Artists: The Beach Boys
Album: The Beach Boys Today!
Genre: Orchestrated Rock
“When I grow up to be a man
Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?
Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn’t done what I did?
Will I joke around and still dig those sounds
When I grow up to be a man?”
I’m back! After a good ten or eleven days down in Orlando, Florida, skipping and dancing in Disney World, I have returned to my little home in Montreal. Left the heat and back to the cold. Was a well-needed vacation that was long overdue. I feel relaxed and decompressed and ready to take my first steps into the scary unknown of what life has ready for me… to a certain extent.
For the most part the trip itself was great. Disney was a blast as usual and Universal Studios was way better than I remembered it (plus it was the first time I got to experience the Harry Potter world, which has a big fan, was one hell of an experience). There were downsides to the trip. I got sick and had indigestion and acid reflux for most of the week, which just made me feel uncomfortable. Thankfully I had half the days where I felt fine, but the other half of the time I was bloated or puking, which wasn’t fun. But a mix of the intense heat, huge crowds and fatty-fried foods definitely didn’t help at all. Seriously, what’s up with the Americans and having everything fried… anything I ate I felt like I gained ten pounds, plus don’t get me started on their huge portions. Usually I can eat a meal to myself, but these portions were so big my dad and I had to share almsot every supper.
This was roughly the fifth time I went to Disney in my life and I learned quite a few things from this trip:
1. I can drive for six hours straight without stopping (We drove from Montreal to Orlando, which for those wondering was a 25 hour drive. My dad and I took shifts and drove straight through).
2. Kids don’t experience the magic as they used to. Every line I was in, most of the kids were glued to Ipads, playing games, instead of taking in the wonder of Disney and all the attention to detail in the decors. Was really sad.
3. The Fast Pass system sucks major dick. It’s the worst. Every line-up was about three hours long because there were so many people using fast-passes. It made no sense. The system is fucking flawed and they need to fix it. Universal was just as crowded and the longest we waited for a ride was 60 minutes. The way it worked was, they’d let almost the entire fast-pass line in and then about 10 people in the regular line… no wonder the regular line was three hours long. Fast Pass should be a privilege not the norm and it really ruined the whole experience. Fuck the Fast pass.
4. Some people really suck. From cutting in line to meet their family members at the front, to not having any control or discipline on their children who either are a) not paying attention to what’s around them (one kid sneezed all over my arm and as completely oblivious to it and didn’t apologize or anything and another kept climbing on top of the railings despite the workers constantly repeating not to climb on top of them. You think the parents care? of course not). Some just have no decency or respect. We did a ride that was incredibly intense. They warn you about fifty times before entering that you should keep your focus ahead of you otherwise you will get disoriented and the intense g-force can make you sick. DO people listen? Of course not. One person riding with us broke all the rules and got super sick on the ride. That’s fine, people get sick. What does he do? When the ride is done he just plants himself right in the exit, puking into a little bag. I understand your sick but you could have easily moved tot he side instead of blocking the exit, inconveniencing everyone with your sickness. It’s not like there wasn’t any room to move out of the way. There was all the room in the world.
5. My dad and I love the Dinosaur ride a little too much. We did it about five times, three of those were straight in a row. We loved it so much we got really into it and over played our reactions, which made for one of my favourite ride photos I’ve ever done:
Take a wild guess which ones we are.
I know it sounds like I have a lot of negative things to say about this trip, but believe me it was way more relaxing and fun than I’m making it seem. It’s just easier to talk about the bad.
I could go on about this trip for a long time, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about music and albums. Something I missed during my trip. Last time I wrote I mentioned the decision I was going to make concerning my blog during the trip. I decided not to work on it and just focus on my vacation. As we drove back down, I was looking forward to getting back to listening to the 1001 album list, especially since The Beach Boys was next on the list.
I love The Beach Boys. I really enjoy their music. I Get Around is my jam, to the point that I actually green screened myself into their music video. Don’t believe me, check it out for yourself:
I couldn’t wait.
Would you believe my disappointment when I heard this album, though? Yeah, I was disappointed. This wasn’t The Beach Boys I loved or enjoyed. Of all the Beach Boy albums to choose… this is the one that shows up on the list? They had such huge hits when they were a surf rock band, any of those albums would have been great. Actually, I find there’s a huge lack of Surf Rock on this list in general. What gives? Why no love for Surf Rock?
So yeah, I didn’t like this album. I found it relatively boring as far as The Beach Boys go and I could easily skip it for the most part. Side A was rather enjoyable and I found had the strongest material off the album, but side B… I just found myself tuning out. It didn’t help that the music itself started to blend together and I sometimes thought I was listening to the same song again.
But before I get sent to the guillotine for not liking this album I will talk about what is good about it. For this I’ll need to conduct a little history lesson. So, pull up your chairs kiddos, it’s time for Beach Boys Music History!!
This album marked a stylistic shift for The Beach Boys. They decided it was time to move on from their Beach Party Music and start maturing as artists both musically and lyrically. They went away from their usual songs about cars, girls and surfing and went into deeper topics of heart-break, relationships, adult-life and growing up. No longer were they the teenagers of the waves, now they were young adults and growing up fast. A lot of this was supported by Brian Wilson’s decision to retire from touring and focus purely on song writing and producing.
Brian Wilson was famously known for his breakdowns and his mental instability. This was probably the first instance of one of his famous nervous breakdowns. Having lost his mind from travelling way too much and being over stressed with touring, he had a massive panic attack and decided it would be best to focus purely on the music. It shows here because he definitely got more complex with his arrangements, incorporating way more instruments and using The Wall Of Sound technique that inspired him so much (remember when I talked about this in my post on Phil Spector’s Christmas album? No? Well, check it out for yourself: https://boscosmodernlife.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/1001-albums-a-christmas-gift-for-you/).
This also marks a more mature Beach Boys, who come across as much older than their previous albums talking about various topics like protecting their younger sisters (Don’t Hurt My Little Sister), contemplating their own ageing (When I Grow Up To Be A Man) and dealing with heart-break and relationships (Please Let Me Wonder, Kiss Me Baby, She Knows Me Too Well). They still manage to keep a flavour of their old style with song like Do You Wanna Dance and Dance, Dance, Dance but for the most part what really separates this album for their previous efforts is that this one comes across as more honest and sincere. Brian Wilson took most of the writing efforts and he really lets himself go, opening up his mind and spilling out what’s going on in his head, leaving himself in a slightly vulnerable state to the listener. It was a side of The Beach Boys nobody had seen before and people enjoyed being able to see this side of them. It really adds a layer to the songs that they didn’t quite have in their previous efforts and allows for a more engaging and meaningful experience as you listen and relate to The Beach Boys rather than bop to their music.
The album also ends in a rather peculiar way, not with a song but with a candid, informal interview. You get to hear them talk about the food they just ordered and laugh and chat about a show they just played. I was so confused I had to double check to make sure this was actually part of the album and not just some bonus track in a deluxe edition. To my surprise this interview is actually part of the album, which is rather odd as it really takes you out of it, not sounding or feeling like the rest of the album in any way… yet I somehow found it ended the album rather nicely, which just adds to it’s peculiarity.
That being said, I still didn’t enjoy it, but at least I can recognize the albums strengths. This was a mark in Beach Boys history and is a good look to what’s to come (Do I hear the sound of pets?).
Also, to answer your question… yes, I do want to dance. Thank you.
Song of Choice: When I Grow Up (To be a Man)