be hit singles and the rest filler. Indeed, let’s not forget, to some degree, the Brian Wilson is a genuius backstory until after PS obscures the fact that he was cranking out a lot of lightweight tunes pre-PS at the behest of Love and the rest of the band.

    Apart from the production issues, songs like Sail on Sailor and Cool Water would not sound out of place on PS/Smiley Smile. Sail on Sailor (co-written with Van Dyke Parks) and Cool Water have the same complex harmonies/chordal resolutions as anything on PS.

  88. Mr. Moderator

    Hrrundi, to answer your Stephanopolous question, yes I am fine with people thinking both that AND underthefloat’s tongue-in-cheek converse question. If our passion for music is not somehow tied up in who we are, then this entire RTH affair is a waste of my time. I occasionally ask asshole-ish questions like, “What are you feeling when you listen to Sparks?” but I truly am curious to know what someone’s feeling while enjoying a record that in no way resonates with me. The answer can be helpful in both my understanding of that record and my knowledge of that person. I find that the more I know how people tick the more I like them, so for me this justifies most of the occasionally asocial queries we pose in threads such as this one.

  89. Mr. Moderator

    Dr. John wrote:

    I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m amazed at how the backstory here has shaped people’s evaluation of the songs. That is, we all should/do despise Mike Love, so in the spirit of cosmic justice, we conclude that no post-PS songs could possibly be any good.

    Well, I think Mike Love is the second best thing in the Beach Boys – and maybe the best thing once Brian checked out. To my ears, he was always the only other guy in that band who gave off a distinctive, unmistakable personality. Without Love and Brian, the other Beach Boys strike me as pretty uninteresting guys, musically speaking, that is. I have no idea what any of them were like as people.

  90. BigSteve

    In fact it was Rolling Stone magazine that pretty much single-handedly rehabilitated the Beach Boys’ reputation with a major cover article around the time of the Surf’s Up album. Before that no one in the US took them seriously, though in the UK they had apparently retained some cred. After this article people like me discovered that there was something to the Beach Boys besides those adolescent hits from the 60s. At some point afterwards those twofers of the albums right after Pet Sounds were also released, and we enjoyed them too. I didn’t get Sunflower until much later, for some reason, and it’s actually not my favorite of the albums of that era.

    So I can’t speak to what somebody’s punk buddies in central PA read or how they formed their musical taste. But that’s how it happened for me and my friends.

  91. underthefloat

    Mr. Mod,

    Thanks for the clarification! I honestly didn’t know that some critics are giving post Pet Sounds B.B. music more due these days (then the prior days of taking such albums to the wood shed). I appreciate the need to be cautious on such potentially bored, rebound assessments by critics. That said…I do think, at times, it helps to have distance from the era the music was made to get a fresh take. But I get, to a degree, some of the “group think” posts regarding those who like Sunflower a bit better now. Mind you, not that I agree with them. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks again for giving me context!

  92. Big Steve,

    Told ya I didn’t know squat about Rolling Stone!

    E. Pluribus

  93. saturnismine

    underthefloat / hvb, sorry i mistook the former’s words for the latter’s.

    underthefloat, what does it mean to “have no psychological connection to being a dork?”

    this has been a very stimulating thread. it’s just disappointing to see such high-mindedness (or is it high-handedness) among some of the pro-Sunflower folks (BigSteve is the only one willing to say, in so many words, “hey, look…I know it aint all that, but i DO like it, okay?”).

    as a healing moment, i propose viewing this video:


    btw, none of the Beach Boys were involved in the writing of this song.

  94. dbuskirk

    I don’t think anyone is saying SUNFLOWER is a flawless gem (what is…’cept maybe Skip Spence’s OAR) just that there is a lot to like on it. One side seems to think they’ve spotted some particular quality that denies SUNFLOWER’s validity. Your immaculately tuned ears are not hearing anything I’m not, I’m just enjoying the effect, where you are not. That’s why they make menus, not everyone is going to see the supremacy of a ham sandwich, some like soup.

