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  1. #1
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Brian Wilson - Smile (all the way to the bank)

    I've been through my fourth listen of Smile in about the same number of days. Good for Brian Wilson for finally finishing his 30 year-old obsession with creating the great american album.

    Here's what it's supposed to be, from the liner notes:

    "The Smile dream Brian was referring to was born in the summer of 1966, when Brian and his visionary partner, Smile lyricist Van Dyke Parks, first began working together. In response to the musical British Invasion, their desire was to bring forth something very American and, in its humor and wide ranging subject matter, to create something radically different from the music being made by their contemporaries. In addition to presenting a new way popular music might be written and recorded, they wanted to prove that rock music could be art."

    With that as the standard, I can only say that they failed miserably.

    First, there is no standard by which any of this can be classified as rock music. I'm not sure that it would have been that even in 1966. As for something radically different, it fails there too. It sounds like the Beach Boys meets Broadway circa 1920. Yes, that may be different, but it's not radically different as much as it is reactionarily derivative!

    As for the album in general, it is perhaps the most annoying thing I've ever played, unless you like to hear the penny flute about every four minutes on average. Perhaps you have to be an ardent Beach Boys fan to like this, but it is a never-ending pulsating melange of piano, vocal harmonies and weepy strings that is high on four-part harmony and low on melody, and that is so derivative by today's standards that it is a weak characature of what it would likely have been back when it was a burning vision in Brian Wilson's head. It isn't until Good Vibrations hits your ears after about 40 minutes that there is any reprieve from the noise and an excuse to tap your foot and whistle along.

    Stay clear of this unless you are interested for purely historical reasons or want to torture your older bothers.
    "A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission" - Rush

  2. #2
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    Hey, Barry, it's too bad you didn't like the rec, but that's life. Not sure where you get the idea of Broadway circa 1920...what productions were you referring to exactly? And if this isn't 'rock,' is 'Pet Sounds?' Good Vibrations, by the way, wasn't written for this album, it was an R&B song, which I don't think was intended to be a BBs song, that took a very long time to become what it was eventually released as.

    >is so derivative by today's standards that it is a weak characature of what it would likely have been back when it was a burning vision in Brian Wilson's head.

    Anyone who's heard the boots can tell you how close it actually is. It's not identical, but it's a lot closer than I think anyone ever expected. The idea that it's a caricature tells me you haven't heard them.

    This stuff isn't going to be liked by everyone. But this is probably the most negative review I've seen from someone who is a fan of & listens to a lot of prog-rock. The compositional structure predates concept albums, suites, multitheme passages, and abstract lyricism by anywhere from a few months to a few years. I will ask that you provide an example to yr claim that this is reactionarily derivative. I mean, it's not a big deal if you don't like the rec, of course. But there's a reason why an awful lot of people consider this to be one of the most important projects ever conceived in the realm of rock & pop music. Outside of Ken Nordine I don't know of anyone who was making music using lyrics anywhere near what Van Dyke Parks came up with here, and as for the musical side, well, Jimi Hendrix sure agreed with you on this. He dismissed the 'Heroes And Villains' single as 'psychedelic barbershop.' Well...very good, because that's pretty much what it is. Who was doing anything like this prior that you'd consider it derivative?

    I don't like others.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Today it is still 2004

    I was expecting something great, and I found it extremely annoying.

    This may have been musically important in 1966, but it's almost 40 years later, and today the only thing significant about it is that it took 40 years to complete.

    So perhaps it is significant in terms of the history of modern pop music, but it isn't an enjoyable listening experience.

    Hey, I've got tons of music I listen to which everyone else hates. But sometimes you can appreciate the music sucks but want to hear it anyway for other reasons, such as understanding the influence of the band. I was just listening to a band called Catapilla which AMG raves on about. The music sucks. AMG places them with King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator. Yeah, I can see that, and I can appreciate what they were trying to achieve and place them in a musical context of time and space that I'm interested in.