    I do feel a little though like I’m talking to the guys who could never hook up during that college weekend at the women’s college. Always complaining that a girl’s teeth were too small or her feet were too big or whatever. Some people just can’t loosen up and enjoy things.


  95. underthefloat

    Why do I feel I’ll always be remembered on this blog for that quote? (shudder)

    It was in specific response to a post that implied that one’s liking of later day Beach Boys could only come from some sort of deep inner-child dork need. So whether that opinion was in full jest or not, I just responded to someone assuming one’s (my) motives for liking something. Sorry, someone assuming my motives for enjoying something tends to annoy me. But, hey that just me. I know Mr. E. is probably messin’ around and no big deal to me even if he’s not.

    But in sum, no I don’t like the Beach Boy’s Sunflower disc because it scratches my inner dork itch or per some deep need to unite with fellow dorks.
    My need for dork companionship is why I came to this site.

  96. saturnismine


    this is gibberish to me.

    i never said anything about having immaculately tuned ears.

    ham? soup? teeth?

    i’m not giving Sunflower (or women) overly critical scrutiny.

    i didn’t like it the first time i heard it.

    i’ve only listened to it a few times since then, and each time, i don’t like it.

    so, no, i haven’t given it a close listen. but i *have* given it a fair shake. i don’t want to have to listen so closely, and think so hard, to “get” an album. if we’ve reached that point in our potential to appreciate a particular album, then we’re fucked.

    i’d much rather just move on if i don’t like something. put a better way, i’d rather just listen to things that allow me to “loosen up and enjoy things.”

    maybe you should follow this advice of yours, which i’ve just quoted.

  97. BigSteve

    Saturn, the comment about your finely tuned ears sent me back to one of your earlier posts. You said you only owned the vinyl, and then you wrote this:
    “they’re [i.e., the songs on Sunflower] mastered in this shitty ‘duophonic’ format:
    it’s horrifying isn’t it? it really shits the bed.”

    I finally went and followed your link to a description of duophonic, which I am now reminded was what they called that fake stereo they used to use on mono recordings. I got my headphones out, and I checked to see if the version of Sunflower I have is a true stereo mix. It is.

    So, if all you’ve ever heard is your vinyl copy, and if it was in fact mastered duophonically, you haven’t been listening to the same album the rest of us have. You still might not like the songs or the arrangements, since you don’t seem to have much stomach for later Beach Boys in general, but maybe now there’s an explanation for why you think the sound of Sunflower sucks so badly.

    Please correct me if I’ve misinterpreted what you wrote.

  98. Hey underthefloat,

    Just a couple of things:

    1) If I pissed you off, I apologize. It’s just that, to the ears at least, Sunflower is the aural equivalent of one of those roadkill farts, i.e one of those megastinkers resulting from the digestion of things like scrambled eggs, venison, and antibiotics. The stench is objectively bad. You’ll find not one human being in the universe that looks forward to its emission.

    2) Bisquick’s always throwing “The Rolling Stone Record Guide” at me regardless of the fact that I don’t even know if such a thing exists. What I do know is that he can’t understand why I don’t like the thing despite the fact that its been acclaimed by so many critics. I find that interesting.

    3) Tonight’s double header at the movies with the ball and chain was pretty disappointing. Both “Milk” and “Doubt” were mediocre at best. Years ago, I rented a documentary on Harvey Milk, and that was an absolute winner. Gotta see that one again at some point.

    4) New blood is welcome around here. I don’t agree with much of what you say, but your heart is definitely in the right place. Anything that brings one relief from Bisquick’s never ending insipidness is always appreciated.

    God bless,
    E. Pluribus

  99. Mr. Moderator

    I like the way we’re working through this. I just got back from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a long, sequential, plot-heavy movie that challenged my sensibilities but won me over enough owing to its sweetness, sad ending, and the joy of watching it with my oldest son and one of his friends, both of whom marveled at it. I wish the movie had been done by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp; it was lacking in magic. Where did David Fincher get his heart, though? That was shocking.

  100. underthefloat


    1) I wasn’t really that pissed, more like a bit annoyed for a moment. I only reluctantly revisited it again per Saturn wondering what I was going on about. No harm done, but anyway, nice of you to apologize. Regarding the music differences….as the famous saying goes, “one man’s road kill gas is another man’s nitrous oxide”.