    If you're into the Beach Boys and understand the Beach Boy/Beatles/America/British contest of the mid 60's, which I don't, then Smile may be of historical interest. But on its own terms, in 2004, without knowing the 40 year story and the biography of Brian Wilson and his ability/inability to cope with life, it doesn't mean much.

    As for the broadway reference, I could see this being performed as a vaudville skit with bad scenery circa 1920 and people dancing about the stage. But hey, maybe that's what he had in mind when he was thinking Americana.

    I remember when I was a teenager and discovered Joni Mitchell, every time I would put on one of her albums, my mother asked me to put on something else. There was just something about her voice that she couldn't tolerate. To this day I can't listen to Earth Wind & Fire. The songs are great, but there's something about the vocals that irritate me to no end. Maybe I have the same problem with Smile.

    I do think Pet Sounds is outstanding, though, if that's any consolation.
    "A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission" - Rush

  4. #4
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Lmao!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by BarryL
    Stay clear of this unless you are interested for purely historical reasons or want to torture your older bothers.
    Two things...

    First...If I had written this, I would call it a Freudian slip. I assume that you meant "older brothers ". Although "older bothers" certainly fits the bill.

    Two...thanks for the torture tip!

    Brian Wilson is playing Massey Hall tonight. I guess you won't be hitting the scalpers for tickets.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Be Nice

    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Two things...

    First...If I had written this, I would call it a Freudian slip. I assume that you meant "older brothers ". Although "older bothers" certainly fits the bill.

    Two...thanks for the torture tip!

    Brian Wilson is playing Massey Hall tonight. I guess you won't be hitting the scalpers for tickets.
    I'll lend you my copy and you can make your own judgment. It's not like it's a piece of crap or anything, I just find it annoying to listen to and I don't think it's the cultural event of the 21st Century, as the PR hype machine is trying to make it out to be. I hope it works for Wilson and his fans, and he can pack away a few million from it. I love the free market. I'm just sending an early warning signal that others may want to assume a posture of caution.

    And now it turns out that the one toe-tapping tune on the album wasn't even part of the original sessions, or something like that. The whole thing is even less redeeming now than it was yesterday.

    I think that there ought to be a vote in the U.N. security council on the merits of this CD, at this time, in the 21st Century. I'm sure the French would veto it.
    "A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission" - Rush

  6. #6
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Stupid question

    Quote Originally Posted by BarryL
    It's not like it's a piece of crap or anything, I just find it annoying to listen to...
    What's the difference?
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  7. #7
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    What's the difference?
    Why do I not think it's a piece of crap? Because it's clear that considerable creative effort was expended to create the music and lyrics, and to record it. I don't think that everything I don't like is crap. Somethings I can still appreciate, even if I don't personally like it.


    Other things are crap, with nothing about them at all that has any appeal for human beings, with the emphasis here on human. I can appreciate things if I can identify a volitional effort to create something of meaning or appeal to man. Randomness, or lack of purpose, or an underlying anti-life ethic or philosophy that demeans the spirit of man I have no time for. I also have no time for "art" where the effort put into the theory or rationalization far exceeds the effort put into the creation of the work itself. See Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word for an expose on the fraud that is modern art. So, if intellectual dishonesty is part of the equation, I classify it as crap.

    I don't like opera, but I can appreciate the quality of some opera. Other stuff that is random, like Waiting for Godot or Phillip Glass's Einstein on the Beach are Crap. Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music is crap. Most rap is crap - that's how it got its name. Michael Moore is crap. So are both Bush and Kerry and almost every politician. Modern Art is crap. Much of today's popular music is crap.

    To quote a man who is an outstanding artist with a mind that is going to crap as he attempts to abandon reality and attempt to integrate mysticism as the essence of his very being - I'm referring to musician Neal Morse, who's willing leap into childhood fantasy is sickeningly on display in the documentary portion of his Testament DVD - "We made a land where crap is king, and the good don't last too long."

    Within the context of my comments, I don't think something has to be high art for it to be excluded from the category of crap. So, Smile isn't crap, but the hyperbole surrounding it and the pretentions that the completion of this piece of work after 40 years is some kind of monumental achievement is crap of the highest order.

    Now stop **** disturbing and encouraging me to write this crap!
    "A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission" - Rush

  8. #8
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    This "absolute" scale on which you rate crap is crap.

    Now wait a minute. All music that was created was heard -- by a human, no less -- at least once. So by your own definition -- neither Einstein on the Beach nor Metal Machine Music are crap. The former is enjoyed repeatedly by yours truly, and the latter by none other than Lou Reed himself (he debunked the popular myth that no-one has been able to listen to it in its entirety in a recent interview, saying something to the effect that he's very proud of that work, and listens to it all the time).

    So, to synopsize: you're full of crap. There is no "absolute scale" by which we can measure music, it's all subjective. So for you to state that something is crap is stating that that is your opinion, and that it is annoying to listen to for you.

    MHO.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  9. #9
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    Dusty's correct here...I didn't have a chance to reply earlier, and I didn't want to be confrontational. My initial objections in this thread had to do with terms like 'reactionarily derivative' and 'melody,' which you described this rec as being short on. Are you sure you weren't listening to 'Smiley Smile?' The melody lines in the more 'song-like' songs on SMiLE are either quite original (Wonderful, Surf's Up), or certainly in a league with something like Good Vibrations (Wind Chimes, Heroes And Villains). At least, that's what I say; obviously you disagree, which is fine (though I challenge the 'derivative' claim--if SMiLE is short on melody, what of Wondeful, after all? Find me a melody written earlier that justifies the 'derivative' tag on that tune; find me a song with a more fully developed melody line). If someone doesn't like a rec I like, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. You say a rec like SMiLE is derivative, I scratch my head. Derivative of 1920s Broadway? What you're saying is that it reminds you of something...that never actually existed. Now...I have no interest in trying to demean yr opinion, or anything, and that's a descriptive way of putting it. The only problem is, it's based on...nothing that ever existed until you were looking for a descriptive way of putting it, which turned out to be at odds with the implication that it did exist.

    As for the 'crap' thing here--I will guarantee you that any record in yr collection, as with any record in mine, there will ALWAYS be someone who, no matter how worthy you or I think a piece of work it is, there will always be someone who knows more about music than both of us put together who will dismiss any record we like as...crap. Not to mention those who don't know as much as they think they know.

    You didn't miss the posts by Skeptic on this board, did you? Remember what he had to say about jazz? (In case you missed it, he said 'it's just a historical fact that the best musical minds never wasted their thoughts on jazz.') Now, I won't presume to speak for him, but I would presume that a guy like that--who had equally uncomplimentary things to say about pop music on the rare occasions I saw him even mention it (he was a classical-phobe who even went on about the superiority of the violin as compared to pedestrian instruments like flutes, trumpets & saxophones)--would savage both my musical choices as well as yrs. As, presumably, would another pop-hater, who dismissed the work of every pop and rock performer ever who had the audacity to perform their own work, which of course rendered them useless to him--after all, Cole Porter & Rodgers & Hart did not do this. Umm, that's great, but try extolling their virtues to guys who believe that every single form of music outside of classical music is tangibly inferior on every level. What do you suppose they'd have to say about Yes & Genesis, or any of yr other sacred cows? I have a pretty good idea, as I've heard several different variations--and I accept what they'd have to say about mine, because their minds are made up that they know what constitutes 'crap.' Mitch Miller, Frank Sinatra, Steve Allen. The 'standards' snob mocking Bob Dylan, the jazz snob mocking Elvis, the classical snob mocking prog- and symphonic rock, the rock snob mocking disco and, later, rap. It's all the same. As it is when done in reverse. Skeptic's line dismissing jazz in its entirety was, I must admit, among the more extreme statements I've ever seen in this realm of dismissal of forms the subjective listener simply does not like...