    2) I’m new here so yeah I won’t always get the history of what has preceded discussions. I’ll try not to step in the middle of the game board to many times. I don’t even know who you are talking about yet..that how new I am!

    3) I’m sorry to hear that both were a disappointment. Especially Milk. I’m sure I’ll still see it. In 83-84 or so, I saw the Harvey Milk documentary at a movie theatre. A very good documentary in deed. I’ve been thinking of seeing it again per this film’s release reminding me.
    Most recent film I saw was A Christmas Story. You prob know it’s not what it might sound like per it’s a French film about seriously messed up family. I liked it but didn’t love it as much as some reviewers have.

    4) Man, I didn’t think I’d been here long enough to be noticed yet alone mostly disagreed with! 🙂
    That’s fine though. Although, the Harvey Milk doc is one thing we agree on.
    I recall that my sister’s mother-in law knew Dan White to some degree. Not that that’s a good thing.

    Thanks for the note,


  101. dbuskirk

    Thanks for the apology Gergle, I trusted that your best instincts would take over. It means a lot to us when you can momentarily be big. I guess maybe the good vibes from listening to SUNFLOWER finally took root with you.

    By the way “critically acclaimed” was never mentioned, just “acclaimed”, meaning among Beach Boy fans and even on compilations, SUNFLOWER gets major representation. By pointing to such acclaim I was just saying that, among Beach Boys fans, defending SUNFLOWER is considerably less controversial then defending, say the “Here Comes The Night” 12″ single.

    I’m still surprised that someone could be a fan of the early stuff and be in complete disdain of the later stuff. Many of the same strengths are present, mainly great harmonies and melodies. If one thinks the lyrics to “Add Some Music To Your Day” are corny (great bridge on that one) I’m not sure what they could think about the drag racing lyrics to “Don’t Worry Baby”.

  102. saturnismine

    Underthefloat, thanks for your response. gotcha. no problems there.

    BigSteve, thanks for re-visiting my point about duophonic sound. indeed, my duophonic version sounds like poo. and, as you acknowledge, i don’t think it would make much of a difference in how i feel about the songs. but as someone who has always claimed that “writing, performance, arrangement, production, and mastering are all connected,” i have to admit that maybe if it had better sound, i might feel differently about Sunflower. however, most of the stuff from this period, whether it’s duophonic or not, bears the same characteristics i’m hearing on my duophonic version: thin vocals, poor choices of instrumentation, a misguided fascination with synths, and with tracking rather than recording vocal parts live around one mic. still, a full stereo version would probably help some of these songs.

    d-bus, thanks to you, too for going back to the “acclaimed” moment in our exchange and clarifying. it does definitely change my view of the point you were making. i never thought of defending Sunflower as controversial, however. in fact, around these parts, it’s the other way around: criticizing Sunflower is to go into the teeth of RTH.

    i want to clarify one thing for you: my feelings regarding Sunflower are very simple. i don’t like it. when i started all this by saying that my needle begs for relief from those grooves, i really meant it. and i’ve never been able to understand the acclaim for it, critical or otherwise, as it usually comes from astute listeners like yourself.

    so i listened to it again yesterday while i was writing my first post in this topic, and i had to fight my every instinct to keep from turning it off, just so that i could remember the details of the album and give it another shot. it made for a very unpleasant start to my day (as my subsequent posts confirm).

    my perspective was “holy shit, man…i just spent an hour with this piece of shit, and it’s clearly not at a high level, but every time i open RTH, usually a bastion of all i think is RIGHT with rock and roll, there’s someone else logging on to voice a half hearted defense of it, while accusing me (or plurb) of ‘hating music’ in general, or dismissing it reflexively, because it’s a mike love era album.” it was a frustrating place to be, to say the least. I hope you can understand.

    trust me when i say that it’s not as you suggest above with your “girl with bad teeth” anology: i’m not sitting there finding nitpicky problems with what i think is a solid album simply because it’s not as good as Pet Sounds. For me to like Sunflower, i’d have to do the opposite of nitpicking: i’d have to scour the sonic landscape to find the teeny tiny little things that make it okay.