    Do I care what he thinks? No, not really. But I find his attitude instructive when it comes to a discussion where someone says the things you've said in this thread. Good Vibrations may well be the only toe-tapper on the rec for some people, but you know what? Back in the day when record labels are generally considered to have known something about music as well as business, as opposed to today when, it is said, business is all they know, not one but two labels signed the Beach Boys. Who were, arguably, musically dried up, especially with BW crawling around a playpen & drooling on himself (an exaggeration, but only a mild one). And why? That's how badly they wanted SMiLE, it is said, that's how highly it was thought of--that's beyond dispute--that multi-album deals were given to a bunch of has-beens nobody wanted to deal with (not even their resident genius-turned-mental-patient/drug abuser) who returned the favor by refusing to finish or issue SMiLE & gave the labels such gems as Holland and Light Album to peddle. As the head of CBS said eventually in a meeting he called the band into, 'Gentlemen, I think I've been f*cked!'

    Getting back to the musical snobbery that comes out when you start talking about 'crap'...what you've done here, and what I'd like to think a music fan should not do, is to place yrself on the side of the fence that people who make this mistake inhabit by imposing yr standards on others. We all have our opinions, but when you start tossing around terms like 'derivative' and 'melody' when neither bolsters yr argument (that you didn't like the rec & found it annoying)...that's one thing. When you start to get into 'crap'--it's never going to be long before you're placing that label on a form that someone else is going to like, perhaps someone else who just might know just a bit more about music than you do. So think about someone looking at yr collection & imposing the same attitude on it as you're imposing on rap & Metal Machine Music before you do so. Just a friendly suggestion.
    Last edited by MindGoneHaywire; 10-07-2004 at 07:08 PM.

    I don't like others.

  10. #10
    Global Village Idiot mad rhetorik's Avatar
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    Umm...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    So by your own definition -- neither Einstein on the Beach nor Metal Machine Music are crap. The former is enjoyed repeatedly by yours truly, and the latter by none other than Lou Reed himself (he debunked the popular myth that no-one has been able to listen to it in its entirety in a recent interview, saying something to the effect that he's very proud of that work, and listens to it all the time).
    I'd take Lou with a grain of salt. Jerking around with critics and fans is a Lou trademark.

    Agree with everything else you've said. I haven't heard the "new" SMILE, but the fractured yet intriguing tracks from the SMILE sessions (that Jay sent me) show great promise. Definitely different from anything else the Beach Boys (or any other band of the day) have ever released. I think that's mostly due to the fact/rumour/speculation that SMILE was mostly Brian Wilson's baby and not a full band effort, though I'm hardly an authority on these things.
    "...and then at the end of the letter I like to write <i>'P.S. - this is what part of the alphabet would look like if Q and R were eliminated.'</i> "


    <b>_R.I.P. Mitch Hedburg 1968-2005_</b>

  11. #11
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    So what your saying is...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    So, to synopsize: you're full of crap. There is no "absolute scale" by which we can measure music, it's all subjective. So for you to state that something is crap is stating that that is your opinion, and that it is annoying to listen to for you.

    MHO.
    1. That you're argument is self-refuting because you say that it's all subjective then accuse me of being full of crap; and

    2. That nothing can be crap (except what I'm full of).

    In my objective opinion: Wrong.
    "A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission" - Rush

  12. #12
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Okay, maybe I was being a tad harsh

    Getting back to the musical snobbery that comes out when you start talking about 'crap'...what you've done here, and what I'd like to think a music fan should not do, is to place yrself on the side of the fence that people who make this mistake inhabit by imposing yr standards on others. We all have our opinions, but when you start tossing around terms like 'derivative' and 'melody' when neither bolsters yr argument (that you didn't like the rec & found it annoying)...that's one thing. When you start to get into 'crap'--it's never going to be long before you're placing that label on a form that someone else is going to like, perhaps someone else who just might know just a bit more about music than you do. So think about someone looking at yr collection & imposing the same attitude on it as you're imposing on rap & Metal Machine Music before you do so. Just a friendly suggestion.[/QUOTE]