    and there’s nothing in the posts above from the pro-Sunflower camp to suggest that this isn’t what y’all are doing when you hear Sunflower.

    i could “go there” if i wanted, but i don’t want to. i want to fall in love with a song the first time i hear it! you wouldn’t believe how expansive the universe of songs that do that to me is (which is why i took such exception to your suggestion that because i don’t like Sunflower, nothing much turns me on; given the way i have always described my approach music here at RTH, i hope you can understand why I took that as a REAL cheap shot).

    I can understand all the arguments you eloquent fellows are making in favor of this album, but it seems to me that they’re all dependent on the bar being much lower than it oughta be…and much lower than where you place it for most of the other bands we discuss around here.

    look: just as much as the next RTH’er, i like sitting with music that doesn’t hook me right away and thinking about *how* I can love it, or how I might apply my rock knowledge to understanding why it sounds the way it does.

    it can be a real fruitful excercise. but i can only do so much of it, because, after all is said and done, the music emanating from the speakers is still music i basically don’t like. moreover, i just don’t think it has any place in a discussion about our *favorite* songs from any period, by any band. and i don’t ever want to lose sight of the pleasure zone..the viscera.

    d-bus, your comparison of cornballs: “Add some music” vs. “Don’t Worry Baby” is a gauntlet thrown down indeed!! Good show!

    How IS it that the drippy adolescent concerns of the latter hit the mark so well, while the platitudes of the latter sound so flat, even insincere to my ears? All I can say is that even though I’ve never participated in a drag race, there’s so much about “Don’t Worry Baby” that speaks to me that i find it irresistible. Just the notion of having someone facing my troubles and fears with me, someone to tell me not to worry, gives the earlier song an edge.

    RTH’ers, let’s take up this question!!

  103. saturnismine

    I wrote: How IS it that the drippy adolescent concerns of the latter hit the mark so well, while the platitudes of the latter sound so flat, even insincere to my ears?

    Should say: …while the platitudes of the FORMER (i.e. “Add some music”) sound so flat…


  104. BigSteve

    Friends don’t let friends listen to duophonic ‘stereo.’ Saturn, burn that LP immediately!

  105. dbuskirk

    Maybe it is hippie-phobia that turns people off from SUNFLOWER. Its definitely an underlying element to the record and you know how uncomfortable that makes some listeners, like grandpa seeing a kid’s hair touch his collar.

    I’ll stop all the Accuser-esque provocations to say I believe Art when he says he has a gut feeling against SUNFLOWER. I believe when I discovered it in college it was well before revisionist Beach Boys lore elevated it. Funny, when I met Brian Wilson during his first solo album press tour in ’88, 99% of the people who came to meet him had him sign beach balls and copies of ENDLESS SUMMER. They must have thought they were meeting Mike Love.

    Anyway, I liked SUNFLOWER right away, I didn’t need to talk myself into it. That’ the underlying thing that bugs me about your critique, it isn’t that you don’t like it, it is that you question the sincerity of those who do. And you know how it is, people frequently go on the offense with charges of which they themselves are guilty.

    Last point: the Beach Boys catalog is rife with bad lyrics.

  106. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Sat — I appreciated your essay, but I do have a follow-up question: how do you reconcile these two statements?

    1.) i want to fall in love with a song the first time i hear it!


    2.) i like sitting with music that doesn’t hook me right away and thinking about *how* I can love it.

    I’m not saying that both can’t be true, but in the context of your message, things got a bit confused for me. You seemed to be suggesting that your *instant* dislike of Sunflower was the thing that made you realize your hatred of it was “legitimate” (my quotes, not yours). This, of course, doesn’t jibe with statement 2.) above.

    Having said all that, I’ve been meaning to write down my over-arching thoughts about the post-Pet Sounds Beach Boys to clarify my position. Here goes:

    Most of what the Beach Boys recorded post-Pet Sounds was of markedly inferior quality to the band’s golden era. (Which, by the way, does NOT start at the first couple of albums, at least for me. I had to roll my eyes when E. Pluribus Argyle Socks seemed to suggest that “Surfin’ Safari” was somehow a Great Beach Boys album.)

    As I’ve said before, my anti-mellow-groove-hippie-guarachi sandals-poncho-John Phillips’ Hat biases keep me from being able to enjoy most “caftan rock” of the sort you find on many of these albums. And the hopelessly naive, mostly bat-shit crazy, “childlike” Brian version of this form is even more grating to me. So that cuts out a huge chunk of this stuff.

    Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston were songwriters of no value, Dennis Wilson’s contributions were boring at best and bathetic at worst, and the less said about the Mike Love-authored tracks the better. So where does that leave us? Carl wrote an occasional track worth listening to, and that voice of his makes up for a lot of mediocre songcraft. Brian continued to offer up a good song or two on almost all these albums, with a few killer tracks I just don’t understand anyone not liking.

    Bottom line: as I’ve said before for other bands — there’s about a C-60’s worth of good-to-great music across the entire post-Pet Sounds catalog. (Not including “Smile,” which I’ll go to the mat for any day.) The music I’d put on that C-60 is special to me, and I’d miss it terribly if I didn’t have it in my life. BUT: to be fair, that’s not a lot of quality across, what, 10 albums or something?

  107. saturnismine

    thanks hvb.

    i think if you read the post again, you’ll see that i outline how both of the statements you’ve quoted out of context are true for me, and how i think both approaches are important for my views of Sunflower, and the views of others as well. It’s all there. read again.

    But this may help clarify:

    You weigh in with an unusually even hand today! Not the norm for you, fer shure. Clearly, I place myself more than a few shades to the left on this topic.

    My view comes from the experience of having to sit through this stuff. The only way I could engage it was through the latter method (the close listen, the *thinking* listen). And although that can be a “fruitful” exercise, as I acknowledge above, it was mostly painful in these cases. I’ve learned alot about these releases because, after all, they’re by a band i love, and so i’ve listened…yes…but not nearly as much as I would if those songs went straight for the pleasure spot before i had a chance to think.

    with some bands, the thinking exercise yields great results (let’s see…i think i say some things in our recent croce thread that come from listening to him that way…that certainly wasn’t a visceral love…that was hard won). But not so (for me, at least) with Sunflower, or any of the other post-PS material I own.

    You’ll get some howling objections to your assessment of Bruce Johnston, but not from me, man.

    where you say “I’d miss it terribly if I didn’t have in my life” did you omit a word?

    Would your c-60 be the tracks you list in numbered order above? If so, I would probably make a similar cd, but only if someone put a gun to my head. don’t put one in the mail to me!

  108. saturnismine

    d-bus, thanks for the response! i’m definitely not a hippie-phobe, but i think your theory is viable with other anti-Sunflower-ists!

    just LOOK at that picture of a bearded, pseudo-guru-looking Mike Love inside the gatefold. that would be enough to make any hippie-hater run screaming in the opposite direction.

    i think i remember reading that it was around the Sunflower period that the beach boys were either starting to gain cache with deadheads, or they were courting it. can you verify?

    i’m still thinking about your cornball song deathmatch (Add some Music vs. Don’t worry Baby). I will post when I can… I encourage other RTH’ers to follow suit.

  109. hrrundivbakshi

    Gotcha, Sat, and understood.

    No missing word in the phrase “I’d miss it terribly if I didn’t have it in my life.”

    Also want to add: “Sunflower” is mediocre — a few good tracks, a bunch of yawners, and a modest mound of truly rotten dog shit. Further, the critical assessment that it’s somehow a good album because it’s an album by the baaaannnnd is laughable. What, by adding Johnston, Jardine and Dennis to the songwriters’ list, you make *better* music?!

  110. BigSteve

    If you leave out Pet Sounds and the Good Vibrations single could you come up with a C60’s worth of really primo BB material (which means no Surfin’ USA of Surfin’ Surfari). Maybe. The whole cars and surfing thing was kind of bullshit, a bit embarrassing now.