    But do feel free to criticize me. It's no fun if we all agree. But come on, do you think I'm imposing my standards on others by expressing my opinion? Aren't you and others doing the same when you endorse an album? Do you mean I should only say whether I like soemthing or not in the politest terms? Because someone may be offended or something? Are you defending Metal Machine Music as music just because it was recorded on vinyl? Would you dare to put it on a scale and rank it against Smile, or Abbey Road, or Mozart's 41st Symphony? Are they all equal, objectively? Is it all just subjective?

    I don't expect an answer here, but I'm struggling with the notion that you and Dusty seem to be offended by my opinion about either Smile or rap music.

    Or is this about saying that something is crap instead of saying that in my opinion something is crap. Surely to express my opinion that something is crap is an expression of my opinion, based on my standards. I don't think that you could honestly be confused here.

    By the way, you also don't have an obligation to reply, and I won't take a non-reply as your agreement with anything I've written. This has gotten too goofy already.
    "A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission" - Rush

  13. #13
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Me might admire Metal Machine Music more most Mozart

    Quote Originally Posted by BarryL
    I don't expect an answer here, but I'm struggling with the notion that you and Dusty seem to be offended by my opinion about either Smile or rap music.
    No, that's it exactly! It's your opinion. The part that...not offended, just correcting you...is not your opinion of Smile -- you're more than welcome to it. We all have our opinions. The part that I'm having trouble with is your differentiation between Smile and other things (rap, Einstein on the Beach, Metal Machine Music, etc.) that are crap on some sort of absolute scale.

    There is no absolute scale.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  14. #14
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    Isn't Brian Wilson dead? I thought he died a year or 2 ago.

  15. #15
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    There is a site where you can register for free and hear the Smile album. There's a bit more to it than that, but the registration is simple and free. You can just go to www.smiletheablum.com and check it out if you want. I'm glad I've had the chance to listen to some of it as my opinion has changed a bit. Right now I'm listening to Cabin Essence and it's not that bad. Most of the rest I've heard hasn't appealed to me so I doubt I'll buy it though.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  16. #16
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Isn't Brian Wilson dead? I thought he died a year or 2 ago.
    Yes, he's been dead for quite a while now. He's still on tour though.

    See him in concert and you'll see what I mean. Usually he's performing a different song from the rest of the band.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    Barry, you probably well know that people tossing off their opinions as though they're absolute rules that everyone should follow is a pet peeve of mine. I see it done far too often. At this point I would hope you would understand that I do recognize that sometimes people do it simply as a matter of hyperbole, and while the line may be blurred at times, I'm not going to take a regular to task for something like this at this point, as this has all been argued many times before. Couple of things--on MMM, I would defend it as music if it can be charted, period. If it can be charted, it is music. End of story. As for the idea of not being petty about you branding something as crap without qualifying it as opinion--take a look at what you wrote here:

    >Other things are crap, with nothing about them at all that has any appeal for human beings, with the emphasis here on human. I can appreciate things if I can identify a volitional effort to create something of meaning or appeal to man. Randomness, or lack of purpose, or an underlying anti-life ethic or philosophy that demeans the spirit of man I have no time for. I also have no time for "art" where the effort put into the theory or rationalization far exceeds the effort put into the creation of the work itself. See Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word for an expose on the fraud that is modern art. So, if intellectual dishonesty is part of the equation, I classify it as crap.