    The transition from adolescence to adulthood is what a lot of BB music is about. Even something like I Get Around feels like it’s beginning to grasp the concept of adult relationships.

    The innocence vs. experience thing continues into the post-Smile era. I’ve written here before that one of the fascinating things about the Love You album is Brian’s refusal to grow up lyically. The other members found their way into adulthood to varying degrees.

    You may not like those songs about ecology/health food/politics, but at least they were written about things they and their listeners actually cared about. Even the caftan rock reflects life as it was actually lived during that time. (I’m trying not to fall into the Sincerity Fallacy here. I’m not saying it’s good because it accurately represents the lives of the band members, but rather that it’s true to the lives of their audience.)

    Some of these lyrics may be innocent to the point of naivete (cf. Take a Load Off Your Feet), but the love songs go back and forth. Dennis was probably the most successful at portraying adult sexuality, but the song Forever that made my list early in this thread reads almost like a note written to a high school crush.

    I know I’ve been talking only about lyrics. It’s easy to argue that the post-Smile music doesn’t hold up the earlier stuff. But the music Brian made in 66-67 was at a level few if any musicians can sustain. And even his best music was often undermined by immature lyrics, which is probably why Van Dyke Parks went in the direction of surrealism. Brian obviously had no intention of growing up. Things might have been different if the pop music marketplace would have let him write instrumental music.

  111. BigSteve

    Hvb, the point was not that Sunflower is good or better because all of the band members were fully involved. The idea was just that it is in fact a Beach Boys album, whereas Pet Sounds was a Beach Boys album in name only. It wasn’t a value judgment.

  112. I listened to Sunflower yesterday, and I can fairly say, it is not a masterpiece by any stretch. About half of it is good, however. As I said earlier, the band I think consciously or not is imitating Brian’s work on Pet Sounds. The songs work according to what degree they have strong melodies and interesting chord changes. Whether the lyrics don’t hold up or the band’s outlook is too hippie doesn’t concern me as much. For me, the band was always about sounds more than words. Let’s face it, none of these guys were particularly deep thinkers. Especially Mike Love.

    There’s no question in my mind that Don’t Worry Baby is far superior to Add Some Music. The latter really irritates me as it sounds like a self-parody. Lots of spiritual uplift with no substance at all. And it goes on forever too.

    Not only does Don’t Worry Baby have truly mindblowing chord changes (making it one of the best songs that Brian ever wrote), it is one of their hipper numbers. When I hear it, I think of Rebel without a Cause. When I hear Add Some Music, I think (as someone else remarked) of Disney World.

  113. Had Sunflower been recorded by anyone but the Beach Boys, it would have most probably been totally forgotten and assumed it’s rightful place alongside the Warner Bothers albums by Badfinger, Jackie Lomax, and Lon and Derek Van Eaton (during the mid 70s, WB was willing to take a chance on just about anybody).

    If this much time is going to be wasted on Sunflower, why not have a reconsideration of someone like Dan Fogelberg or Dan Hill? Granted neither of them did anything worth a shit, but I don’t see them being any better or worse that post Pet Sounds Beach Boys. My heart goes out to them and those of their ilk who are most probably just as bad/good and don’t get a second look.

    E. Pluribus

  114. hrrundivbakshi

    YES, E. Pluribus Gargoyle! Dennis Wilson’s shit is absolutely on a par with, like, Kris Kristofferson or something. Carl’s, with, I don’t know, really good Kenny Loggins. Johnston is fucking Barry Manilow, Jardine doesn’t factor, and Love (on his own) is a rock skidmark. Because the contributions by Dennis and Carl don’t actually TOTALLY suck the bad part of the typical rock critic/Beach Boys apologist’s ass, they’re reckoned to be as great — or almost as great, in their own nebulous “Dennis/Carl kind of way” — as Brian’s best stuff. Which is just laughable.

    I think where you and I diverge is on the notion that there’s nothing of any value at all in those later releases. Brian — on his own and in concert with others in the band — came up with some real gems, and Carl had one or two winners. Sez me.

  115. BigSteve

    I’d like to see a citation of anyone here, or anywhere else really, saying Dennis and Carl’s Beach Boys contributions are “as great — or almost as great […] — as Brian’s best stuff.”