    If I were trying to be petty, I'd say that goes a bit beyond the notion that we're just supposed to take this as yr opinion, since it reads an awful lot more like a lecture, but never mind that. Uh...a few years ago someone sent me an email with an mpeg attachment. It was a short film clip of something I'd heard of but never seen: someone defecating into someone else's mouth. And the two of them playing with & eating their own sh*t. Now, I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that something like this holds no appeal for human beings, with the emphasis on human. Yet something tells me that there are people with fetishes that I would regard as sick, who do actually find something about this appealing. So again I come back to, whose standards are we judging this with? More broadly, if I had to look at everything that is, allegedly, intellectually dishonest, and think this is whatever based on a criteria like that...well, you know what? I can't think of a better example than Jackson Pollock, and I actually like his drip paintings. I don't think they're crap at all. Apparently you do. Therefore we have my willingness to challenge you on this & other parts of yr above post.

    Lastly, here is a very current example of what I was talking about. It's from the Audio Asylum "Music" board (as opposed to the "Rock" board). Someone put up a link to some radio station's attempt to list the "885 Greatest Songs" as chosen by, I suppose, their listeners. The list is extremely top-heavy on what I would consider to be a "Rolling Stone" classic rock mentality. You can see it here:

    http://www.xpn.org/885_GSAT.php

    Here is a reaction to this list:

    "This list comes from people who know nothing about music. Of course many people would say that it's all a matter of opinion and that one person's opinion is as valid or invalid as another's. These uninformed selections are the choices of adolescent minds, adolsecent minds which never grew up, and people who just don't know music. That's my opinion FWIW. I didn't scan all 885 of them but of the top 137, as far as I could tell, there wansn't a single song written by any of America's greatest song writers such as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, or Cole Porter. No Sigmund Romberg, no Victor Herbert. Not one by Rogers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Lowe. Not one melody liftd from a great aria in a great opera. Not one song from a foreign country. Not one song that has withstood the test of time of centuries such as Greensleeves. And of course, not a single song from the greatest songwriter who ever lived, Franz Schubert. Puerile trash all of it."

    I just emerged from an argument with this poster & am not particularly interested in engaging in another one, especially something as silly as this. But here's a guy who, I would presume, cast a very similar 'crap' argument as you have presented here towards quite a bit of music that you happen to enjoy. Actually, based on my argument with him, I'm quite surprised he even offered that it was only his 'opinion,' but regardless, here's a guy who says that all of this music is 'puerile trash.' Food for thought, huh? The thread is here, if you'd like to take a look at it:

    http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/mus...es/115036.html

    I don't like others.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    My Last Word on This

    Quote Originally Posted by MindGoneHaywire
    If I were trying to be petty, I'd say that goes a bit beyond the notion that we're just supposed to take this as yr opinion, since it reads an awful lot more like a lecture, but never mind that. Uh...a few years ago someone sent me an email with an mpeg attachment. It was a short film clip of something I'd heard of but never seen: someone defecating into someone else's mouth. And the two of them playing with & eating their own sh*t. Now, I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that something like this holds no appeal for human beings, with the emphasis on human. Yet something tells me that there are people with fetishes that I would regard as sick, who do actually find something about this appealing. So again I come back to, whose standards are we judging this with? More broadly, if I had to look at everything that is, allegedly, intellectually dishonest, and think this is whatever based on a criteria like that...well, you know what? I can't think of a better example than Jackson Pollock, and I actually like his drip paintings. I don't think they're crap at all. Apparently you do. Therefore we have my willingness to challenge you on this & other parts of yr above post.
    Our fundamental difference is exposed in this paragraph. I don't believe that everything is equal and of equal value. People can and do have differences about value. Some are important and matter and others aren't and don't. Some like chocolate, I like vanilla. Not so much to get excited about. Some like executing people because they listen to music (Calvin in the 16th Century or modern day Taliban), I like listening to music. Now there's something to get excited about. But you might say, "whose standards are we juding this with?" I believe that you can establish objective truths, in science and in ethics, and that it doesn't just come down to everybody's emotional whims. I believe that from a humanistic perspective, some value a pro-life and pro-man, and others are anti-life and anti-man. I don't think that anything goes, that there are no standards in making choices, that everything is equal in all realms, including aesthetics. We may disagree on any topic, and that's fine, but I believe their can be grounds to discuss disagreements, even in the realm of art. By even having a conceptual category such as art, you imply that there are some standards that create that differentiation. I reject this radical relativism you seem to embrace. You may be espousing it as it pertains to music, but it appears to be endemic in your worldview.