  116. Hrundi,

    As I stated earlier, The Beach Boys’ finest post Pet Sounds moment is the backing vocal work on Chicago’s “Wishing You Were Here.” It’s truly a great record, despite the fact that Chicago is responsible for it. Again, I always give credit where credit is due.

    The only other effort that comes close is “Surf’s Up”, and that never cuts the mustard because it eventually turns into a Van Dyke Parks verbal cesspool that adds up to nothing.

    E. Pluribus

  117. 1. Fair warning: I skimmed the whole Plurb/Sat/Bakshi circle jerk, so I’m missing a lot.

    2. There seems to be a feeling that there was an overnight shift from “Surfin’ USA” to PET SOUNDS, which doesn’t take into account the ’64/’65 material that is the RUBBER SOUL and HEKLP! to PET SOUNDS’ REVOLVER. In other words, TODAY and SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS are rather kickass albums in their own rights, though they have a couple duff tracks each.

    3. It pains me to agree with either Plurbs or Sat on this, but yeah, SUNFLOWER sucks. Always has.

    4. Mod’s hair-splitting that SMILEY SMILE is eligible but the later reconstituted songs taken from SMILE are not is bullshit.

    5. “Disney Girls”

    6. “Busy Doin’ Nothin'”

    7. “Feel Flows”

    8. “Cabinessence”

    9. “Til I Die”

    10. “Surf’s Up” doesn’t make the list because the canonical version remains the late-1966 piano and voice version that eventually ended up on the box set.

  118. hrrundivbakshi

    BigSteve, I just tried to post a bunch of examples, per your request, but some RTH anti-spam filters are keeping me from doing so. I sent my material to Mod and Thebackoffice to see if they can figure out what’s wrong, and to make sure I have witnesses!

  119. Flamingolicious,

    I don’t recall anyone up here thinking some sort of overnight shift occurred. Everyone’s well aware that the band evolved.

    More importantly, what’s your stand on Chicago’s “Wishin’ You Were Here”?

    E. Pluribus

  120. BigSteve

    I could see how Wishing You Were Here might be judged “one of the greatest make out songs of all time,” if your make-out sessions never lasted longer than 2:59. I’m more familiar with the concept of make-out albums.

  121. Mr. Moderator

    Let’s see if I can post what Hrrundi wanted to post in response to BigSteve’s challenge. Nice work, Hrrundi!

    Hrrundi wrote me offlist:

    DENNIS WILSON’s … contributions to The Beach Boys’ albums in the late ’60s and ’70s showed that perhaps big brother Brian wasn’t the
    only genius in the group.

    — Kingsley Abbot, MOJO

    The Beach Boy’s ‘lost’ Pacific Ocean Blue is soon to be back in print – with an extra disc of sessions from the follow-up. Is this the new Smile?

    — Mark Hooper, The Guardian

    Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue, released 30 years ago, is majestic and haunting, a work as rich and complex as almost anything the Beach Boys released. So why is it out of print?

    … and:

    Stebbins says his first impression of the album reminded him “of David Bowie and John Lennon…and a little of Bruce Springsteen. Dennis was
    experimenting more with modern textures and instruments. It just completely blew me away that this was coming from Dennis in the context of the Beach Boys—and how far he was from the rest of them.”

    — Tony Sclafani, popmatters.com

    There’s more out there, but…

  122. Mr. Moderator

    I think I remember liking “Cabinessence.” Did no one suggest that song until The Great 48?

  123. You forbade it. I think it was a Smile left over.

  124. Big Steve wrote:

    “I’m more familiar with the concept of make-out albums.”

    Congratulations, Big Boy. And by the way, here’s something else to think about:

    . . . .In seeking out some tracks and an entire album by Jefferson Airplane
    last night, I came across an album by another SF band I’d always
    heard about but never heard, Sons of Champlin. The album I stumbled
    across is called Follow Your Heart. After checking it out last night,
    I’m tempted to say that I’ve finally found a SF band I can sink my
    teeth into: really soulful singing, nice ensemble playing, little of
    the melodrama that has always bogged me down with Jefferson Airplane.
    Along with the title track, I was impressed by “Children
    Know”, “Before You Righ Now”, “Hey Children”, and “Child Continued”.
    Anything else worth checking out by this band?