    Look what you write:

    "Now, I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that something like this holds no appeal for human beings, with the emphasis on human. Yet something tells me that there are people with fetishes that I would regard as sick, who do actually find something about this appealing. So again I come back to, whose standards are we judging this with?"

    Have some standards, man! Don't give them up or feel guilty because you think this behaviour is sick. It sounds like you feel bad that you even have a negative emotional reaction to finding this behaviour disgusting. Standards are found in reality. Life isn't just one big clash of opinions. Imagine if we tried to advance science and technology with this philosophy? We'd be back in the dark ages in the blink of an eye. Reality sets the standards. And in the human sciences, the needs and nature of Man sets the standards.

    On another topic, that anything you can score is music is a technical definition. I guess there is no aesthetic when it comes to music then. That's like saying that anything that involves paint is art. Or any words written on paper is literature. I'm not buying that. And I don't think you believe that either.

    Enough of this for me. Let's get on with the positive of sharing our opinions about music, and let's agree and disagree as we see fit.
    "A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission" - Rush

  19. #19
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Too bad I missed out on this. I have to agree whole heartedly with you on this BarryL. I am not impressed with this album or Pet Sounds. It is derrivative of the music of its day; music like the schlock that Nelson Riddle put out, not to mention the seriously bad stuff you'd hear on the Your Hit Parade TV show. I'm not calling Wilson a hack, but I don't really buy the tortured genius tag, no matter how much of a consensus it is. He made some fine, memorable music, period. He's no more genius than Neil Diamond or John Denver or anyone else of that particular genre.

    Imagine someone suggesting that opinions on music need to be objective....hhhmmm....

  20. #20
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    no accounting for taste

    Still looking for couple tracks from the Warner Bros Loss Leaders comp albums back in the day- the Datsun commercial from Van Dyke Parks and Feel Flow by Beach Boys.

    Haven't heard this new album but I recall having bought and got rid of Pet Sounds twice. So far as I can figure it's some bittersweet tribute to his wife as well as the proto New Age "mood music" album. Maybe I should check it out again. It's like they say there's no accounting for taste.

  21. #21
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    this is so cute!

    such passion on whether y'all think smile is crap or not. listen, it doesn't much matter. unless the thought of J is rockin' out to blue hawaii really bothers you. in which case you have serious control issues.

    to each their own. J was kind enough to give me a copy of the smile bootleg a few years ago. i am forever grateful to him. i didn't know much about the beach boys beforehand, other than the barabara ann sort of thing. i am trully a BB and BW nut now. heck, we even danced to Forever as our first dance during our wedding.

    i agree with J. you can not like smile. you can even think it's crap. for that matter, you can hate the beach boys. that's the beauty of music. there's enough of it out there to please every taste. my main contention is the whole "derivative" moniker. derivative of what? brian wilson's "sound" was always pretty original to me. unless yo think pet sounds sounds like a bunch of other stuff. which it does not. it would be pretty hard for the BB to sound like another rock band. who harmonizes like that?

    with that said, stop judging music, just enjoy it. i run the gamut from the BB to spacemen 3 to grant green to john patton to dead can dance to fricken RUN DMC. and everywhere in between. i listen to music that pleases me, not whether it's "high fidelity" enough.

    listen to what you like, or else what are you listening for? man, i get so much crap for my audio system. mainly the bozak speakers. i can't tell you how many people rip on bozaks, just because it's fahionable in vintage audio to do so. most have never seen, let alone listened to a pair. most are flabbergasted when i plop them down on the couch and throw on some music. bozaks have this amazing capability of making jazz sound like you are in a smokey supper club that i can not reproduce with any other speakers i have owned. from jbl horns to apogee ribbons.

    and with that said, there have been a rare few than can't stand the lack of dog hearing definition and the bloomy mids. so be it, they don't have to like it. i do.

    see ya,
    Robby

  22. #22
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Whew....

    I watched a documentary on this thing that aired on Showtime a little while ago and all I can say is......

    Thank God I'm not playing bass for Brian Wilson. While I found the music "interesting" even challenging from vocal standpoint (when people ask me to descibe how vocal harmonies should be constructed I say Listen to the Beach Boys, The Temps and LaBelle) I felt the whole episode ranked just this side of torture from a musician's standpoint. I won't debate the musical significance of the album I'm just speaking as a person who plays music for money when I say I couldn't do that gig. If an album takes 40 years to finish perhaps there's a reason for it and mayhaps it wasn't MEANT to be completed. When music flows from the mind, guitar and pen of the creator it flows... this did NOT flow by any stretch of the word.

    Pulling the last dribs and drabs of this album out of Brian Wilson looked more my an exercise in Gestapo interrogation than musical collaboration. I was just plain f**king painful to watch and that's my point. Was it worth it to torture this man and his band to produce this album?

    Da Worfster

  23. #23
    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    Not to resurrect anything between upstanding posters here, but I remember this thread from months back and only NOW got the album.

    I also had the rough J (or was it Brad H?) mix sent to me years ago and it DID sound disjointed and weak, but it was interesting enough to make me explore "Pet Sounds" which I have grown to love.

    So I was also surprised by Barry's strong negative reaction to this album. Barry, I completely get the 20s Broadway reference. "Vaudvillian" comes to mind. It's kinda . . . . dorky?

    Jay, it's not a precursor to prog/art-rock, it's showtunes. "On a Holiday?" I thought I was hearing a lost song from Pirates of Penzance ore something.

    And it's STILL disjointed and clunky. I think the a-melidocism that Barry gets comes from the brevity of the songs and stylistic hopping around. It's Sooooo sloooow moving too. It never rocks and jumps to a capella a lot instead. A little of that goes a long way for me.

    Now, had this come out in 1966 when it was written and the soundcape was conceived it would have changed the course of music . . . slightly. But it would have. Pop music may hve become just a little trippier and pastoral/goofy that it already was in the late 60s.

    Here's the deal for me. The genius lies in that soundcape. I used to think that Pet Sounds was one of the all time studio-masterpiece albums. Smile goes WAY beyond it. Partly because of the modern tech, but there is just so much more here, maybe BECAUSE it doesn't rock. There's a lot of room to fill with other sounds. Who uses a bass harmonica in recording then OR now? The recording is absolutely spectacular, the arrangements are complex, yet open at the same time. It's worth owning and listening to for the production values alone.

    Yeah, in some aspects it was already dated in 1966. The patented "Beach Boys Harmonies", branded as well as Kleenex and Bandaids were a cliche by this point. As was the Phil Spectorized tambourines, sleigh bells, 120 sawing cellos, etc. But this stuff is so rare today that it's quite fresh now. I could see this being the ultimate auditioning disc.

    I just wish it had more intensity. No, I don't need Master of Puppets, but a little tougher than Pet Sounds rather than a LOT lighter would have been the right thing for me. I wish it was less rambling, more focused . . . but it IS Brian Wilson we're talking about.

    It's such a rich listening experience, I could see this being a grower with me. Sunday AM music.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Yeah...

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy

    So I was also surprised by Barry's strong negative reaction to this album. Barry, I completely get the 20s Broadway reference. "Vaudvillian" comes to mind. It's kinda . . . . dorky?

    But you know I'm right.

    Couldn't start a new thread? I had to put on my scuba gear just to find where you posted!

    Give it a few more spins. You'll come to dislike it as well. It has no more lasting value other than a circus curiosity.

  25. #25
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    I heard smile. I did'nt. Bad,bad,bad.
    Look & Listen

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