    E. Pluribus

  125. BigSteve

    Only the first quote comes close to meeting the challenge. I specifically asked about “Dennis and Carl’s Beach Boys contributions.” Therefore opinions on Dennis’ solo album Pacific Ocean Blue do not qualify. And even the first quote does not actually claim that Dennis’ songs are “as good as Brian’s best,” merely that “perhaps” Dennis was also a genius, presumably in some kind of nebulous Dennis/Carl way .

    I like POB quite a bit, but I still don’t think anybody here said anything quite so hyperbolic.

    On another note, I know the Sons of Champlin thing is some kind of running joke, but I can never remember what it’s in reference to.

  126. hrrundivbakshi

    Here’s another:

    But it’s in his music that, I think, the observer gets the purest picture of Dennis Wilson’s inner soul. Demons and angels alike cavort among the melodies, with shimmering piano lines, the equal of anything with Brian Wilson dreamed of, sharing space with dark reflections of doubt and despair.

    And this notion that I’ve not answered your challenge is a bit disingenuous; Dennis’ “solo” work was appropriated for the “L.A.” album, and I can think of no reason to draw a line between what ended up on “Pacific Ocean Blue” and what either did — or might have — ended up on a Beach Boys album.

    The quote above is from beachboys.com, by the way. And if you want to read something truly depressing, check out:


  127. alexmagic

    I’m looking at that solo Beach Boys page, and I’m both frightened and intrigued to hear that Looking Back With Love Mike Love album, which is said to have “lecherous, innuendo-filled originals” in light of one of the songs being named “Rockin’ The Man In The Boat”.

  128. saturnismine

    brilliant post great 48. just brilliant. and thank you for being the only one to back me on my objection (which I surrendered for the greater good) to mod’s hairsplitting policy re. the Smiley Smile material.

    BigSteve is the king of disingenuous sidesteps today (regarding makeout songs, and critical attempts to place dennis on the same level as Bryan).

    I’m done with this thread…not out of anger or anything…there’s just not much more to say.

  129. BigSteve

    Saturn, thanks for complimenting my ingenuity. That’s almost the same as disingenuity, right?

    Pointlessly persnickety pince nez: It’s Brian, not Bryan.

    As I said, I quite like (most of) Dennis’ Pacific Ocean Blue, its expanded reissue being most welcome. And his Baby Blue on L.A. is beautiful. To me the real lost classic is Dennis singing Carl’s Angel Come Home on that album. (This song was also nicely covered in a very different arrangement by Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo with a vocal by Billy Burnette.) But I do think that Dennis’ work is way too susceptible to backstory-based critical reaction.

    I bought that first Carl Wilson album when it came out. I love Carl, and I thought he did a lot of fine work with the Beach Boys, but that album was pretty lame.

    I’m worn out too. Who’da thunk this would turn into one of those epic threads?

  130. But wait, I haven’t weighed in! I’ve been sitting quietly in the corner…

    I like Sunflower. I’m not about to explain why, but I understand why you guys hate it. I remember playing playing Love You around a music nut who thought it was terrible. I can see why, but I love it.

    I buy into the whole Brian/genius love thing. I think that’s key here. I will defend Brian’s crap to the grave just because I love the man so much. It’s deeply personal for me as his music (the later-period music, in particular) really got me through the tough times. It because of this unfiltered love I have that I “connect” to what many consider crap. There’s no argument. I simply like it and that’s that, but don’t worry. If I ever encounter some of you late-period haters, I won’t cram it down your throats. We’ll just jam to some Stones, which is also fine enough for me.

    I can never understand why we can just simply hate some things. I have tried to like The Hunter by Blondie. I bought the reissue because I am completist, but for the life of me, I cannot make it through that record all the way. My best friend adores Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields. I have tried to love them, but I just can’t. And I have no idea why.

    One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, I suppose.


Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube